WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2006
ROBERT LIVERMORE COMMUNITY CENTER
4444 EAST AVENUE, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA
CRESTA BLANCA BALLROOM
DIRECTORS PRESENT: Director Faltings, Director Furst, Director Turner and President Kamena
DIRECTORS ABSENT: Director Goodman (1)
STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT: Tim Barry, Jim Brandenburg, Michael Kyle, Gretchen Sommers, Brian Tibbetts
CITY STAFF PRESENT: Fred Osborn, Assistant Planning Manager, Susan Frost, Principal Planner
Meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m. by President Kamena. Roll was taken and all Directors were present except Director Goodman.
2.1 Robbie Teruya of the City of Livermore Commission for the Arts gave a presentation regarding the development of a Cultural Arts Master Plan. She explained that the Commission has been in existence for two years. The Commission is currently in the community outreach phase, Ms. Teruya explained, and it is conducting public meetings to gather input on what Livermore citizens see as important. Ms. Teruya suggested that the Commission and LARPD share the information gathered in building their respective master plans. The Commission hopes to have a plan in place by the end of this year.
2.2 General Manager Barry stated that LARPD has engaged the City of Livermore to assist the District in developing a Master Plan. He introduced Alice Chan and Brian Godbe of Godbe Research, and Susan Frost of the City of Livermore. LARPD contracted with Godbe Research to conduct a telephone survey of Livermore citizens; the survey was designed to get a sense of what Livermore residents think is important in Livermore. Ms. Chan gave a slide presentation and explained the survey findings.
Ms. Chan covered the following items: Overview and Research Objectives; Methodology Overview; Key Findings (favorite leisure activities; top importance; importance of sports and recreational activities; importance of recreational facilities or sites; importance of recreational programs and classes; top usage/attendance; sporting and recreational activity participation; local parks and recreational facility usage; recreational program and class participation; top satisfaction; satisfaction with sports and recreational activities; satisfaction with local parks and recreational facilities; satisfaction with recreational programs and classes; reasons for not using parks and recreational facilities; other important sports and recreational programs and facilities; satisfaction with customer service; facility rentals; specific rental facilities; reasons for not using local recreational facilities; visiting Sycamore Grove Park; reasons for not visiting Sycamore Grove Park; sports park development; funding for sports park and information sources); Conclusions; and Additional Demographic Information.
Ms. Chan’s explanation concluded that outside facilities, open space parks, trails, walking, swimming, exercise and health, children’s pay areas and the community center are of highest importance to those surveyed.
President Kamena opened public comment.
1) Beth Wilson, 1503 Bluebell Drive, Livermore, stated she was pleased that the results seem to validate her own feelings about the importance of open space in Livermore. She stated she feels a lot of the outdoor enthusiasts are a silent majority, as opposed to some of the more vocal niche groups who muster forces to come to the board meetings. She thanked the Directors for having this survey done.
2) Robbie Teruya noted that the Arts Commission seems to get the most interest and participation from older people, as was suggested with LARPD. She suggests taking the meetings to where the other, younger groups are, where they hang out.
3. PUBLIC FORUM
President Kamena asked for public comment on any item not on the agenda. No public comment was received.
4. CONSENT AGENDA:
4.1 BOARD MINUTES
4.1.1 Meeting of June 28, 2006.
4.3 General Manager’s Monthly Report (#58/12).
On a motion by Director Turner, seconded by Director Faltings, approved the Consent Agenda, passing 4-0.
5. CONSENT AGENDA: RESOLUTION:
5.1 Resolution No. 2026, a resolution accepting the May Nissen Park 2004 landscape improvements by Gordon N. Ball, Inc. as complete.
On a motion by Director Furst, seconded by Director Faltings, approved the Consent Agenda Resolution, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Director Faltings, Director Furst, Director Turner and President Kamena (4)
NOES: None (0)
ABSENT: Director Goodman (1)
6. BIDS AND PUBLIC HEARINGS: None.
7. OLD BUSINESS: None.
7.1 ROBERTSON PARK PLAYGROUND
President Kamena gave background information on the Robertson Park playground project, explaining that the O’Brien Group is a developer that is constructing a housing development next to Robertson Park. Part of the project involves the O’Brien Group constructing a playground. The initial plans for the playground were for it to be located just north of the housing development, near Arroyo Road, in Robertson Park. At the June 28 meeting of the LARPD Board of Directors, staff was directed to investigate the possibility of relocating the playground closer to the soccer fields in Robertson Park, due to concerns expressed by the public about safety, as well as the opinion that a playground in the originally proposed location would diminish the sylvan atmosphere of the park.
President Kamena asked Fred Osborn, City of Livermore Assistant Planning Manager, what the process would involve if LARPD wished to request a change in location for the playground. Mr. Osborn responded that the process would be for LARPD to request an amendment to the conditions for approval of the development process. He noted this could potentially take up to four months.
President Kamena explained to the meeting attendees that the City of Livermore cannot tell LARPD to put a playground in its own park. However, since a developer is building the playground, the City can tell the developer where to locate it. LARPD has input into the notion, if LARPD asks the City to reconsider the location. If LARPD succeeds in having the playground moved, it could affect the responsibility of the maintenance of the playground. In addition, the proximity of the playground to the soon-to-be-built housing development determines, in part, whether it is truly an amenity to those living in the development. Right now, said President Kamena, the developer is responsible for the maintenance of the playground, even though LARPD will own it and it will be on LARPD property. The Landscape Maintenance District, put into place by the developer, will pay for the maintenance right now.
President Kamena stated that the O’Brien group will pay up to $300,000 for construction of a playground, will give the District approximately $1.7 million in Quimby Funds and about $1 million in cash to be used toward development of a sports park. Ms. Faltings asked whether the $1.7 million could be used to put an additional playground in Robertson Park.
General Manager Barry stated that an attractive element to him was the developer offering to put the playground in Robertson Park rather than the development, which would make it available to non-development dwellers.
Director Furst pointed out that the current design of the playground is closer to $500,000, for which LARPD would need to use some of the Quimby Funds. President Kamena stated that Phase I of the playground, which would cost less, is complete as is. Director Furst stated that his understanding is that Phase I did not actually have that many amenities. General Manager Barry clarified what Phase I of the playground included.
Director Turner stated he was concerned that the fact that the playground design includes phases not be taken to imply that LARPD is obligated to install the remaining phases, which will cost the District more money. Mr. Turner noted that there will be 150-156 homes in the development. He said that the playground is really for the benefit of those living in the development, with a side benefit that others may use it. Director Faltings stated that she agrees, and feels the District should not pay anything over the $300,000. General Manager Barry explained that he permitted the landscape architect to make a plan for a larger park, costing more than $300,000. The reasoning, said Mr. Barry, was that the estimate provided by Beals Alliance, the architect, was based on a public contract; however, it is possible that the O’Brien Group could build it for less than that because it is a developer. In summary, what something costs a public entity could cost a private sector developer much less.
President Kamena opened public comment.
1) Dorothy Chappell, 2375 Chateau Way, asked if the Directors are still considering placing the playground next to the bridge by the creek. She asked if LARPD is able to build a playground in a flood zone. Mr. Osborn responded that, yes, LARPD can build a playground in a flood zone.
2) Valerie Thomey stated that she visited the area near the soccer fields in the park and she feels it is approachable with a stroller, though it might be difficult in the wet weather. She inquired if there was any chance of considering an area in the rodeo parking lot. There is a raised area in the lot, behind trees. She wondered about asking the architect to remove the paved parking lot. It is not paved now, and people do fine, she stated. Ms. Thomey also asked about considering adding more money to the project now, to achieve economies of scale, rather than bringing the developer back for a Phase II. She asked for a fence in the tot lot, no matter where the playground is located.
President Kamena closed public comment.
President Kamena stated his preference is to move the playground closer to the soccer fields. He feels two playgrounds would be redundant. He said he feels it would be unused in its current proposed site near Arroyo Road. Neighbors he spoke to were universally concerned about having the park near a creek. They felt it is unsafe. President Kamena stated he feels it’s not much further to the soccer fields, is much safer, and won’t disturb the rural nature of the current proposed site. He said he feels it makes sense to put the playground near LARPD’s other facilities. He would be amenable to paving the area from the bridge to the soccer field area. He stated he feels it would be good to tie together the three current trails that currently abruptly end at the park. People might be more interested in having the playground moved if we pave the trail, he said.
Director Turner asked who would pay to pave the trail and how much it would cost. General Manager Barry stated that LARPD would probably have to receive the money from the development. Park Supervisor Jim Brandenburg stated he did not know the cost at this time. He said it would depend on where the trail runs, where the connections come in, etc. He estimated it could cost close to $200,000, perhaps a little more. Director Turner stated that the O’Brien group benefits from the playground being installed in Robertson Park, in that by not putting it in its housing development allows the developer to put in more housing and thus make more money. Director Turner feels moving the playground would be safer and would be of benefit to soccer families who bring small children to the games. He stated he feels we have many legitimate reasons for requesting this change, and apologizes for delays this may cause. Mr. Osborn stated that, as the developer is not required to complete the playground until completion of the 75th house, moving the playground may not cause a delay at all.
General Manager Barry said that LARPD might have to accept responsibility for maintenance of the playground if it is moved.
Director Faltings stated that she has never liked the original site, and does not feel it would be a detriment to those living in the development to move the playground. She noted that the new site is just a little bit further away, and it makes more sense to put it in a more open, highly visible, more highly used area of the park. Ms. Faltings said she would like swings moved from Phase II to Phase I. General Manager Barry noted that LARPD is looking at an area by the field house, also. He stated that the playground area is quite large and there might not be enough room for extra swings, etc. LARPD would have to make amendments to the plan to fit it in the proposed new area. LARPD’s request would be for the developer to put the playground in a range of new areas, said Mr. Barry.
On a motion by President Kamena, seconded by Director Faltings, approved directing staff to request from the City of Livermore an amendment to the development agreement to allow the developer to build a playground at a location of LARPD’s choosing within the boundaries of Robertson Park., passing 4-0.
Mr. Osborn said he anticipates the O’Brien Group will be willing to agree to a change, that it was more concerned with the delay.
8. NEW BUSINESS: None.
9. MATTERS INITIATED/ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DIRECTORS:
1) Director Turner stated that the sound system in the Cresta Blanca is terrible, that people were having trouble hearing. He said he cannot ear some of the speakers and at the podium.
2) Director Turner stated that staff should provide items as backup to the topics, such as schematics of the playground this evening. This would be for the benefit of the directors and the audience.
3) Director Turner mentioned the fire that occurred in Holdener Park on July 2. The Malakoff family could not get onto its property to rescue its animals and Ranger Nicholson went and rescued the animals. Director Turner wished to publicly acknowledge Mr. Nicholson’s efforts.
4) Director Faltings stated she had difficulty hearing staff and speakers at the podium.
1) General Manger Barry announced the public workshop on Trails, Regional Parks and Opens Space on July 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center. He announced that there will also be workshops on September 20 with a topic of Parks, Special Use and Historic Resource Facilities, and on Oct. 10 with a topic of Recreation Programs. These workshops are part of the development of a new LARPD Master Plan. He invited the public to attend.
The meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.
President, Board of Directors
General Manager and ex-officio
Clerk to the Board of Director