San Ramon council to debate unattended fueling stations

Zoning administrator duties, Aging Council appointment, construction project updates also on tap

The San Ramon City Council is set to consider a proposal Tuesday to allow unattended alternative-fuel service stations in the city, contingent upon land-use permit approval.

"Such approvals are to be based on the specific circumstances, provided it can be demonstrated that there are adequate safety controls and the risk to the public and environment is minimized to the extent possible," Lauren Barr, city senior planner, wrote in her staff report to the council.

San Ramon banned the operation of unstaffed fueling stations in 2010, primarily because of concerns with traditional retail gasoline stations, but the broad rules also apply to stations for alternative vehicle fuels, such as natural gas, electricity and hydrogen, according to Barr.

The Linde Group, a New Jersey-based energy company, has asked the city to rescind the prohibition in the hopes of getting permission to operate an unattended hydrogen fueling station on a portion of Toyota's site at Bishop Ranch.

The San Ramon Planning Commission last month gave its support to amending the city's zoning ordinance to allow unattended service stations for alternative fuels -- but not traditional gasoline stations -- contingent upon approval of a land-use permit and based upon the project's specific conditions and merits, according to Barr.

Any station given land-use permit approval must consider factors such as location, hours of operation, noise control, storage and containment of hazardous materials, security, maintenance and litter control, under the proposed amendment.

The amendment also specifies that accessory electric vehicle charging stations, as well as private and restricted-access fueling stations, are exceptions to the prohibition.

City staff recommends the council introduce the proposed ordinance, conduct a public hearing, receive citizen testimony and then schedule final ordinance adoption for Oct. 27.

Tuesday's council meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. at San Ramon City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon.

In other business

* The council will weigh a proposed ordinance to allow the city manager to appoint a designee to carry out the city's zoning administrator duties. Under current city regulations, the duties must be assigned to an employee of the city's Planning/Community Development Department.

* The councilmen will consider appointing Jennifer Shuen as the city's representative to the Contra Costa County Advisory Council for Aging.

* They will also be introduced to new Public Services Division employees: Luis Valencia, John Hernandez, Mario Martinez, Amber Brooks and Matt Ramirez.

* The councilmen will recognize the CityRead 2015 "Two Cities, One Tale" program, which runs through Nov. 9, and they will present a proclamation designating Oct. 23-31 as Red Ribbon Week in support of alcohol- and drug-abuse awareness.

* City Manager Greg Rogers will provide updates on ongoing projects: the new City Hall, San Ramon City Center and San Ramon Library renovations.

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