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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 24
Meeting Date: June 10, 2003
Subject/Title: Approve the City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission recommendation to deny a request for the addition of lights for after hour use of the City of Brentwood skate park
Submitted by: Craig D. Bronzan,
Director of Parks and Recreation
1) Develop a petition
Staff met again with the group on February 13, 2003 to discuss progress and found out the users had talked with 79 of the 224 houses that surround the park. Staff also discussed how to present the proposal to the Park and Recreation Commission for the February 27, 2003 meeting.
Regarding lights at the skate park, staff emphasized to the users that the facility was designed from the very beginning, with direction from the City Council Park subcommittee (predecessor to the Park and Recreation Commission) and later by City Council, to not include lights for after hour skating. The only change that occurred was during construction when City Council directed staff to install motion sensor lights for security purposes.
The Park and Recreation Commission discussed the request on February 27, 2003, with a recommendation from staff to not approve the proposal for the following reason:
• “One of the main reasons lights were not included in the design was out of respect to neighbor requests. Staff does not believe that there is sufficient neighborhood support for the request. We asked the group to go and talk with the 224 homes that surround the skate park, of which, only 79 have provided their support on the petition. It is our understanding that they did not talk to all the homes. When presented with the option of taking additional time to go back so they could talk with all the neighbors, the group said no, they wanted to move forward. Staff supports the original intent of the park, which was not to allow after hour use”.
As a result of the Commission discussion on February 27, 2003 staff was requested to do additional research on the following items and return at a later meeting:
• Review of negative
declaration of property (environmental work)
The results of this research were contained in the staff report dated May 15, 2003 for the May 22, 2003, Park and Recreation Commission meeting.
The Park and Recreation Commission reconsidered the item at the May 22, 2003 Commission meeting. Staff’s recommendation was for the Park and Recreation Commission to recommend to City Council to deny the request to add lights to the skate park for after hour use. The recommendation was made for the following reasons:
• The original design
of the skate park did not include lights out of respect to the surrounding
neighborhood. Staff has not received information that the views of the
surrounding neighbors have sufficiently changed. Staff supports the original
intent of the skate park, which was designed to be used during day light
As a part of the discussion, the Commission asked the users if they had gone back out to talk with surrounding neighbors. The users responded that they did not. The users felt that as the City had notified the neighbors of the commission meetings, they felt that as hardly anyone showed up, there must be no opposition.
One neighbor did speak against the proposal, saying the City had made a promise with the neighbors not to light the skate park and the park behind the pool, other than security lighting. They felt that it would be inappropriate for the City to change their mind now and add lights for night skating.
The Commission also expressed concerns that the users had continued to suggest that there were ways the City could raise money to pay for the lights; however, they did not come forward with specific proposals to pay for the additional costs for lighting the skate park.
The Park and Recreation Commission approved the staff recommendation to recommend to City Council that the Council deny the request to add lights at the skate park for after hour use.
As a result of this action, staff announced to all present that this recommendation would be sent to City Council for consideration on June 10, 2003.
Staff is presenting the recommendation of the Park and Recreation Commission for City Council to deny the request to add lights to the skate park for after hour use.
PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION
CALL TO ORDER:
Others present were Director Craig Bronzan, Administrative Secretary Tammy Homan, Park Planner Janet Hansen, Recreation Services Manager Poldina Scherff; Parks Services Manager Ken DeSilva and Recreation Services Coordinator Tim Taylor.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
The Pledge of Allegiance was then given by all present.
AGENDA REVIEW: No changes
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
Director Bronzan then told the citizens present that the staff that prepared the recommendation for the City Council were available for questions or comments. The staff’s recommendation to the Commission is to recommend to the City Council against adding lights to the skate park. The main reasons being the original design and the original intent which was directed from City Council, was that the skate park not have lights. This was mostly because of the elementary school and the pool going in and many residents working with the City and who did not want the area lighted at night. There was an original plan for lighted ball fields and the City did not go ahead with this plan because of resident concerns. The current plan allows for free use during the operational hours under supervision which costs a little over $50,000 on the budget of the Parks and Recreational Department. The request for lighting if approved, would add about another $7,600 to that budget on a yearly basis. In light of current budget constraints this has not been budgeted for in the current year or for additional staff. Director Bronzan added that other facilities within the City would also like to have extended use but that this is just not possible. Some that do have extended hours and lights are paying for that use, the skate park is the only free open to the public facility. He then opened the meeting to questions from the citizens.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues asked the citizens then to come forward and keep their comments to a minimum. The first citizen was Mr. Tewah Chirayunon. He wondered why those objected to the lighting did not come to the meeting to be a part of the decision process. He wondered why with over 200 letters sent out, there were so few objections. He also commented again about the closing in the winter time at 5:00 p.m. adding to the traffic at that time. He noted that the swim facility is open later and the new park adjacent to the swim park will probably have lights. He compared the amount of parks they wish to have lighted is much smaller in comparison to the other parks in the community. He wondered about raising funds for the lights through a sponsorship of corporate funds or price out the cost and request bids which might come in lower than those reported in the staff report. He discussed other points as to Police projected problems with longer hours, gang activity and other issues. He felt there was no gang activity in Brentwood and specifically not at the skate park. He felt the issue should not be money and there should be solutions and compromise for facility to be lighted in the winter months. He argued extensively for the skate park to be lighted.
At this time then Ken Enger who had registered a request to speak in support of the lighting of the skate park said that he felt that one or two hours extra in the winter would be very helpful since he does not get home from school until 3 p.m. and by the time he finishes required homework, this gives him little or no time to use the skate park. Mr. Chirayunon also confirmed this and also said that this week there were several times when the skate park did not open until 11:30 a.m. and later some other times as late as 12:30 p.m.
Vice Chairperson asked at this time if they had any more valuable information to address the issue before the Commissioners. He asked if they had done additional survey work in the community which had been requested at the February meeting. Mr. Chirayunon felt there was no better way this could be done and felt that they already had a greater rate of approval. He thought the mailing by the Parks and Recreation Department covered this well and the fact of only two responses showed more approval than disapproval.
At this time resident Ellen Timmerman spoke to the Commission. She reported that she and her husband William live adjacent to the skate park and felt she spoke in behalf of many residents of the area who have become frustrated with the process. She said several of them, including herself, participated in the skate park board task force, attended the meetings for over a year and were part of the community process. She said the compromise with the community was that it would never be a lighted facility for night use. She felt it is unfair to them to now consider lighting the skate park when they had volunteered many hours and had been promised that it would never be a lighted park. She had quotes from notes from various City Council members at the time they purchased their home, “we were assured of this since it was bad public policy to put in night lighting in an already established neighborhood”. She thanked the staff for the report since she felt it was very honest and very accurate and appreciated their effort. She said she and her husband have appeared before the City Council on this subject several times, even when the security lights were installed because the original park plan stated that there would be no lighting whatsoever at the skate park facility. She has appeared before the City Council also on other issues regarding the skate park area. She also felt that if the skate park was lighted for night use other area city’s citizens would come to Brentwood to use the facility and could cause problems which the neighborhood is very concerned about. She strongly requested that the City not go back on its word to the neighborhood. She thanked the Commission for the opportunity to speak to the issue.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues thanked her and called on John Enger who had also requested to speak on the issue in favor of the lighting for night use of the skate park. Mr. Enger who said he was Ken Enger’s father and thanked them for the opportunity to speak to the Commission. He said he felt it was a right decision to put the skate park where it is and that there are a lot of kids who are skate boarders and appreciate the facility. He said he lives across the street from the tennis courts in Creekside Park, off of Claremont and that there are cars there for tennis lessons every Tuesday night, there is no parking made available for them, and the light is turned on often during the evening hours. Therefore he felt the lighting should not be an issue for someone who lives a tenth of a mile away from the skate park.
Former Chairperson Jeff Cowling then commented from the audience and felt that he has not seen any tangible results of requests for proposals for lighting sponsors. The Commission at that time had requested solutions to the problems. He asked if anything had been submitted to the Commission, any tangible recommendations for the lighting of the facility.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues thanked Mr. Cowling and then closed the discussion to the public unless there was a question from the Commissioners. He then laid out the question to the Commissioners, stating the staff report, promise from the City Council and both pro and con comments from the citizens. The Commission’s recommendation will then be presented to the City Council for final decision. Commissioner Tom Jones said that the overriding issue in his mind was that a promise was made to the neighborhood citizens and despite the fact that there is a new City Council, in his mind this does not change the promise to the citizens. He felt the promise is something that the Commission needs to honor and he votes in favor of the staff report and the facility not be lighted for night use. Commissioner Lanny Brown agreed with Commissioner Jones. He doesn’t believe the Commission or City Council could go back to the residents and say, “oh by the way we have changed our mind”. Vice Chairperson Rodrigus said he felt that pretty much summed up the situation and commented that he has been very involved in various lighting projects in thirty years with Parks and Recreation Departments and cannot go back on promises to the citizens of the community. He does care about kids in community but feels they have to keep promises to community. He commented on the fact that the Mayor was in the audience and thanked him for his attendance at the meeting. He also said he supports the staff report and the City Council recommendation that there is not night lighting at the skate park for night skating. He said in a fast growing community there are other projects that will require funds and this skate park has already been built and with supervision that has cost nearly a million dollars and feels the kids have one of the best skate parks around the area. He thanked them for their support and their gentlemanly attitude. He asked for the vote of the Commissioners at this time. Commissioner Tom Jones moved that the Commission recommend to the City Council that the request for lighting the skate park be rejected and the original conditions of its development be upheld. Commissioner Lanny Brown seconded the motion, motion carried.
Director Bronzan commented at this time that this item is scheduled to go before the City Council on June 10, at their regular meeting in Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Commissioner Jones asked if Director Bronzan thought the Commissioners should make themselves available at that meeting and Director Bronzan felt this would be a good idea.
M e m o r a n d u m
To: Craig Bronzan, Director
Parks and Recreation
From: Carrie Pankhurst, Recreation Services Coordinator
Subject: Skate Park Lights Communication Log
On Tuesday, May 6th, 2003, I called the individuals interested in adding lighting to the skate park regarding setting up a meeting to discuss what has been done since the Parks and Recreation Commission advised them to go back to neighbors within a tenth of a mile of the skate park and have them sign the petition. The meeting was set up for 4pm on Thursday, May 8th, 2003. Nobody showed up for the meeting.
After not hearing back from
the interested parties, I started calling to set up a new meeting. I made
the following calls:
On Monday, May 19th, I received a call from Tewah Chirayunon. When I asked him why nobody showed up to the meeting, he told me he was only told the day before the meeting (which wasn’t the case), and that he was busy with work. When I told him that we wanted to set up another meeting with him, he told me he was not interested in meeting with us and that they had not gone back to get more signatures. His reasoning for not going back out was that the City was already going to mail the information to all of the houses within a tenth of a mile from the skate park and they would find out about it from the City’s mailing.
In his explanation, Mr. Chirayunon tried to get me to agree that since only two people showed up last time to protest against the lights that they basically don’t have to canvas the area. He also stated that if anyone else has concerns about the lights, they will show up to the meeting.
“ . . . adding joy to people’s lives”
DATE: May 15, 2003
TO: Park and Recreation Commission
FROM: Craig D. Bronzan, Director
RE: Agenda Item #8
At the February 27, 2003, Park and Recreation Commission meeting, at the request of City Council, the Commission discussed a request from users of the skate park to install lights at the skate park for after-hour use. During the consideration of the request, a number of items were discussed and staff was requested to do more research and bring back a recommendation that included consideration of the discussion points.
Specifically, staff was requested to research the following:
• Review of Negative
Declaration of property (environmental work)
In an effort to keep the surrounding
residents of the skate park informed of the status of this item, staff
sent out a notice of the May 22nd Commission meeting to all 224 homes
that are within 1/10th of a mile radius of the park on May 9th (see attachment).
Residents were invited to attend the meeting and/or request a copy of
this staff report if they were interested.
Specifically, regarding lights, the Project Description says:
“Ball fields and the skateboard park would not be lighted as part of the construction. However, the City may choose to add night lights to these portions for the park in the future.”
In the evaluation of environmental impacts, two areas are related to after hour use of lights. In section X. Noise, under project impacts, Impact X-a: Would the project increase noise levels? it states:
“During daylight hours, use of the park would also increase on-site noise that could impact nearby residences. However, the proposed park has been designed in such a manner as to place active uses (such as the swimming pool and skateboard park) away from existing residences to the south and west to minimize noise increases. In addition, the heaviest use of the park is expected to be on the weekends, when the adjacent elementary school is closed, and during daylight hours when people are working or doing their daily activities. This impact is also anticipated to be less-than-significant.”
In section XIII. Aesthetics, under Environmental Impacts, Impact XIII-c: Would the project create light or glare?” it states:
“Construction of the proposed project would increase light sources due to the installation of new streetlights along adjacent roadways and within the park area itself. New light sources could “spill over” onto adjacent areas outside the park. Although precise lighting plans and level of illumination have not yet been prepared. This impact is potentially significant and the following mitigation measure is recommended to reduce light and glare impacts to a less than significant level.
Mitigation Measure 5:
(a) Street light and internal project light fixtures shall either be oriented downward or equipped with cut-off lenses to ensure that no spill over of unwanted light onto adjacent properties occurs.
As stated in the document, the City reserves the right to add lights for after hour use, providing mitigation measure 5 is implemented. However, it is clear that after hour lights were not intended to be a part of the initial construction of the skate park. And though related to noise, the impact is anticipated to be less-than-significant, heaviest use was expected to be on weekends and during daylight hours. Adding lights for use of the skate park after daylight hours could make these time periods some of the heaviest used.
Comments from Police Department
Risk Management Requirements
Unfortunately, the City of Brentwood is required to follow the requirements of our Risk Management Authority (RMA), who reviewed the skate park plans and set the conditions and requirements for the parameters in which the park could be built. From a risk management perspective, the City did not have the ability to override the restrictions placed on the project by our RMA because the users wanted something else.
Risk Management requirements come into play every time the City builds a facility. There are many items we would like to have had in the aquatic complex, however, when considering the risk, we followed the requirements of the RMA. As cities are so often looked at for their “deep pockets”, considering risk is of paramount importance. Just last week, the City of Walnut Creek was hit with a judgment of over $27 million dollars for the actions of two independent users groups in their facility. Saying “we won’t sue you” just isn’t an acceptable risk a city can take.
Staff has been working with our RMA to allow the City to start offering skate classes and activities (see attached report), something that has been a long, difficult struggle.
Additional Background Information
• The original design
of the skate park did not include lights out of respect to the surrounding
neighborhood. Staff has not received information that the views of the
surrounding neighbors have sufficiently changed. Staff supports the original
intent of the skate park, which was designed to be used during day light
Staff recommends the skate park continue to operate the hours as currently proposed, with City of Brentwood staff providing supervision with no admission charge. The City will also be expanding class and activity offerings at the skate park in an effort to add more diversity and opportunities for user groups.
Date: May 13, 2003
To: Craig Bronzan
From: Poldina Scherff, Recreation
Subject: Skate Park Information
1) List of activities that
have been held since opening? What is planned in next year and reasons
C.A.S.L. California Amateur
Skateboard League- Contest was held on May 11, 2002
C.A.S.L. California Amateur
Skateboard League- Contest was scheduled on May 3, 2003
Due to issues with East Contra Costa Municipal Risk Management, they stipulated that any lessons, clinics, camps etc. would have to fall upon the one offering the program. When obtaining Boards & More to provide the service, they could not obtain insurance through their carrier to cover such programs. This year we approached ECCMRM again because we were aware of San Ramon offering classes at their skate park. ECCMRM they replied that we could also offer the same if we employed the instructors.
So currently we have placed in the Summer Activities Guide an interest list to obtain information if this is something that our community is interested. We asked if skate boarding, in-line skating lessons, clinics, and or camps. It is also seeking qualified instructors for programs.
2) Attendance numbers since
opening per day.
3) Breakdown of money spent
on Skate Park (skate park/fence/lights/landscaping/etc.)
The money spent on landscaping, furnishing, pathways, block walls, trash enclosure, pavers, lighting and electrical were required as a part of this developed as it was connected to the aquatic complex and a part of the overall park site. City Council directed staff to match the construction elements of the aquatic complex and this money was budgeted as a part of the project.
4) Compliant - Fencing is cutting
5) Compliant - Concrete is
6) Costs for lighting
7) Determine extra staff costs
to meet hours requested.
November has 30 days (Closed
December has 31 days (Closed
on Christmas Eve & Day, New Years Eve)
January has 31 days (Closed
on New Years Day)
February has 29 days
April has 30 days (Park stays
open until 7pm)
Grand total of hours = 490 hours
490 hours x $15.53($13.62 Step B x 14% benefits) = $7,609.70 additional cost of staffing.
8) Response to getting senior
Pro’s and Con’s volunteer seniors vs. paid staff
9) Compare/contrast to hours
pool is open.
The pool and the skate park have similar hours of operation. However the pool does open to the public at 5:30am in the morning and Skate Park does not. The skate park opens only when schools is out Monday – Friday and closes as daylight permits. The skate park is open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until daylight permits year round. The pool closes during the summer months at 8:30 p.m. and the skate park stays open until 9 p.m. The pool is a year round facility and those who use the pool, pay for its use. Also the pool facility was built with after hour use in mind, the skate park specifically was not.
10) How many parcels pay how
much in park tax budget for Skate Park?
11) Compare to other cities
that have lights (where located/who pays/staffed/problems/other items)
Park Lights Memo – PS.doc
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Surrounding Skate Park Residents
FROM: Craig D. Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation
RE: Consideration of Skate Park Lights
On Thursday, May 22, 2003, the City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission will be considering a request by users of the skate park to add night lighting for after hour skate park use. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 734 Third Street. This request, which was first made to the City Council, will be considered with a recommendation from the Commission forwarded to City Council for action.
The Parks and Recreation Department is notifying all residents within a 1/10th mile radius of the skate park of the meeting in case you are interested in attending the meeting. The final staff report on the subject will be completed on Friday, May 16th and is available to any interested citizen. Should you wish to receive a copy of the staff report by mail, in person, or by email, please contact Tammy Homan, Administrative Secretary at 516-5362 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact the Parks and Recreation office should you have any questions or comments at 516-5444.
cc: John Stevenson, City Manager
PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION
CALL TO ORDER: Meeting was called to order by Chairperson Jeff Cowling at 7:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL: Commissioners present were Chairperson Jeff Cowling, Lanny Brown, Ernie Rodrigues and Tom Jones. Commissioner Jan Melloni was absent at roll call.
Others present were Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation; Janet Hansen, Park Planner; Tammy Homan, Administrative Secretary; Barry Margesson, Park Landscape Supervisor; Sue Barry, Recreation Services Supervisor; Poldina Scherff, Recreation Services Manager; and Carrie Pankhurst, Recreation Services Supervisor.
Item No. 7 Discussion/recommendation
to City Council concerning request by Skate Park
It was then suggested that if they wanted to go out and talk to the neighbors in the surrounding community that is part of democracy in action. Staff has been working with them and identified within about a 1/10th mile radius, the names and addresses of the homes that surround the park and helped them put their petition together so it could be in a format that they could use to go out and convince the community, at least the surrounding residents that this is a good idea. This started in December and the group has now turned in the petitions, which are a part of the agenda packet. Director Bronzan said it is his understanding that they have reached support from about 79 of the 224 homes and also in fairness to the residents they have been notified they could email, fax or come to the meeting to express their wishes in the matter. This was cut off at noon today and Ms. Homan has two emails in favor, two against and one phone call, which has since come in as a written letter against. Director Bronzan summed it up that the intent of the park was not to have lights and staff still believes that is the prudent thing to do. Park and Recreation recommendation at this time is not to light the facility. Should the Commission decide that they want to consider lights, there are a number of points that would need to be discussed now or delayed to another time before going to City Council. One point would be that there are four motion sensor security lights at the park, they were there for after hours security protection and allow the Police Department to know someone was in there. They were not strategically placed for competitive lighting. Initial cost estimate is that there is at least an $8,000 retrofit to use the four existing poles to come up with anywhere from 24 to 30 floodlight fixtures in order to get light around the facility. The foot candles under the security lights are ten foot candles and about ten feet away it basically goes off the scale. They would still need to look at the bottom of the bowls. The design was not intended to throw light from the poles to the bottom of the bowls. Question would be how to pay for the lights? Developer’s fees cannot be used on existing parks. Another question is who would pay for the electricity? The third item is the direction of the City Council, which at this point staff continues to support, the facility is supervised and costs the Parks and Recreation Department $57,000 a year to supervise the facility. City Council has been very pleased with what has gone on since it has been supervised because there have been very few problems. With after hour skating there would be additional supervision charges and question would be who pays this additional cost? Finally, have the applicants adequately brought forth the support of the community?
At this point the presentations began with Tewah Chirayunon and Ken Enger. Mr. Chirayunon and Mr. Enger originally went to City Council and started the ball rolling for the facility being lighted. They began their presentation by stating that they are proud of the skate park Mr. Chirayunon said he appreciates the Park and Recreation Department’s motto “ . . .adding joy to people’s lives”. His purpose at the meeting was to extend the hours, discuss safety and hope that they can reach a reasonable solution. He explained the reasoning behind extending the hours is that kids and his son get out of school at 3 p.m. and by the time they do their homework and get to the park, it is nearly time for it to close in the winter months. He is looking only for a semi-annual change from November 1 to May 1 each year. He said by the time the students get out of school at 3 p.m., do their homework and with the park closing at 5 p.m. therefore their window of opportunity to utilize the park is very small in the winter months. He is not concerned with summer usage. Mr. Chirayunon says that if the park costs of $800,000 were correct, then possibly the park is not being used to its full potential in the three hours in the winter time. He feels the park is a safe place to go to, he appreciates the supervision and the fact that it is gated. He also feels that extending the hours on a semi-annual basis will extend the safety to the community because they are not going to be in a parking lot, or a school or in another park. The majority of the kids will be in the skate park. He also mentioned closing the park early may not be appropriate since it could strand kids in the dark.
He discussed the fee as suggested by the Parks and Recreation Department and does not feel this is fair either to the lower income kids. He also quoted some figures as to other cities and how many charge for the supervision and have some type of subsidy to cover the costs of the supervision. Mr. Chirayunon felt lights, keeping the park open might be included in safety costs. He also quoted figures of what the Brentwood residents are assessed on an annual basis that is to cover ground maintenance, water and electricity. Mr. Chirayunon said he felt both parents and kids would benefit from the extended hours in the winter months only. He felt it would promote a safer community, since last November 1, 2002, there have been no incidents at the skate park involving the police. He cited the fact that the Aquatic Center currently has events until 10 p.m. and they are looking for the skate park hours to be extended only to 8 p.m. during school days, which are Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday they would like the hours extended to 9 p.m. He felt that of the residents they were able to survey, they achieved a 90% approval. He did indicate that some residents were not home or did not answer the door. He is willing to try another way to reach those residents they were not able to contact. Copies of the survey was included in each Commissioners packet.
Next speaker was James Curtis, and he was speaking in favor of lighting the skate park for night time activity. He disputed the cost of the skate park, saying 45% of the $800,000 was for landscaping which the skate boarders did not ask for or want. He said that he attended all of the meetings of the task force and said that lights were brought up at every meeting. He stated that he lives about three blocks from the Skate Park and Aquatic Complex and that there are about 20 cars present at the Aquatic Complex presently. He asked why are they allowed to stay open and have a lighted facility when the skate park is not? He feels the Park and Recreation Department has done little or no promotion of the park. They have not hosted any events and there are no vending machines, telephones and other items that have been brought up at other meetings. Mr. Curtis says there are several construction flaws in the park which he has brought up several times to people in maintenance and nothing has ever been done at all. He felt there were safety issues at the park that are absurd, little kids walking around in the middle of the park, roller blades are leaving wax on the surface and water stands in some areas and does not drain properly. He felt the design was scaled down from what the skaters on the task force requested. Chairperson Cowling asked him to be a little more positive in his attitude. Mr. Curtis feels the Parks and Recreation Department has ignored the requests from the skaters. Commissioner Rodrigues said he has not been too involved in this skate park since he was new on the Commission, but was very involved in the skate park in Livermore. Although, there may be some issues to be addressed, but the bottom line is they have an excellent facility and it takes time to get what you want overall.
Mr. Curtis’s stated that
it is a nice facility, but feels that it has been built and then neglected
as far as the Parks & Recreation Department is concerned because they
have not added things to the facility or promoted it as much as he feels
they should. Question came up as to the amount of usage after school.
Staff was asked this question and Ms. Scherff agreed to obtain these statistics.
It was suggested that the group wishing the changes in hours bring not
only the problem, but try to come up with some solutions as to how to
finance the additional hours, lights and supervision. Discussion of the
design and Commissioner Brown asked Mr. Curtis what was wrong with the
design. Mr. Curtis feels there are drainage problems and also the original
plans had been scaled down considerably from what the task force had requested.
Commissioner Melloni arrived at 7:45 p.m.
The next speaker was Brandon Verrett. He says that after 5 p.m. there is very little for them to do and no other place to skate other than parking lots or in the street. He feels his parents would like it better to know where they are at and that they could come and pick them up and drop them off knowing they are at a safe supervised facility. He suggested box lighting where the lights are reflected down into the park such as he has seen at Dublin’s skate park.
The next speaker was Ryan Dalke.
He also feels the park will keep teenagers off the street and from doing
things that they should not be involved in after school hours. He also
said there are lights on at the school longer hours and they are close
to the neighborhood houses also. Commissioner Brown asked Mr. Timmerman
if he has noticed at night when the security lights in the skate park
come on. Mr. Timmerman said he had not. Question was asked about how often
the skate park was used by the skaters, most used it just about every
day, 5-7 days a week. Commissioner Jones asked how the kids get to the
park after hours, and do they have to walk at night after dark or do their
parents pick them up? Some have their parents drop them off and pick them
up, some drive and some walk.
Director Bronzan explained the issue that the City Council had decided that this would not be a lighted facility and had made this promise to the neighbors. The City Council, not the Parks and Recreation Department, made this commitment to the residents of the area that it would not be a lighted facility. Recommendation would have to be made to the City Council. Discussion of survey and respondents and how to reach the other residents who have not responded to the survey or the callers when they went door to door. Mr. Chirayunon said of the 40 respondents they had, only 4 said no, and he felt that was a very good percentage that did not object. He also said he was willing to go back out for more signatures and asked if there is a better way any of the Commissioners or staff can suggest to get a broader response. Ms. Teller wanted to know what other facilities are planned in the adjacent communities and if they would not have lighted parking lots and traffic that would affect this neighborhood. Director Bronzan explained what is planned in the various areas being questioned.
Ms. Erna Barr addressed the Commission with her wishes not to have the facility lighted. She was in favor of healthy activities for children and has supported them over the years. She has nothing against the skate park as it currently exists. She felt the letter from the Parks and Recreation Department was late in coming, since she had just received it in the past couple of days and neighbors she had talked to had not seen the letter at all. She discussed other parts of the park that are going to be completed which will provide other healthy activities and also was concerned of the amount of money available for these other projects as well as the skate park. Ms. Barr expressed concern for undesirable elements which may be attracted by lights and longer hours at the skate park. She stated that she feels the needs of one group needs to be weighed by the entire community’s requirements and ability to finance projects.
Ms. Teller commented that they are not asking for lights late into the evening, only until 8 p.m. when people are still up and watching television, etc.
Ms. Barr then again addressed the Commission on her concerns for traffic on the street, noise factors and parking that may spill over into the residential areas.
Chairperson Cowling then thanked all those who took the time to come to the Commission and express their views. He said if there were not the concerns of intrusion and financial there would not be a problem with complying with the requests to lengthen the hours and light the facility. He summed up the problems as he sees them to four major issues as follows:
1. Light intrusion
Commissioner Tom Jones also said another issue is the political issue since there is a prior commitment to the residents. Chairperson Cowling said his view on the political issue is that there is a new Mayor and City Council that might impact how the current City Council would view the issue. He discussed the lighting issue and the length of time it would take to get trees to block the light from the residents. He feels there is justification of the fact that the lighting may be drowned out by other lights from the school, Aquatic Complex and other developments in the area. The fact also that the lights only being on until 9 p.m. could mean this would not be as strong an issue as originally thought. He addressed the supervision costs and felt that there could be ways to get around this. Users have been following the rules lately and could possibly pull out some supervision or have roving supervision as opposed to full time supervision. They could concentrate more on the night time supervision. He felt the upgrading of the lighting and cost of the electricity are major concerns and he is not quite sure how this should be dealt with, possibly offset some of the supervision costs, so night time supervision and release of some of the day time supervision would release some funds for the lighting and electricity costs.
Commissioner Rodrigues asked Director Bronzan what the original cost of the skate park was. Director Bronzan said the entire cost for the facility was $800,000. Original estimate was $550,000, and could have left landscaping off, but that would have left a “no mans land” between the pool and the skate park. He explained the costs and reasoning for completing it as it was at that time. Commissioner Rodrigues then asked for the lighting costs and this issue was again addressed by Director Bronzan and he has estimates of about $8,000. He also explained the difference between the lights at the pool and what would have to be installed at the skate park for competition lights. Commissioner Rodrigues then said if current supervision costs are at $57,000, what would it cost to add the additional hours of supervision for the expanded use of the facility. Director Bronzan said it has been estimated at $8,000 additional to the current $57,000. Director Bronzan said also that he could not support any recommendation that took supervision away from the park. He said it would not be worth the possible problems that could occur. Commissioner Rodrigues said his last question would be the numbers, how many use the skate park on the peak times and low times, he asked staff for an estimate. Ms. Poldina Scherff said she does not have those numbers at this time, but can obtain them and get them to him at a later date. Participants at the meeting said weekends are higher than during the week, often 40-60 on weekends. Commissioner Rodrigues made further comments regarding his views. He also thanked the citizens who appeared at the Commission meeting and said he gave them a lot of respect for the way they conducted themselves.
Suggestion was made by one citizen that possibly senior citizens might be willing to come and monitor the park on a volunteer basis. Commissioner Brown thought the kids and parents did a good job of presenting their views. He also wanted to hear more from the neighbors and wondered if it could be done the way it was presented. He would like more input, but felt a good point was made that at 5 p.m. the skate park is closed and in other areas things are kept open such as lighted ball fields, etc. Commissioner Melloni said she would like more information regarding costs and wondered if the citizen’s group had explored a fund raiser for the costs of the lighting. She also wondered about grants. Janet Hansen discussed grants and said that at the moment she did not know of any for lighting. Commissioner Melloni said the lights are on at the school and the Aquatic Complex for security until 7:30 p. m. or later and don’t really seem to bother the neighbors. The subject of advertising on the fencing or holding competitions was also raised for fundraising possibilities. Commissioner Melloni also asked how the situation of funding stands as far as budget vs. actual for the Parks & Recreation Dept. Director Bronzan said that last year $275,000 was transferred into their budget because they had gone into the hole that much over the last two years and trying to do all the projects City Council had directed. The department has been running $85,000 to $90,000 a year in arrears. Chairperson Cowling told the citizens requesting the extra hours and lighting that if the Parks and Recreation Commission sends this item back to the City Council they should come prepared with recommendations as to how they could deal with the problem. After further discussion by the Commissioners, Chairperson Cowling said that the citizen’s group needs to come up with not only the problem, but with solutions to the problem. Commissioner Brown moved that the Commission send this issue back to the City Council, Commissioner Melloni seconded the motion. Commissioner Brown said the issue should be explored further, if lights could be put in, switching of hours, and other types of compromise. At this point Commissioner Melloni wondered if it might be more prudent to have the citizens come back to the Parks and Recreation Commission with plans or solutions and results of further polling the neighbors, and then at that point decide what should be done. Commissioner Jones said he would be more comfortable if they did go back and “do more homework” and come back to the Commission before sending to the City Council. At this point Commissioner Melloni rescinded her second to the motion.
Director Bronzan offered the suggestion that staff could come back with numbers as to attendance, exact costs of supervision and best accuracy as possible on figures for the lighting upgrades. He will get specifications from Risk Management, whether it can be done with existing poles and other factors involved. He suggested this would probably not be all available until either the April or May meeting. Chairperson Cowling suggested that the citizens group approach a local electrical contractor for possible donations and Director Bronzan promised to get the facts and figures together to help in making the decision. Commissioner Melloni said she would like to have more neighborhood input as well. Discussion was held in how to obtain this further information. Commissioner Jones suggested also that they might glean information from other skate parks in the area that have night usage. Suggestion that Parks and Recreation staff contact the City of Dublin for information as to how they acquired their lighting. Ms. Hansen suggested the Skate Parks Coalition, an organization of different cities that meet on a regular basis, specifically on skate parks and programs of management. Staff could contact them for information. She stated there is an organization for Northern California and one for Southern California. Discussion of expanding the poll of the citizens of Brentwood to get a more complete survey.
Commissioner Brown rescinded his previous motion. He then said that he is currently inclined to support returning the question to the City Council but would like further information as indicated above. At this point Commissioner Brown moved that he requested the group to put a whole package together regarding this issue and come back in a couple of months. Director Bronzan said he knew he would not have all the requested information available by the March meeting, but would send another letter out two weeks prior to the next scheduled meeting for this item of the Commission to the residents. Commissioner Rodrigues asked that a survey also be done of other area skate parks as to their night skating and lighting costs and trends. This request echoed by Commissioner Jones. Commissioner Melloni seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.
“ . . . adding joy to people’s lives”
DATE: February 20, 2003
TO: Park and Recreation Commissioners
FROM: Craig D. Bronzan, Director
RE: Skate Park Agenda Item #7
A group of citizens addressed City Council under citizen participation at the November 26, 2002, City Council meeting, requesting consideration for allowing night skating at the skate park. After listening to the request by the citizens, Mayor McPoland requested that City staff meet with the citizens and consider the item at a future Park and Recreation Commission meeting.
Regarding lights at the skate park, the facility was designed from the very beginning, with direction from the City Council Park sub-committee (predecessor to the Park and Recreation Commission) and later by City Council, to not include lights for after hour skating. The only change that occurred was during construction when City Council directed staff to install motion sensor lights for security purposes.
The decision not to have lights for after hour skating was done for a variety of reasons:
• The facility was intended
to be open to the public, at no charge, with no supervision. Adding night
lighting would raise the cost of operation of the facility at the City’s
expense as it would require staff to come back after hours to close the
In preparing the citizens to make a presentation to the Commission, staff recommended that the group needed to develop a specific proposal, talk to the surrounding neighbors/develop a petition about their request, identify where funding would come from to either add or retrofit lights, identify how to pay for additional staff costs that would be required to supervise the facility for expanded hours, and identify how to pay for the electrical bill if lights were allowed.
As a result of the meeting on December 5th, department staff members Poldina Scherff and Carrie Pankhurst continued to meet with the citizen group (see attached staff report dated February 20, 2003).
Staff is recommending the Commission not approve this proposal for the following reason:
• One of the main reasons lights were not included in the design was out of respect to neighbor requests. Staff does not believe that there is sufficient neighborhood support for the request. We asked the group to go and talk with the 224 homes that surround the skate park, of which; only 79 have provided their support on the petition. It is our understanding that they did not talk to all the homes. When presented with the option of taking additional time to go back so they could talk with all the neighbors, the group said no, they wanted to move forward. Staff supports the original intent of the park, which was not to allow after hour use.
If the Commission wishes to recommend to City Council consideration of after hour use, staff requests the following questions be resolved:
• Who will pay the cost
to retrofit the lights? Maintenance staff has estimated the cost to be
a minimum of $8,000. The existing security lights would need to be rewired,
and as skate use lighting was never planned, additional light poles may
be required. Staff has estimated that as many as 30 flood light type fixtures
may be necessary on the existing poles to provide light throughout the
park. The poles were not installed to provide safe lighting in all areas.
There would also be additional work necessary at the electrical panel.
We cannot use developer fees and there is no money budgeted for this expense.
In an effort to keep the neighborhood aware of this item, staff has sent to all 224 homes that are within a 1/10th mile radius of the park, a copy of the agenda item, staff report and a cover letter inviting their comments either in writing, by email, or in attendance at the meeting. Staff will continue to keep the residents informed on this item as a recommendation goes forward to City Council.
Date: February 20, 2003
Subject: Skate Park Proposal for extended hours with lights.
On December 5, 2002, Brandon Verrett, Kenneth Enger, Stephen Curtis, Tewah Chirayunon, Tiler Chirayunon and Devin Pagan, all users of the Skate Park, met with recreation staff to discuss the possibility of extended hours and adding lights to the facility. They were requesting that the park be open with longer hours during the year. Staff went over the current hours of operation, which revolves around daylight. They concluded that extending the hours from October through March from 5pm to 8pm, Sunday through Thursday and from 5pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday. Staff advised that these changes would necessitate more money for staffing and that the facility be lit for safety purposes, and that the current lights were not intended for that purpose. Staff then advised them on how to proceed with their proposal.
1) Develop a petition.
Staff provided information
for the petition and addresses of the houses within a tenth of a mile
radius of the Skate Park. The group came up with a plan of who was going
to which neighborhood. Staff met with the group again on February 13,
2003. The group gave staff the signatures of 79 out of a possible 224
houses, 35% of the area (see attachments). We did not receive the signatures
collected by Devin Pagan because he forgot to bring them. We asked if
they wanted more time to get a better percentage of signatures but they
wanted to go forward with the next step. Finally, we discussed how they
should present their proposal at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting
on February 27, 2003.
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
Fax (925) 516-5441