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| CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 19
Meeting Date: September 24, 2002
Subject/Title: Public Hearing for Amendment of Zoning Ordinance Limit on Funding of Agricultural Preservation Program Administration
Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, AICP, Community Development Director
Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager
The Planning Commission and staff recommend that the City Council introduce and waive first reading of an Ordinance to approve an amendment of the Zoning Ordinance Limit on Funding of Agricultural Preservation Program Administration.
The City Council adopted the Agricultural Enterprise Preservation Program in September 2001. The Program has received praise from the Mayors Conference, other cities and County Supervisors. On August 13, 2002, Council directed staff to amend the Zoning Ordinance funding limit for administration of the Trust. On September 3, 2002, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council amend the funding limit.
The City Zoning Ordinance which establishes the Agricultural Enterprise Program, requires that the loss of prime farmland to urban development be mitigated (as is required by CEQA), by several methods, including payment of an in lieu fee. The in lieu fees paid to the City shall be placed in a trust account and used solely for farmland mitigation purposes. A limited portion, not to exceed 5% of the fees collected, may be used by the City or Land Trust for administrative purposes associated with establishing, monitoring, and managing farmland conservation easements.
The Land Trust will require the services of a half time administrator to start. As the Trust works to appraise and acquire lands for conservation easements, it will also need the services of appraisers, accountants and attorneys. Eventually, a full time administrator and office assistant may be necessary. The 5% limit on the use of in lieu fees for administrative purposes, places a severe constraint on the ability of the Trust to attract qualified professionals to provide needed administrative services. The trust account currently has a balance of approximately $1.2 million, and has an ongoing funding source, as developers pay their mitigation fees. In addition, the Trust will seek to leverage their funds through the acquisition of grants from public and private sources. 5% of $1.2 million is $60,000. It is estimated that a half time staff person salary and benefits would equal or exceed $60,000. That would leave no balance for necessary attorney, appraiser and accountant services.
Other programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant Program, allow up to 20% of funds to be appropriated to administration. Rather than short change the ability of the Trust to operate successfully, or divert much needed City funds to make up any shortfall in the operation of the Trust, Council has directed that the limit be increased to 20%.
As discussed above, increasing the administrative funding limit for the Trust would have a positive impact on the City budget.
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING SECTION 17.730.030(2) (AGRICULTURAL LAND MITIGATION REQUIREMENTS) OF THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE.
The Council of the City of Brentwood does ordain as follows:
Section 1. The City Council hereby finds and determines as follows:
WHEREAS, agriculture is a historically and economically important component of the City of Brentwood; and
WHEREAS, it is the City's stated goal in the Conservation/Open Space Element of the General Plan to "preserve productive agriculture lands in Brentwood's Planning Area;" and
WHEREAS, Policy 1.14 of the Conservation/Open Space Element of the General Plan calls for the establishment of a program which secures permanent agriculture on lands designated for agriculture in the City and/or County General Plan; and
WHEREAS, Policy 1.1.5 of the Conservation/Open Space Element of the General Plan calls for the maintenance of prime agricultural lands south of the East Contra Costa Irrigation District Main Canal and east of Sellers Avenue and directing urban growth to the west and the north; and
WHEREAS, Policy 1.2.4 of the Conservation/Open Space Element of the General Plan calls for the developers inside the City to be responsible for mitigating impacts upon nearby agriculture; and
WHEREAS, Policy 1.4.1 of the Conservation/Open Space Element of the General Plan identifies the use of a density transfer program as a mechanism to investigate for agricultural preservation; and
WHEREAS, Policy 2.3.1 of the Economic Development Element of the General Plan calls for the establishment of a program to promote and maintain prime agricultural lands and locations for continued agricultural use, or agriculture supportive industries; and
WHEREAS, the City Council created an Agricultural Advisory Committee to recommend a program to protect Brentwood’s agricultural land and to enhance agriculture in the vicinity of Brentwood; and
WHEREAS, the Advisory Committee held eleven publicly noticed meetings and has recommended an Agricultural Enterprise Program that includes land conservation strategies requiring the adoption of an implementing ordinance; and
WHEREAS, on October 25, 2000, the Brentwood Neighborhood Committee reviewed the draft Agricultural Enterprise Program and voted to support the report and recommend approval to the City Council; and
WHEREAS, on October 30, 2000, the Planning Commission passed Resolution 00-77 recommending approval of the proposed Agricultural Enterprise Program to the City Council; and
WHEREAS, on August 28, 2001, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 683, approving the Brentwood Agricultural Enterprise Program by adding Chapter 17.730 to the Municipal Code; and
WHEREAS, Section 17.730.030 (2) of the Code provides that in lieu fees may be paid by developers to mitigate their environmental impacts arising from the loss of valuable farmland, and that up to five percent of such fees may be used for administrative costs associated with establishing, monitoring, and managing farmland conservation easements; and
WHEREAS, on August 13, 2002, the City Council determined that this funding limit would place a severe constraint on the ability of the Brentwood Agricultural land Trust to attract qualified professionals to provide needed administrative, legal, appraisal and accounting services, and directed staff to amend the ordinance funding limit to twenty percent; and
WHEREAS, on September 3, 2002, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and adopted Resolution No. 02-60, recommending that the City Council amend the Agricultural Land Mitigation Requirements (Section 17.730.030(2)) of the Brentwood Municipal Code; and
WHEREAS, this action has been reviewed per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Pursuant to Section 15061(a)(3) of CEQA this activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects that have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA. In addition, pursuant to Sections 15168(c) and 15162 of the CEQA Guidelines, the project is within the scope of development evaluated in the Brentwood General Plan Program EIR. No substantial changes have occurred to the circumstances under which that EIR was certified and no new information, which was not known and could not have been known at the time that the EIR was certified as complete, has become available relating to the environmental effects of this project. Therefore, the Program EIR for the General Plan is adequate for the approval relating to the project; and
WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Ledger Dispatch according to City policies and Government Code Section 65091; and
WHEREAS, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed amendment on September 24, 2002, for the purpose of reviewing the ordinance amendment and the City Council, Planning Commission and staff recommendations; and
WHEREAS, after close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by City staff, the staff report, the recommendations, and all other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the proposed ordinance amendment; and
WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood makes the following finding per the Brentwood Municipal Code associated with this amendment:
This amendment is consistent with the General Plan and other applicable City plans, and is appropriate to the public interest, in that it will help implement several General Plan Policies by supporting the preservation of productive agricultural lands and the retention of the agricultural industry in the Brentwood vicinity which produces food, jobs, and a rural character which helps distinguish Brentwood from other communities within the San Francisco Bay Area region.
Section 2. The City Council of the City of Brentwood acts as follows:
Section 17.730.030(2) of the Brentwood Municipal Code relating to Agricultural Land Conservation is hereby amended as follows (deleted wording stricken, added wording underlined:
17.730.030 Agricultural Land Mitigation Requirements
In order to mitigate and offset the loss of valuable farmland resources, the City shall require agricultural land mitigation by any applicant for a subdivision or any other discretionary land use entitlement which will permanently change agricultural land over one acre in size within the City’s jurisdiction to any nonagricultural use.
Agricultural land mitigation shall be satisfied by one of the following mechanisms:
(1) Granting a farmland conservation easement, a farmland deed restriction or other farmland conservation mechanism (including fee title purchase by the City or qualifying entity) to or for the benefit of the City and/or a qualifying entity approved by the City on lands deemed acceptable by the City. The mitigation shall be required for agricultural land that is permanently converted to an urban use, including any portion of the land used for park and recreation purposes, on a one to one land area ratio; or
(2) By payment of an in lieu fee based upon a formula for a one to one land area ratio. The fee shall be established by City Council resolution and shall be reviewed and adjusted periodically to ensure that the fee is adequate to offset the cost of purchasing farmland conservation easements on a one to one ratio. The fee shall be fixed for a 36 month period after enactment of this ordinance. Thereafter the fee may be adjusted annually but may not be increased by more than ten percent during any twelve month period. For non-residential projects, that the City Council determines are important for economic development purposes, some or all of the mitigation requirements of this chapter may be waived.
The in lieu fee, paid to the City, shall be placed in a trust account and used solely for farmland mitigation purposes. The interest from funds in this account shall also be used for farmland protection purposes. A limited portion, not to exceed 5 20 percent of the fees collected, may be used by the City or City–approved qualifying entity for administrative costs associated with establishing, monitoring, and managing farmland conservation easements.
SECTION 8. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance shall go into effect and be in full force and operation from and after thirty (30) days after its final passage and adoption.
SECTION 9. PUBLICATION. At least two (2) days prior to its final adoption, copies of this ordinance shall be posted in at least three (3) prominent and distinct locations in the City; and a notice shall be published once in Ledger Dispatch, the official newspaper of the City of Brentwood, setting forth the title of this ordinance, the date of its introduction and the places where this ordinance is posted.
PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting on the 24th day of September, 2002 by the following vote:
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