WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2006
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
3575 PACIFIC AVENUE, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA
DIRECTORS PRESENT: David Furst, Steve Goodman, Scott Kamena, and Dale Turner (4)
DIRECTORS ABSENT: Director Faltings (1)
STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT: Tim Barry, Jim Carlson, Patti Cole, Michael Kyle, Barbara Kraybill, Mike Nicholson, Gretchen Sommers, Brian Tibbetts
Meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m. by Chair Kamena. Roll was taken and all Directors were present except Director Faltings.
2. SPECIAL PRESENATION
General Manager Barry presented to the Board two awards recently won by the Robert Livermore Community Center: the Achievement Award in the category of “Facility Design/Community Centers,” bestowed by the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) and the “Award of Excellence for Outstanding Parks & Recreation Facility,” given by CPRS District III.
3. PUBLIC FORUM
Chair Kamena asked for public comment on any item not on the agenda.
1) John Jaureguito, Vice President, Livermore American Little League, spoke about the league’s difficulties understanding LARPD’s sports field closure policy, as it applies during wet weather. He stated he feels the damage done by youth baseball is minimal. He suggested that American Little League be permitted to take over control of the fields during the baseball season. The league would cover the costs of any damages, if permitted to do so. In return, the league would handle closures of the field, etc., during the season.
2) Bob Baltzer, El Caminito, Livermore, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes.
3) Jeff Holler, 1606 Carson Pass Way, representing Livermore Pony Baseball, spoke of his concerns regarding communicating with LARPD regarding use of sports fields. He stated he feels the Livermore leagues may need to play elsewhere if LARPD fields continue to be closed frequently. Mr. Holler requested that LARPD staff make more effort in communicating about the field conditions to the user groups. He also requested the LARPD demonstrate more consistency and leniency in its sports field closure policy.
Chair Kamena asked if LARPD has made a recent change in field policy. General Manager Barry stated that staff has made an effort to be more consistent in its communication regarding field closures.
4) Clay McMeyer, 404 Malibu Ct., Livermore, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes.
5) Doug Mann, South N Street, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes, though he applauds LARPD’s efforts to increase sports parks in the community.
6) John Stein, 1334 Kathy Ct., Livermore, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes. Mr. Stein suggested that perhaps a bond measure is the way for the community to achieve a sports park. He urged the Directors to walk the proposed site to gauge its suitability for a sports park.
7) Beau Grant, 493 Martingale Ct., Livermore, owner of Valley Roller Hockey, spoke in favor of constructing a covered sports facility, and would like to know what steps he should take to promote this.
Chair Kamena stated that Mr. Grant should request that this item be placed on the next Sports Park Committee agenda.
8) Michal Lea, 1219 Regent Place, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes. She stated she does feel a sports park would be a great asset to Livermore, but not by working with a developer.
9) Valerie Raymond, 2368 Buena Vista, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes. She stated that she shares the desire for a sports park in Livermore.
10) Bob Weber, 2446 Broadmoor, Livermore, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes. Mr. Webber urged the Board to adopt a philosophy toward developing a sports park that is not tied to developers and which would not breach the urban growth boundary.
11) Jean King, 4205 Colgate Way, Livermore, spoke against the sports park proposed by Ponderosa Homes.
4. CONSENT AGENDA
4.1 BOARD MINUTES
4.1.1 Meeting of March 29, 2006.
4.2.1 Letter from Ann Willoughby of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory thanking staff for support of the Tri-Valley Science & Engineering Fair.
4.2.2 Letter from Friends of the Arroyos urging the Directors to approve funding for a new Ranger Office/Resource Center.
4.3 General Manager’s Monthly Report (#58/8).
4.4 Payroll and Claims.
On a motion by Director Furst, seconded by Director Goodman, approved the consent agenda, passing 4-0.
5. CONSENT AGENDA: RESOLUTIONS
6. BIDS AND PUBLIC HEARINGS
7. OLD BUSINESS
7.1 REPORT ON STATUS OF DENTON HOUSE ACQUISITION FOR SYCAMORE GROVE PARK
Chair Kamena explained that the District was offered the donation of a house by Jacquie Williams Courtright. The house was built and formerly owned by the Denton brothers, and is referred to here as the Denton House. Staff would like the District to accept the structure for use as a Ranger Station and program center in Sycamore Grove Park. The donor has offered to pay for asbestos abatement and moving the structure to the park. Renovation and improvements would cost the District approximately half a million dollars.
General Manager Barry summarized the staff report, recommending that the Board approve acceptance of the Denton House, as well as the estimated budget of $575,000 for improvements and renovation. Mr. Barry distributed to the board a spread sheet of capital projects projected for Fiscal Year 2006/2007. Mr. Barry introduced Architect David Arkin, LARPD Ranger/Naturalist Supervisor Mike Nicholson and LARPD Ranger Patti Cole, who have worked on this project.
Mr. Arkin gave a slide presentation, explaining the goals and advantages of green building, in which his firm specializes. He explained some of the logistics of moving the house and bringing it up to code, and improvements that will need to be made, such as installing additional restrooms, adding fire access, and improving lighting. He stated that house is generally well-built. The existing house is 1,260 square feet. The project proposal and cost estimate include 500 square feet of new construction (mostly restroom), and 600 square feet of deck. An additional $30,000 for photovoltaic roof panels is not included in the estimate.
Ranger Cole gave a slide presentation. She summarized the background of the project: the offer of the donation of the house, the architect’s research and report, the location and condition of the current Ranger Station. Ms. Cole explained the disadvantages of the current Ranger Station, such as: inaccessible to the public; Ranger staff is often unaware of emergencies that occur in the park because of the Station’s remote location; and there is only 230 square feet of useable space in the 11 ft x 21 ft. office, which is often occupied by 8-10 people.
Ms. Cole stated that the current specifications and findings regarding the Denton House indicate that the structure as it is now would triple the office space of the Ranger Station. She stated that the two public restrooms in Sycamore Grove are difficult for staff to clean and difficult for park users to flush. Ms Cole offered a cost comparison of the Denton House renovation to various LARPD neighborhood park renovations. Ms. Cole cited annual Sycamore Grove and Veterans Parks visitor and program attendance statistics, and noted that there is large number of park visitors who represent various interests. She stated that, historically, there is a return on investment of green building, which significantly reduces annual operating costs. She noted that the estimated minimum savings on energy is 65%. Other advantages to be gained by renovating the Denton House for use as a Ranger Station include: increased Ranger administrative efficiency; increased annual parking revenue; increased District efficiency; enhanced public opinion; improved opportunities for a park volunteer program; enhanced local image for the District locally, regionally and beyond; invigorated and expanded environmental, historical and cultural education efforts; ability to offer rotating displays; promotion and education regarding green building.
Ms. Cole stated that there exist funding sources/opportunities particularly focused on green build. She spoke about a StopWaste.Org, which may be able to give the District up to $75,000 for the Denton House green build project. Ms. Cole has met with Allison Taguchi, LARPD’s consultant grant writer, who stated that she is optimistic that the District can find funding for a significant portion of this project. Ms. Cole expressed appreciation to Jacquie Williams Courtright, the community, and LARPD Directors and staff. She asked for Board support on this project.
Director Furst asked for clarification on the portion of the staff report regarding “Great Dreams,” and whether this section is included in the project proposal. Ranger Cole clarified that the “Great Dreams” are not included in what is being proposed tonight. The items being proposed tonight are considered minimal necessities. Director Furst inquired about the “Significant Exclusion” mentioned in the staff report. He stated the Directors need to know what the entire cost will be. Architect David Arkin and General Manager Barry responded that the 20% estimate for soft costs includes the items listed in the staff report (permits, network wire connections, etc.), and that the $575,000 total estimate includes a photovoltaic system and 20% inflation for construction. The estimate does not include all new furnishings.
Chair Kamena asked for and received clarification on items on the Fiscal Year Capital Projects list. Chair Kamena asked for and received clarification on the concept of the Denton house being a truly green building opportunity.
Director Turner pointed out that the Robertson Park Equestrian Center ranking changed on the Capital Projects list. General Manager Barry stated that the arena cover is this year’s project, but that it would be slated for completion in the next fiscal year. Mr. Barry pointed out that the list of capital projects is out of balance with revenue by $1,895,313, and that the list is not a final draft. Director Turner inquired about grant funding timing and possibilities and asked if the District could lend money to the project while the project waits for grant funding. Ranger Cole and Grant Writer Allison Taguchi provided details and projections about possible grant funding.
Chair Kamena opened public comment.
1) Lewis Reed, Seasonal Park Ranger for LARPD, spoke in favor of accepting the Denton House donation for use as a Ranger Station in Sycamore Grove Park.
2) Rick Madden, Park Ranger LARPD, spoke in favor of accepting the Denton House donation for use as a Ranger Station in Sycamore Grove Park.
3) Alrie Middlebrook, Los Gatos, participant in a Livermore community garden project, spoke in favor of accepting the Denton House donation for use as a Ranger Station in Sycamore Grove Park.
4) Anne Severs, Bordeaux Place, participant in a Livermore community garden project, spoke in favor of accepting the Denton House donation for use as a Ranger Station in Sycamore Grove Park.
Chair Kamena closed public comment.
On a motion by Director Turner, seconded by Director Goodman, approved the staff recommendation to accept the donation of the Denton House for conversion to a Ranger Station in Sycamore Grove, with a projected budget of $575,000, passing 4-0.
Director Turner stated that the most salient point he feels in this issue is the remote location of the current Ranger office. He stated he feels the current office is woefully inadequate. Director Turner said he thinks this is one of the most significant projects that has come along in many years, and that is something that will benefit the community. He stated he thinks the LARPD Board has become more capable of pinning down project costs in the last few years. He stated that the costs of this project are well-estimated. The facility will be used widely by the community, and it would provide good public relations for LARPD. Director Turner stated that he feels the District should take advantage of this very important opportunity.
Director Furst commended staff on their investment of time and great effort made in presenting this project. He stated that he supports this project, is concerned about the cost. He is concerned that the total cost will be more than the $575,000 estimated, because that is how projects happen. Director Furst said that he is also worried about other capital projects being put off.
Director Goodman stated that he understands Director Furst’s concerns. He stated he feels this is an opportunity the District would be remiss in not pursuing. He said that grant funding would help reduce the costs. Director Goodman said he feels that LARPD having a presence at the entrance to the park is critical, particularly in the event of an emergency. He also stated that a Ranger station would help distinguish LARPD from EBRPD facilities. One of our hallmarks is interpretive study in the park; this project would be good public relations for us. He noted that, perhaps installation of a Ranger Station would generate more gifts to the District because of our enhanced presence. The donation of the Denton House is an opportunity, said Director Goodman. We were unable to plan for it, unfortunately, but we should not pass up the opportunity it offers.
Chair Kamena stated that his biggest concern is the amount of money the project represents. He stated that the District must undertake this project with open eyes, and that we must be mindful that the costs might increase and that the District might not receive the anticipated grant funding. We cannot make decisions based on good shots. Director Kamena stated he does not feel this project is a great example of green building. He said it is good to use capital money to save operations money. Once the District decides to go forward with a project, he stated, it must complete it, even if costs increase. He stated that he hopes staff will take seriously the effort to keep the project within budget. He stated he hopes to keep within budget and fund at least 20% with grant funding. He feels the advantages of the project given by staff in its presentation are benefits to the District. Chair Kamena commended staff on its hard work.
8. NEW BUSINESS
8.1 CONTRACT WITH BEALS ALLIANCE
Chair Kamena gave background on the District’s use of Beals Alliance professional services. The District wishes to enter into an agreement with Beals Alliance for a number of projects. General Manager Barry summarized the five components to the contract: the design and public process for designing a public park at Bothwell Recreation Center; a soccer complex cost feasibility study for Robertson Park; the creation of a playground design at Robertson park, which would be constructed by the Arroyo Crossings developers; a bicycle stunt park at Sunken Gardens Park; and cost estimating services for various projects in the District Capital Improvements Projects plan.
General Manager Barry stated that this contract would create efficiencies because of the capabilities of Beals Alliance and the District’s need to have several projects worked on at one time. He stated that Derek McKee of Beals Alliance, is present to answer any questions.
Chair Kamena opened comment. No public comment was received.
On a motion by Director Furst, seconded by Director Turner, approved Resolution No. 2006, authorizing a consultant contract with Beals Alliance for various park design projects by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Directors, Furst, Goodman, Turner and Chair Kamena (4)
NOES: None (0)
ABSENT: Director Faltings (1)
Chair Kamena stated he hopes the District will achieve efficiencies from this contract. He asked for and received clarification that the funds for the contract will come out of the capital projects budget. Chair Kamena asked Mr. McKee if he felt it was helpful to his firm to work on multiple projects. Mr. McKee stated that, yes, it is very efficient . General Manager Barry stated that the contract is not to exceed $210,000.
Director Furst asked District Legal Counsel Michael Kyle if he saw any problems with the contract. District Counsel Kyle said he saw no problems. Director Furst asked that Beals Alliance correct the spelling and the name of the District in several places throughout the contract.
9. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Chair Kamena asked for details about the March 23, 2006 Equestrian Committee meeting. Director Turner stated that there were approximately 80-100 people in attendance, but few spoke. Director Turner stated he was surprised by the large number of attendees. He stated that the true level of interest in a covered arena at Robertson Park will be determined when the District calls for volunteers to help raise the funds needed to complete the project. Director Goodman commented on the accusatory tone of some of the attendees who spoke; some attendees questioned staff reports, etc. He noted that one issue that came up was whether a large arena cover was needed. Director Goodman stated that those who spoke seemed amenable to keeping costs down. Direct Goodman said that, until we have next meeting, and see who will step up, we won’t know how this is going to progress. Director Turner stated that the District will hold another meeting soon.
The Board received reports on the eight committee meetings attended since the meeting of March 8, 2006, as follows: Facilities, Personnel, Intergovernmental, Equestrian, Scottish Games (2), Sports Park, Livermore Downtown, ESS Parent Advisory Commission and Livermore Cultural Arts Council.
10. MATTERS INITIATED BY THE DIRECTORS
1) Director stated that he attended ethics training this month.
2) Director Goodman commented on the people who attended this evening’s meeting and spoke on LAPRD sports field conditions. He suggests having a meeting with park staff and some of the speakers and have them go to the fields to see how District staff assesses the field conditions and why. He said he feels if staff meets with members of the community, they’ll have a better appreciation of why staff makes the decisions it does about closing fields. He thanked staff for doing the job, which he knows can be difficult.
3) Director Turner inquired about a phone hotline for the sports fields. General Manger Barry stated that the District does have such a hotline. He noted that there is some disagreement on how the District uses it.
4) Director Turner asked what the process is for bringing things before the public vote, in light of the Ponderosa Homes sports park issue that was brought before the Board tonight.
5) Chair Kamena stated that the sports field issue is important. He commended staff for their efforts, and encouraged them to keep working with these people on it. He stated that staff knows what it is doing, and that the Board is there, if needed, for assistance.
6) Chair Kamena requested the room thermostat be set higher at next Board meting.
7) Director Furst also suggested that staff continue to work with the sports field user groups. He stated that perhaps it is worth investigating the prospect of user groups managing the fields.
8) Director Furst stated that he would like to ensure that the District Master Plan survey includes questions about a sports park, with specific questions related to it.
9) Director Goodman stated that the prospect of a bond issue to fund a sports park is worth exploring.
Meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.
Chair, Board of Directors
General Manager and ex-officio
Clerk to the Board of Directors