City Council Summary 6/19/2017

Summary

The Council members discussed the project after the public comment.  Council members Albertson, Miller, and Kearney were concerned about traffic, downstream Kelly Creek, and frog habitat.  All three Council members felt that the Planning Commission recommendation should be followed: no building south of Kelly Creek because of the environmental issues (frog, wildlife corridor, instability of land). They also felt as if extending Helen Putnam Park was a great idea but some did not see how it could happen.

A turning point in the meeting occurred when Mike Healy questioned the traffic studies. Councilmember Healy then asked the City Attorney about directing that the DEIR emphasize the 28-home alternative. Teresa Barrett supported the 28-home alternative because of the Planning Commission recommendations (no homes south of Kelly Creek) and the lessening impact of traffic. A discussion with two city attorneys and the Council occurred about whether it was possible to make the 28-home alternative more robust for evaluation.

Dave King questioned going forward to a final DEIR considering all of the issues previously discussed including the traffic and frog habitat. Teresa Barrett followed up with many concerns about the DEIR including not following the General Plan and the claim that almost every environmental issue in the DEIR could be mitigated to less than significant.

Gabe Kearney made a motion to consider the 28-home alternative.  Ultimately, the Council voted unanimously to revise and recirculate the DEIR (address all of their concerns), focus on the 28 environmentally superior alternative, and hold another public comment period.



Link to the City Council Meeting:

City Council Meeting, June 19, 2017

Double-click on the video to make it full screen.

 

The video is rather "clumsy" to work with online. We have listed key time markers and our brief notes to hopefully make this experience better for you instead of listening to all 4+ hours of the City Council meeting. We apologize for any inaccuracies; we will post a link to the City’s official written transcript when it is ready.

City of Petaluma attorney Eric Danly

1:07:23
The Council received a "late memo" [note: the contents of the memo were not disclosed]. The contents of memo prompted the City Attorney to state that the focus of the meeting should be the environmental impact report--not any decision on entitlements.

Andreas Morris (9 years old) 
1:12:41 - 1.13:41

Alicia Guidice, Petaluma Planner
1:14:30 - 1:38:07:  Reviewed the project with slides

Shabnam Barati, Impact Sciences
1:38:08 to 2:49:43
Representing the Impact Sciences firm (branch located in Oakland) that prepared the DEIR. The discussion took over an hour.  "Highlights" of the presentation:

2:07:08 - Interesting discussion with Teresa Barrett, Gabe Kearney, and the consulting biologist about why the 2003 biology study (and follow up done in 2005) was acceptable to use in the DEIR.  [Summary: If the frog is present, it is not necessary to conduct follow up studies. The CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) stated in 2013 that the studies should be done again]. 

2:18:19 - Stated that the CA Supreme Court Banning decision applies to this project.

2:23:38 - Stated that they did have the 2013 CDFW letter when preparing the project. [note: This letter is not mentioned in the DEIR, 4-3 Biological Resources section or in the References.]

2:26:43 - No basis to say that the red barn is historical.

2:31:24 - Mike Healy questions the traffic data. Discusses the cumulative impact of the traffic. Questions why the Level of Service (LOS) evaluation is used instead of the 
Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) metric.  VMT is used in Novato and San Francisco.  VMT produces a measure of a project’s effect on overall travel, rather than just focusing on delay caused to cars at certain intersections.

2:33:20 - Discussion about when the traffic studies were done.  September 3 and 4, 2014--dates of traffic study. [Note: Labor Day was September 1; Caltrans states that traffic studies should not be done "
on weeks containing a holiday." p. 4, B1]

2:40:50 - Surprise!  Puts up the KCPP 
map and the KCPP table (p. 4) showing the violations by the General Plan.  DEIR firm (or maybe the City Planner) Added a column called:  City Response. [Note: Could not read it.] Said that lots would be "altered or modified" instead of eliminated. Wanted to bring it up because they are going to put in mitigations and modify the lots that are in violation of the General Plan.

2:47:35 - Dave King asks to see a map of the habitat of the red legged frog.  Puts up the map of the red legged frog habitat, which is most of the property south of Windsor Dr.

Davidon Homes

2:52:47 - Steve Abbs describes the project.

2:55:02 - Indicates that a discussion in 2009 with the US Dept of Fish & Wildlife prompted Davidon to reduce the homes from 93 to 66. [Note: This was new information for us. We had assumed that something like this had happened, and the assumption was confirmed.] Discusses about putting a roundabout at Windsor & D because of the worsening traffic.

2:57:26 - Julie Jones, Davidon's attorney. Discussed southern parking lot being inconsistent with General Plan. Says that the General Plan does not mention the D Street tributary to the Petaluma River. Discussed lot lines from the creek.  Lot lines do not matter--it is where the houses and fences go.

Public Comment

3:02:05 - Gordon McCallum
3:03:02 - Sherri Fabre-Marcia
3:13:03 - Letter written by Saramay Borders, who knew Arnold Scott
3:13:33 - Julie Cort - Video from Petalumans for Responsible Planning
3:23:08 - Susan Jaderstrom presented petition with over 1100 signers
3:25:50 - Joe Grubaugh
3:31:11 - Tamara Galanter (attorney for KCPP) [Note: Watch the DEIR consultant's body language.]
3:40:19 - Marlene Dehlinger (attorney for KCPP) - Discussed the lot elimination 
table and map.
3:47:05 - Sigrun Seifert.  Read the report prepared by the KCPP biologist
3:57:03 - Greg Colvin, Director of KCPP. Describes the 
County Park 23-to-Zero plan.
4:06:52 - Maggie Jensen, KCPP landscape architect
4:17:40  - Peter Cohn, KCPP
4:23:11 -  Pete Bordiga
4:28:23 - Lydia Schindler
4:34:24 - Barry Bussewitz
4:36:45 - Forrest Gander
4:40:09 - Kathy Meagher read a letter by Jack Meagher
4:44:14 - Colin Davidson
4:46:03 - Mike Reilly
4:47:40 - Marion Matthews

Council Discussion

Chris Albertson
4:58:13  
Wants staff to respond how inadequate the EIR is.
Red barn - only recognizes one red barn (not red garage, red shed)
Discussed how the one red barn has to be fortified
D Street traffic is an issue
Thinks the traffic circle is good idea
Traffic continues down D Street to Lakeville--with or without this project, the traffic will not go away
Downstream water flow and poison creek - like the staff to look at this
Planning Commission - no development south of Kelly Creek 
100 ft. north of Kelly Creek - no development
red legged frog habitat - big swath of land
wildlife corridor addresses a big part of no development south of Kelly Creek
Agrees land should be part of Helen Putnam Park
No city funds. Sonoma County can't do it. Open Space hasn't indicated a desire.
Commendable if Greg Colvin can negotiate with Davidon.
Doesn't know if current owner wants to sell.
If sell, money outcome continues.  Who pays for parking lot, bathrooms, new trail?
Ongoing annual maintenance?
Recommendations of Planning Commission should be followed

Kathy Miller
5:07:57
Concerns:  drainage, downstream flooding, traffic, tree removal, red frog habitat.
Support Planning Commission recommendations
Agree that the land should be part of HPP.  Petaluma has no money to buy. No money to maintain parks already have.
Park is not based upon reality.
Read everything - my feeling would support moving forward based on the concerns and public comments.

Gabe Kearney
5:10:19
Agree that seeing this as a park would be fantastic.
Three other projects that neighborhoods want as parks.  This would be another one on the list.
Agreement with Planning Commission no building south of Kelly Creek.
Serious concerns about the biological studies.
Don't feel enough evidence has presented that adequate study has been done.
Think effort needs to be done to get feedback from the agencies.
Banning case - is your view in compliance with Banning? [City Attorney:  fundamentally that there were environmentally sensitive issue that the City of Newport Beach punted to coastal permit process.  Court said it is inconsistent with facts in the record.  Goes against coordinating with other bodies. Nothing comparable in this record. Distinguishable case. Not exemplary conduct by lead agency.]
Asked about outreach made to federal and state agencies.
Concern that only looked at the trail and not the rest of the property.
Concerns about downstream impact, similar to Capri Creek issues.

Mike Healy
5:23:41
Serious concerns about traffic analysis.  Overwhelming impact on D Street corridor
Looked at DEIR for Victoria (Sonoma Highlands) in 1986.
Compared some of the same intersections.

D & 6th 1986 = PM peak northbound 284 vehicles per hour
In 2014 = PM peak northbound 601 vehicles per hour
Two times more

D & Windsor =   PM peak northbound 178 vehicles per hour
2014 = PM peak northbound 817 vehicles per hour
Four times more

DEIR does not capture this traffic increase

Council would be within the rights not to direct a final DEIR.  Agree with Planning Comm = no development south of Kelly Creek.  Think we should go further. 
Since many council members want no development south of Kelly Creek, can we go a step beyond that and look at the 28 environmentally superior plan?

At this point, the city attorney Eric Danley and Dan DePorto (DEIR specialist attorney hired by the city) start discussing this issue.
This is complicated.
What is triggering the CEQA analysis is 66 and 63 homes.
Depends upon what the applicant wants to do.
Could direct staff to bolster analysis of 28 home alternative.

Teresa Barrett
5:29:36
A council member (Mike Healy) is asking about the DEIR because based on his analysis is showing the 28 alternative is the most viable.  If we are sending it back, sounds like no one wants development south of Kelly Creek.  

Dan DePorto:  CEQA process triggered by application triggered by 63-66 units.  Does not include 28 unit option or 23 unit option.  As part of the application, you do have to  evaluate alternatives. You have great discretion to select alternatives and evaluate them appropriately. If you did that, you might end up evaluating an alternative that there is no application for.  

Dan Deporto:  Council feels that it might approve 28 units, if there is a belief that the applicant might agree.  Normally an alternative analysis does not need to be as robust as the main project.  Might revisit that analysis to make it more robust.

Mike Healy
Some of the issues--red legged frog--issue becomes less problematic.  Traffic--much less of an impact.  

Dan Deporto:  Agree that 28 home plan has less impact.  Suggesting that the Council would go that direction, it would be worth taking a closer look at the alternative.

Eric Danly:  Could decide whether recirculation now is necessary.  You could still give direction making sure the 28-unit analysis is able to serve as a project analysis theoretically without directing recirculation.

Dave King
5:35:19
All of the Planning Comm comments need be responded to.
Read a comment into the record from a Planning Commissioner:  Not comfortable with draft EIR; not comfortable moving it to the City Council; don't have a report that is helping me.
Concerned when hearing this from a Planning Commissioner
Need to address to the satisfaction on the Planning Commission. 
Leaning toward circulating another draft.
Agree with Planning Commission: no housing south of Kelly Creek.
Red frog--need to do a better job.  Need direction from state agencies.
Difficult to believe that we can't get some analysis from experts.
Disinclined to approve anything without further analysis
Frog habitat covers all of the housing south of Kelly Creek - also covers sections of other cul-de-sacs
Concerns about mitigation by moving (the frog)
Updated traffic study.
Traffic study on 28 home approach.
Traffic on more than one day - a couple of days helpful
Trees - taking down over 100 (some of which are CA oaks) - replacements as mature as current trees in 15-25 years  - don't think the trees grow that quickly
Was not clear about taking down or moving or planting trees.
Did read letter from Shute Milay - many of the comments need to be addressed: but more helpful if condensed.

Teresa Barrett
5:42:54
Agree with Dave King and Mike Healy that we should do it again looking at 28 home project. Will have a totally different impact.
Will be less work than if has to be done over
Gave reasons it to be recirculated--after 9 years on the Planning Commission, always disappointed in the FEIR. Would see comments like "Noted.  Already dealt with."  Not really dealing with the problems brought up by Planning Comm.
Needs to be recirculated--mitigations too general and not specific enough.
Biological relies on BIO 1B = no scientific study backing it up.
Aesthetics - significant and unavoidable but cumulative is less than significant.
Every issue is significant and unavoidable = yet the cumulative less than significant
Problem that DEIR based upon amending our General Plan
That piece of property be specially called out in the General Plan
Preserve the red barns (plural) in General Plan
Why should we amend the General Plan?
Hillside protection ordinance - not build on more than 30% slope
Have a hillside ordinance - doesn't follow the ordinance in General Plan
To ignore the red barns is wrong
Too many mitigations overstated 
Loss of visual aesthetics and trees is underestimated.
Hydrology = concerns about people downstream
Totally agree with traffic issue = environmental, social and economic problems
Would like to see this recirculated with 28 alternative as guideline

But I only hear three votes, are there four?

Gabe Kearney
Willing to give the motion that 28 lot proposal be the direction that we would like to go.

Teresa Barrett
Like to second.
Continued with: How can we say that we need a park when we can't afford a park?
Need to partner with people in community and enlist Supervisor Rabbitt and Open Space
Would not be a Petaluma park--could be park of the regional park.
There are ways to do it of there is a will to do it.

Eric Danley
Concerns are in the record. Have all of your expressed preference for 28 unit?

Teresa Barrett
Do we have support for 28?
Count 6

Eric Danly
Unless applicant changes the project - the Council is free to express project size and elimination of lots south of Kelly Creek.

Teresa Barrett
Applicant should be listening to what the Council is saying.

Eric Danly
The big question is the determination of the Council that the draft DEIR is not adequate or is adequate for CEQA staff to proceed to FDEIR.

Gabe Kearny
Not adequate to the Council. With emphasis on alternate 28.


Vote = unanimous = recirculate with emphasis on 28