April 11, 2016
1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting of the City Council was called to order by Mayor John Marchand at 7:02 pm, in the City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore, California.
1.01 ROLL CALL - Present: Mayor John Marchand, Vice Mayor Stewart Gary, and Council Members Steven Spedowfski and Laureen Turner. Council Member Bob Woerner was absent/excused.
1.02 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2. PROCLAMATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS - None.
3. CITIZENS FORUM
Don Meeker, Livermore, spoke regarding the August 6, 1883 minutes and several newspaper articles regarding Corporal Thomas Casey.
Jeff Kaskey, Livermore, spoke regarding comments made by Jean King and him at the March 28, 2016, City Council meeting regarding the process for development of the downtown core. He said it was not their intention to question anyones personal integrity or ethics and apologized for anyones personal offense from their miscommunication.
Mayor Marchand said the City Council supported a transparent and open process and encouraged public input.
David McGuigan, Livermore, suggested using the Groth Brothers property for the proposed hotel in the downtown.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, Community and Economic Development Director Stephan Kiefer confirmed that the City Council had not yet determined the location for the proposed hotel.
Michael Tree, Executive Director, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, spoke regarding updates to the Wheels Forward planning efforts and improvements to the system. He said more information was available at www.wheelsforward.com.
Lynda Seaver, Director of Public Affairs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, read and presented a letter clarifying the Labs official position on the development of the downtown area. She emphasized the Lab supported development of a downtown center, was not asking the city to develop such a center, had not been requested by city leadership to remain silent on the issue, and that the Labs official position would come directly from the Director of Public Affairs.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, Ms. Seaver said no one from the City had attempted to suppress letters from Director William Goldstein.
Michael Asahina, North Livermore Community Alliance, said there would be a presentation by Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) on April 20, 2016, 7:00 pm, at the Livermore Civic Center Library, Community Room B.
4. CONSENT CALENDAR
Item 4.01 CM Spedowfski said he would abstain from voting on Item 4.01 as he did not attend the March 28, 2016, City Council meeting.
ON THE MOTION OF VM GARY, SECONDED BY CM TURNER, AND CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE CONSENT CALENDAR WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ITEM 4.01, CARRIED ON A 3-0-1 VOTE, CM SPEDOWFSKI ABSTAINING.
4.01 Approval of Minutes - March 28, 2016 regular City Council meeting.
4.02 Resolution 2016-034 authorizing appropriation of Housing and Human Services Grant funds, in the amount of $707,447 for Fiscal Year 2016-2017; and authorizing execution of grant agreements.
4.03 Resolution 2016-035 accepting for permanent maintenance and releasing security for Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Station No. 9, Project No. 1994-55.
5. PUBLIC HEARINGS - None.
6. MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
6.01 Special Landowner Election for Community Facilities District No. 2016-1 (Sage Maintenance) pursuant to the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act.
Recommendation: Staff recommended the City Council:
a. Adopt a resolution calling a special landowner election for Community Facilities District No. 2016-1, and direct the City Clerk to conduct the landowner election;
b. Adopt a resolution declaring the results of the special landowner election; and if the election is successful, direct the recording of the Notice of Special Tax Lien; and
c. Introduce an ordinance levying special tax within Community Facilities District No. 2016-1 (Sage Maintenance).
ON THE MOTION OF CM SPEDOWFSKI, SECONDED BY CM TURNER AND CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION:
Resolution 2016-036 calling special landowner election for Community Facilities District No. 2016-1 (Sage Maintenance).
Mayor Marchand directed the City Clerk to open and tabulate the ballots.
City Clerk Susan Neer announced the results of the election:
Ballots cast: 1
# of YES votes: 57
# of NO votes: 0
ON THE MOTION OF VM GARY, SECONDED BY CM TURNER AND CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION:
Resolution 2016-037 declaring results of special landowner election and directing recording of notice of special tax lien. Community Facilities District No. 2016-1 (Sage Maintenance).
ON THE MOTION OF VM GARY, SECONDED BY CM SPEDOWFSKI AND CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL INTRODUCED THE FOLLOWING ORDINANCE:
Ordinance introduced levying special tax within Community Facilities District No. 2016-1 (Sage Maintenance).
6.02 Update regarding the Springtown Homeowners Association proposal for private operation of the Springtown Golf Course.
Recommendation: Staff recommended the City Council formally reject the proposal for private operation of the Springtown Golf Course and direct staff to complete the remaining direction from the December 7, 2015 Special City Council meeting.
Public Works Director Darren Greenwood presented the staff report.
Mark Kolt, Livermore, read and presented a letter stating the PowerPoint presentation was only an informational update and he was continuing to develop the project parameters as outlined in his letter.
In response to questions by VM Gary, Community and Economic Development Director Stephan Kiefer said the City currently did not have any applications for Class A office space. He said Colliers International and Lee & Associates had both concluded there was very little market demand for Class A office space; historically, there had been very little demand in Livermore. He reviewed the different types of office space and said there was 47,000 square feet of Class A throughout the entire city, with approximately 6,000 square feet that had not been built-out.
Mr. Kolt responded to the question by reading from his prepared statement tracking results by Colliers for 4Q 2015 for Silicon Valley regarding demand for 100,000 square feet or more of office space.
Mr. Kiefer stated the Colliers document presented by Mr. Kolt was authored by Mark Triska who had concluded there was no demand for Class A office space in Livermore.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Mr. Kiefer said there were other areas in Livermore currently zoned for office space. He said areas along the freeway could accommodate 100,000 contiguous square feet, in addition to the downtown on a smaller scale. Mr. Greenwood said the Colliers report stated there was currently 2.1 million square feet of Class A office space in the Tri-Valley that was vacant; the occupancy rate for Bishop Ranch was 82%.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Mr. Kolt said the project was targeting one single tenant to take the whole space for 95-100% occupancy. He said he would exceed the occupancy rate of Bishop Ranch. He said anticipated tenants included Livermore Laboratory and all local, state, and federal government agencies.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, Mr. Kolt said he was developing two scenarios with KemperSports. He said he had Letters of Intent from investors for no specific dollar amount. He said in December 2015, he had presented the City with a Letter of Intent from Technology Square Partners for an amount of up to $50 million.
Mayor Marchand invited public comment.
Betty Murillo, Livermore, spoke in support of the proposal by Mark Kolt and requested an extension for submittal of his plan.
Rich Hanan, Livermore, spoke and submitted written comments in support of the City rejecting the proposal and not extending the deadline for submittal of the plan.
Wayne Wright, Livermore, spoke and submitted written comments in support of the City rejecting the proposal and not extending the deadline for submittal of the plan.
Gayle Travers, Livermore, spoke in support of the ballot measure to preserve the Springtown Golf Course as permanent office space. She said Mark Kolt should be given more time to complete and submit his proposal.
Paul Swanson, Livermore, read a letter from Sean McMenamin to reject the proposal by Mark Kolt and permanently close the Springtown Golf Course.
Janet Cochran Craig, Livermore, said she was speaking for herself and Cathy Griggs, in support of the proposal by Mark Kolt and extension of the deadline.
David Craig, Livermore, said Mark Kolt should be given more time to complete and submit his proposal.
Martha Metzler-Ghofranian, read and submitted letters from Gregory Franz and Jacob Anderson in support of staff recommendation of rejecting the proposal and preserving Springtown Golf Course as permanent open-space. She spoke of the inequities of information being released to certain members of the homeowners association.
Dr. Deborah McMenamin, Livermore, read and submitted her letter in support of rejecting the proposal and preserving Springtown Golf Course as permanent open-space.
Sue Vincent, Livermore, spoke in opposition to the proposed project and in support of permanent open space.
Emily Bloomer, Livermore, spoke regarding safety measures and water conservation at the golf course.
Tim Tikalsky, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Jeff Tikalsky, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Jason Cain, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Les Edwards, Livermore, spoke regarding the condition of the Springtown Golf Course and said Mr. Kolts proposal should be given consideration.
Connie Kopps, Livermore, read the letter she submitted via fax to the City Council.
Natalia Smeltsora, Livermore, spoke in opposition to open space and in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
David McGuigan, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Nancy Thorne, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Bruce Schultz, Livermore, President, Springtown Homeowners Association, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
Gary Swinscoe, Livermore, spoke in support of allowing more time for Mark Kolt to complete and submit his proposal.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Mr. Kolt said the Springtown Homeowners Association (SHOA) had not agreed to lease the property to Springtown Partners. He said there was no money in the bank account; funding would come from future partners. He confirmed there was an investor who pledged up to $50 million and said the entire project could be completed for under $50 million.
In response to questions by CM Turner, Community and Economic Development Director Stephan Kiefer said staff was only modeling office space for the future development at Isabel.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Mr. Keifer said adjustments would have to be made to maintain the current level of service along Bluebell Drive that included turn-pockets, widening, and signalizing at the intersection. City Attorney Jason Alcala said conditions of approval for a business could direct its employees to use a certain route, but could not direct its customers.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Bruce Shultz, SHOA President, said a majority vote would be determined by the number of votes cast.
Additional comments made from the audience in response to CM Spedowfskis questions were inaudible.
In response to questions by VM Gary, Mr. Shultz said the SHOA only planned to lease the land to the developer. He said there had not been any official hard line
balloting on this. He said there had not been any opposition to the development or Mark Kolt. He said there were five seats on the board with one vacancy.
In response to questions by VM Gary, City Manager Marc Roberts said a comparably sized building to the proposal would be the Kaiser building, only with a third story.
CM Spedwofski said the Kaiser building was approximately 33,000 square feet of the total footprint of 5.5 acres. The Springtown lot was about five acres. He said the greenspace and putting greens owned by the SHOA were included in the five acres. He added that the larger building, along with the parking, would be on a smaller parcel.
VM Gary said the project would generate one of the biggest zoning and general plan amendments. Mr. Roberts said the City had not done this type of development inside a residential neighborhood.
VM Gary said the March date had been set to get key deal points figured out and presented to Council for a check-in and future guidance so that by end of May, a construct could be fully vetted and the entire community could say proceed or stop. He said because of the lack of recycled water and the location and nine holes, the question was what was economically and resident beneficial. He said from the meeting on December 7, 2015, he envisioned a modest HOA rebuild, perhaps a two-storied building with some neighborhood commercial space to generate modest revenue. If the proposal had been 100,000 square feet of office space, 300-400 parking spaces plus the legal/fiscal entanglements with the HOA and developers, it would have been an 18-24 month process. He said he would not support a general plan amendment for intensification of that use to that neighborhood, intersection, and freeway interchange. He said this discussion should have taken place last month, there were no legal agreements with the HOA or anybody, no firm investor commitment, and Class A office space was speculative at best.
CM Spedowfski said staff had evaluated the concept based on industry standards with their professional experience with many projects; he did not appreciate attacks on staff and their integrity. He said he could not see a practical way of placing a 100,000 square foot building on that site without having either parking or the building backed up against residential lots, and a four storied building would allow for people to look into backyards. He said the cost of the proposed bus bridge, road improvements and parking still had not been accounted for. He said the story continued to change and the solution would not include a 100,000 square foot office building. He said the plan to have it 100% occupied was a poor gamble especially with a government agency. He said this was not a realistic option. He said the Springtown Golf Course continued to be a historical sink of public resources and the time to move on was now.
CM Turner said there were many obstacles to the proposal and expressed disappointment that a vote of the homeowners had not been conducted to see if they were supportive of the project. She said a lot of information had been spinning around but the basic foundational question still had not been asked. She said the golf course has never been financially viable and there were even fewer golfers now. She supported staff recommendation.
Mayor Marchand said the Council had listened to the community throughout the entire process. Springtown Golf Course had not turned a profit in 50 years. He said small, efficient government could not afford to subsidize a losing enterprise to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. He verified with the City Manager that the approximate value of the land was between $2.5 - $4 million.
Mayor Marchand said the projections of this project would spin-off a half-million dollars to support the golf course and all other enterprises which would be an incredible return on investment. He said the Council had not been presented with a business plan, a failure analysis, site plans, or building plans and the letters of interest were for no specific amount. He verified that the history and official documents pertaining to Springtown had not been suppressed.
In response to questions by Mayor Marchand, City Manager Marc Roberts said if a profit and loss statement, failure analysis, a more complete business plan and evidence of approval from the SHOA to even submit a proposal were submitted by the end of May, staff could agendize the item for June. He said staff could also bring back a planning process proposal for the future of the property which would include Livermore Area Recreation and Park District input.
IT WAS MOVED BY CM SPEDOWFSKI, SECONDED BY CM TURNER TO ACCEPT STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO PROCEED WITH THE MASTER PLANNING PROCESS FOR CONVERSION OF THE SPRINGTOWN GOLF COURSE AS OPEN SPACE, DEVELOP BALLOT LANGUAGE TO PRESERVE THE GOLF COURSE PROPERTY AS OPEN SPACE, AND MAINTAIN THE TEMPORARY GOLF COURSE THROUGHOUT THE CLOSURE.
AN AMENDING MOTION WAS MADE BY MAYOR MARCHAND TO INCLUDE EXTENSION OF THE SUBMITTAL OF INFORMATION TO THE END OF MAY TO PROCESS FOR A JUNE MEETING.
VM Gary said the applicant should have known from December onward that the due date was the second meeting in May. He said if the due date were extended, there should be a specific, written, and binding deliverables that would need to be submitted. He said that was too much in too short of time, and Mr. Kolt did not understand development standards. He could not support the intensification of development as proposed.
Mayor Marchand said he agreed with VM Gary.
THE AMENDING MOTION FAILED FOR LACK OF SECOND.
THE MAIN MOTION BY CM SPEDOWFSKI, SECONDED BY CM TURNER, CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, AND THE CITY COUNCIL DIRECTED STAFF TO COMPLETE THE REMAINING DIRECTION FROM THE DECEMBER 7, 2015 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING AS FOLLOWS: PROCEED WITH THE MASTER PLANNING PROCESS FOR CONVERSION OF THE SPRINGTOWN GOLF COURSE AS OPEN SPACE, DEVELOP BALLOT LANGUAGE TO PRESERVE THE GOLF COURSE PROPERTY AS OPEN SPACE, MAINTAIN THE TEMPORARY GOLF COURSE THROUGHOUT THE CLOSURE, AND DIRECTED STAFF TO REPORT BACK TO COUNCIL THE COST OF TEMPORARY MAINTENANCE OF THE FACILITY DURING THE MASTER PLANNING PROCESS.
7. COUNCIL COMMITTEE REPORTS AND MATTERS INITIATED BY CITY MANAGER, CITY ATTORNEY, STAFF AND COUNCILMEMBERS
7.01 Council Committee Reports and Matters Initiated by City Manager, City Attorney, Staff, and Council Members.
Alameda County Community Choice Energy CM Spedowfski said on April 4, 2016, he attended the meeting. He reported that a presentation of the proposed program was scheduled for the May 9, 2016, City Council meeting.
Police Officers CM Turner said on April 11, 2016, she attended the swearing-in ceremony for the Citys new police officers.
Las Positas Golf Course VM Gary said he met with the operators of the golf course and restaurant to discuss their operation and business plans.
VM Gary requested staff to contact City of Santa Clara for information pertaining to their conversion of a golf course to passive open space.
CM Spedowfski suggested staff contact the City of Martinez for information pertaining to their conversion of a golf course to another use.
Tri-Valley Community Television (TVTC) Mayor Marchand said on March 30, 2016, he attended the board of directors meeting. There was discussion on the budget and personnel issues.
Livermore Cultural Arts Council (LCAC) Mayor Marchand said on April 6, 2016, he attended the meeting. There was a report on the downtown plan and a recap of activities by arts organizations in the Tri-Valley.
Rotary International Students Mayor Marchand said on April 9, 2016, he met with the students from international locations.
Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) Mayor Marchand said on April 11, 2016, he attended the I-580 Express Lane Policy Advisory Committee meeting and the Planning, Policy and Legislation meeting. He said 126,000 cars used the new express lanes during the first seven days they were open. He said there was new legislation to allow buses to drive on highway shoulders.
Police Officers Mayor Marchand said on April 11, 2016, he attended the swearing-in ceremony for the Citys new police officers.
Carnegie Park Mayor Marchand said on April 14, 2016, there would be a dedication ceremony for the new bandstand at Carnegie Park.
City Manager Marc Roberts acknowledged the bandstand was a gift from the Rotary Foundation.
8. ADJOURNMENT - at 10:15 pm to a regular City Council meeting on Monday, April 25, 2016, at 7:00 pm, Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore.
JOHN P. MARCHAND, MAYOR
SUSAN NEER, CITY CLERK