The City Council on April 16 will include the following:
April 16, 2019
A busy week on a number of key projects:
Specific Plan Overview:
From last week’s update, I have received a number of questions about “what is a specific plan”, how does it play a role in relation to the City’s General Plan, annexation and eventual development. Here is an overview.
The purpose of a Specific Plan is to provide a vehicle for implementing the City’s General Plan on an area-specific basis. A Specific Plan is both a policy and regulatory document. It must be consistent with the City’s General Plan.
The most important aspects of a specific planning process includes:
The following framework is a draft guide the City Staff has developed with the goal of creating effective, efficient, and statutorily complete documents that share a common outline countywide. The content of a Specific Plan must meet the requirements of California Government Code Section 65451.
Here are some of the key components of a specific plan document:
Thanks and have a nice weekend.
A very busy and active week.
We had a very busy City Council Meeting with public input regarding concerns on development, planning and annexation which are related to a possible request for a Specific Planning Process for the most northerly properties in the City. Lots of issues and questions came up, so I thought it might be beneficial to clarify some things and answer some of the questions directly.
The representatives from Bellvue North who owns the majority of the property in the north part of the City’s planning area have not submitted any plans or official requests to the City as of today. Staff has been in discussions with them regarding the potential for a long range Specific Plan for their property. Discussions have predominantly focused on the area where the planning would occur, the process and scope of the work which would be undertaken, reimbursement of costs incurred by the City to be paid by the applicant and the need for extensive public engagement, environmental review and planning.
Staff has specifically told Bellvue North that any specific plan must include a planning process which includes all land both inside the City Limits and within the current planning area which are outside the limits which would need to be annexed. We put it on Bellvue North to work with the remaining property owners (there are three others) to participate in the planning effort, which they have said they have done. The reason for including the remaining properties if so the final plan will have complete continuity for the entire area.
A simple geographic reference and roughly speaking it is for the properties located just north of Niemann Street and Moody Slough (not including those properties on Niemann). Bellvue North owns 183 acres which are currently within the City limits, 210 acres which are within the City’s planning area but not in the City limits (the acreage which would need to be annexed) for a total of 393 acres. There are approximately 130 acres owned by other property owners which are in the planning area but not in the limits which are owned by others (and would need to be annexed at a later time). In conversations with Bellvue North, they have discussed the idea of possibly expanding the City’s planning area by approximately 270 acres on additional land they own north of the City’s General Plan area. They have also suggested they are interested in establishing a 480 acre agricultural mitigation area just north of the City.
The numbers included here are directly from the Bellvue North. In meetings, they have shown maps and photo’s but not submitted or given anything for the City to keep. I would venture to guess that over the years, we have seen no fewer than 6 versions, all different with very little specificity on ultimate land uses.
Yes. Over the years, we have met with representatives of Bellvue North, their owner Greg Hostetler, their engineers and environmental consultants on numerous occasions regarding multiple topics including flood control and drainage, Moody Slough, the prospect of creating public access for bike and walking trails, water, wastewater re-use, environmental projects, economic development opportunities and planning. In total (both in and out of the City) they own literally thousands of acres and are a major land concern so without question, Staff talks with them.
As Staff discussions with Bellvue North moved toward the potential for a request coming to the City, their representative, Jeff Roberts requested to meet with the City Council Members in February for an opportunity to introduce himself, talk about the prospects of a specific planning process and the overall process for public engagement, plan development and environmental review. The Council Members met individually(so as to avoid a violation of the Brown Act) with Mr. Roberts, he brought in some large photo’s of the properties and talked about the concept of the specific plan, possible expansion of the planning area and agricultural mitigation area. Staff (me) sat in on each meeting to assure continuity of information delivered to the Council and to answer any questions or provide clarification on issues which might arise, especially on process. One City Council Member met with Mr. Roberts on a second occasion and Staff participated in that meeting also.
In the past, Mr Roberts has inquired about the prospect of submitting a subdivision map for the 183 acres already in the City limits for development (which they can do at any time). Staff has suggested that a more comprehensive planning effort, such as a specific plan would be more beneficial to the City. The logic behind this position is that a broader planning area gives greater opportunities for a cohesive long term outcomes which would benefit the City.
As part of the Economic Development Advisory Committee Meetings (EDAC in 2018), Jeff Roberts representing the property owner came in as a guest speaker to answer questions regarding potential economic development opportunities on their property. The EDAC has included extensive recommendations on land use and flood control in their report. Because many recommendations were specific to Bellvue North land, Staff provided drafts of the report to Mr. Roberts so their group would not be surprised or unaware of the discussions. As Mr. Roberts was considering submitting a planning request, Staff repeatedly suggested that they wait to allow public discussions to occur (through the Strategic Planning Workshops) so they could hear public input outside of their request before submitting and starting another process.
As an aside, Staff meets constantly with property owners, businesses and prospective property owners about land use. At the City of Winters, we work to maintain optimum transparency and customer service for people who own property, businesses or are looking to invest in the City. Its simply what we do both big and small! The biggest complaint about government is people’s inability to “get answers” so we work to keep an open door and be accessible.
The City Staff is unaware of any RFP by Bellvue North for planning services. We have told them and they have acknowledged that they want to bring a quality planning organization as part of any application to work with the City on such a project, so it would not be out of the ordinary for them to look to hire someone. This is no different than a property owner who hires an architect to help them design a home. In this case, Bellvue North will have a large group of planners, engineers, environmental consultants, etc within their team and doing an RFP is how you get proposals.
Before considering or working on any submittal by Bellvue North (or any applicant), the City has provided our standard form “reimbursement agreement” which provides for the applicant to cover all City costs in the consideration of their application. In this case, we requested a $20,000 deposit and they have executed and sent the agreement it back. We do this for all projects to insure that the City costs are covered.
As a perspective, the City hires and pays all consultants associated with processing an application by any developer. This includes the project manager, environmental consultants, engineers, traffic engineers, financial consultants, etc as well as City Staff. The City team works independently of the applicant, reporting only to the City and not the applicant. This is done to avoid any conflicts. It is through the reimbursement agreement that the City receives the funds to pay the consultants.
Yes. LAFCO is the agency responsible for all annexations and it is logical to contact them on process and law. Our discussions are also a courtesy to keep them in the loop that something might be on the horizon. We have been talking with them about annexation issues for probably the past 5 years!
General Plans are extremely expensive and the City still owes almost $400,0000 from the 1992 plan. Timing on this depends on whether a planning application is submitted by Bellvue North which would essentially do a comprehensive update on all of our planning documents and in essence, an updated General Plan. The City has received a $100,000 grant towards a “refresh” of our documents to make them more user friendly and in line with State goals for how planning documents look. A refresh would most likely occur in our 2019-20 Fiscal Year.
Tuesday night was an active discussion with lots of issues.
Have a nice weekend!
A couple items this week:
Today, I attended the Sacramento Valley City Manager’s Group at the City of Davis Police Department. To begin the meeting, we heard from Chief Darren Pytel who gave us an overview of dealing with the murder of Police Officer Natalie Corona. To say it was riveting would be an understatement as the Chief gave a summary of the incident along with the ramifications it has had on the Davis Police Department. Simply unfathomable and much respect to the men and women of the Davis Police Department for their professionalism and humanity in dealing with the situation then and now moving forward.
One of my biggest takeaways from the event was the Chief describing how fast social media took the situation. He described the need to provide notification to the family of Officer Corona’s passing and how social media beat him to getting back into the Police Station to get a phone number before the family and friends were alerted to the situation from media and the social media system. Imagine the idea of being alerted of the death of a loved one on Facebook?
Without question, technology has expedited things but at some point, we need to question the veracity of spreading this type of information outside the human interaction and dignity which notification of such an issue deserves. People post information without even questioning or considering the impacts on the sensitivity on those with the greatest impact, such as family members. Just a takeaway.
Finally, Chief Pytel shared a quiet tribute paid to Officer Corona. In the early morning of January 11th following her passing, the body of Natalie Corona was transferred from the UC Davis Medical Center to the Yolo County Morgue. He described a procession which left the Medical Center at 3:30 am with literally hundreds of police officers and family in tow behind the hearse. On virtually every overpass between the Medical Center and Woodland there were fire trucks and ordinary folks with lights and candles paying honor to the fallen officer. The community coming together in those moments was the start of the healing for the family, Davis PD and the greater public from a very tragic and heart wrenching event.
Chief Pytel and his entire team are outstanding representatives of what is really important about leadership in law enforcement, especially when they are forced into critical incidents like the murder of a fellow officer. Humanity, professionalism, the rule of law, compassion and dignity were all in play on the evening of January 10 and Davis PD made the law enforcement community and Officer Natalie Corona proud.
Have a nice weekend.
Finally, I had an opportunity to participate in the Youth Empowerment Seminar which was hosted by Yolo Auditor-Controller-Elections Officer Jesse Salinas. The program is designed to educate high school students on local government and allow them to discuss issues important to them. It was an amazing program!
The first thing you realize is the local government is just not taught in our schools in really any form. It was surprising what some clearly well informed students simply did not know about how their communities operate in relation to local services, including their own education through the school districts.
The most important thing you realize is what a promising future we have with these students. The students were extremely sharp and passionate on a variety of the top issues of today from health care, food, water and housing. I will share that when it comes to housing and development, the students understand the crisis in housing costs and availability probably better than most adults. Sustainability to them falls into where they live in proximity to jobs, entertainment and amenities. It was refreshing to hear them taking a much longer view on the future than I expected.
The “ah ha” moment for me was sitting with two students from Winters High, one of which I have known literally her entire life (she is my neighbor) and the other is the cadet sergeant with our Police Department Cadet Program. The poise and confidence of these young women was impressive. Articulate, sharp and very capable of taking on the assignments being given by the YES coordinator. They took on a couple pretty complex issues and just knocked them out of the park! I was proud to be from Winters as they showed leadership at the table with students from other schools.
One thing I have learned about students from Winters High (both of my kids are Winters High grads) is that small town school avails a very quiet confidence because there are few places for them to hide. The engagement they get compared to students in the larger high schools is evident. We are blessed with some really good teachers throughout the WJUSD and it shows. Our students represented well at the YES conference!
Have a nice weekend.
Click to be redirected to Yolo County Recycling Survey
Pool manager Sam Petersen (pictured) and the pool staff kicked off the start of adult lap swim for the year on March 1. The spring lap swim hours are 6-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9-11 a.m. weekends. Passes are $50/month or $5/day and may be purchased at City Hall or at the pool. The Bobbie Greenwood Community Swim Center is located between the library and the high school gym (708 Railroad Ave.). For more information, email contact Tracy Jensen at 794-6702 or email@example.com, and see facebook.com/WintersPool.
Just a couple announcements:
A quick storm update:
On social media a main question has been “why did the City not know the canal was breached”. In 2018, we had significant rains and not a single issue with the detention pond. In 2019, The most significant rains occurred during evenings which created runoff and frankly, the water just begins to rush, similar to a flash flood. The rains on the week of February 18 gave us an opportunity to track the water in the daylight which led us to the canal breach. Once found, we were able to close the breach and get things back to normal. When water which is supposed to flow into different drainage systems flows in a different direction it can cause issues. The fact that the pond was not drained sufficiently and external water rushing into the system is what caused the overflow. We are confident we have resolved the issues and the fact that we have had 2 100 year events in the past 3 weeks with no additional flooding is testament that things are under control.
Finally, Winters lost a very important member of our community with the passing of Don Frisbee on Wednesday evening at home. The Frisbee Family is a long time business in town and they ran “Frisbee Motors” on Railroad Ave for many years as one of our City’s main car dealerships in the 1940, 50’s and 60’s.. Don was a Winters High School Graduate, went on to Stanford University then into the United States Air Force where he retired at the rank of Lt. Coronel and worked in the Intellegence Section during the Vietnam War. He later become an aerospace executive, working for Northrup Gruman and the development of the B-2 Bomber. He was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Winters and a really great guy. He is survived by his wife Betty and a wonderful family. He will be missed.
Have a nice weekend.
A couple items this week:
The residential waste management program from the City has six main components involving trash, recycling, containerized green waste and organics, street collection of green waste, household hazardous waste and bulky item pick-up. For commercial and industrial accounts, there is a wider spectrum of services which includes mostly containerized waste, recycling, organics and a variety of other services.
Contamination is a significant issue, because it can literally spoil 3-5 tons of material which increases costs, change an entire days schedule for pick-up and nullify key diversion programs meant to help the environmental side of our waste programs. Not all contamination is done on purpose, but some is pretty obvious. Green/Organics containers with trash hidden in the bottom is a good example. A “contaminated load” cannot be delivered to the green waste facility and is thus diverted to the landfill instead. The cost of higher dumping fees, fuel and employee time, along with lost diversion is expensive and adds up.
The contamination of recycling can nullify the efforts of a hundred houses when people put paint, household hazardous waste or food products into the recycling container. The best purposeful example is someone hiding paint or motor oil in the container. The spillage instantly ruins the load which is then put into the landfill. If the driver misses the contamination and delivers the load to the recycling facility and dumps the load only to find the contamination then, the hauler is then cited by the facility, the truck must be reloaded (at a cost) then diverted to the landfill. Some residents come home wondering why their container was missed and these are some of the reasons why.
Overages are another issue. If someone is generating excessive refuse at their property, there are many alternatives to simply overloading the container. The residential program has 3 different size refuse containers. If someone has a lot of refuse, that also means lots of opportunity for recycling and additional recycling containers can be obtained at no additional cost. The same for green waste with the availability of additional containers. For commercial accounts, Waste Management has an audit service for a customer service representative to come to the business and help find solutions to reducing waste.
The reason for discussing the technology is just to highlight how some issues are discovered. A common response to someone receiving an additional charge is “how do you know it was my home or business that contaminated the load”. This is the 21st century and the use of cameras, GPS and computers are in our pockets daily and aid in the investigation.
The idea that assessing “fault” on this was not meant in the slightest in the Q&A. In most cases it means a need for education or assistance from our waste management personnel so the person can avoid a penalty (which is 9 out of 10 people) in the future. Are there some which are done on purpose? Without casting judgment, some are pretty obvious.
Waste management requires a lot of time for the City because the demands of regulations, new programs mandated by the State and our attempts to meet diversion goals are ever increasing. A little education can go a long way is resolving these issues.
Have a nice weekend
This weeks update in the rain and trash edition!
First, the saga of the rain and the detention pond:
The discovery of the canal breach answers a lot of questions for us. Knowing that an external source was pouring thousands of gallons into the pond which are not supposed to go into the pond is a big piece of information. The breach, combined with the non-operation of the facility are at the root of the issues we are dealing with.
Trash, overages and penalties:
Question 1- Why am I now being billed by Waste Management for over filling my trash container.
Waste Management has been notifying residents about overages (trash spilling beyond the capacity of the containers and contamination on the trash system. Warnings and additional fees are now being assessed which is allowed for under their contract agreement.
We have had a number of commercial and residential customers call City Hall regarding getting bills for overages from WM. Essentially folks are mad that they have been doing this for a while and are now getting charged. In regard to this (and overloading the containers), there is a common sense component which needs to be applied. A lot like rolling stop signs and driving 70 mph on CR 31 to DAVIS, you know you are supposed to stop and drive slower, then getting pulled over and being upset for the ticket. Not much we can say about that.
Question 2- I am mad at WM for the additional charge and want to hire another trash company to pick up my trash. Why does the City give them the exclusive business for the entire City?
The exclusive franchise for waste pickup brings an enormous benefit of economy of scale, convenience and a lack of a chaotic enterprise to a community. The waste industry is a little more complicated than it seems and is highly regulated. Imagine having 3-4 different haulers picking up on different days of the week, with different equipment and different methods (imagine having trash containers on the streets every day). Also, imagine not being able to get a pickup, especially in the County areas which are essentially a loser financially for the franchised hauler for those areas. The waste management of refuse in a community is a big deal which requires uniformity and consistency in its operation. Similar to having one water and sewer system.
Question 3- How are they determining that it was me that contaminated the load or I exceeded the capacity of my trash container and am charged for an overage?
Smart technology and computers on each trash truck is now allowing the drivers to explain and document issues on their routes. There are now multiple cameras on the trucks allowing the driver to identify contamination, overages and other issues. Contamination is a huge issue because one stop can determine the difference between a load going to the recycling facility versus the landfill which has significantly higher costs and lost opportunity for diversion. Recycling and green waste/organic programs save resources, capacity in our landfills and ultimately reduce costs to the consumer (the economic component is a huge consideration).
Have a nice weekend!