San Ramon council to weigh more Dougherty Valley annexation

Voluntary council campaign expenditure limit, nuisance ordinance update, DSRSD drought update among other items

The San Ramon City Council is set Tuesday to consider pushing another portion of the Dougherty Valley toward annexation into the city.

The Planning Commission and city staff recommend the council approve of prezoning nearly 44 acres in central Dougherty Valley that is currently within unincorporated Contra Costa County, a site that is expected to hold more than 300 houses once construction winds down.

It would mark the 17th prezoning and annexation in the Dougherty Valley, and city officials anticipate all future annexation for the rest of the Gale Ranch development will be completed by the end of 2017, city assistant planner Ryan Driscoll wrote in a staff report to the council.

"Prezoning facilitates orderly transition of property into the city boundaries by establishing land-use regulations and development standards consistent with the city's General Plan," Driscoll wrote. "Prezoning does not change the allowable uses of the land nor the development standards until such time as the site is officially annexed into the city."

The 43.97 acres is an almost D-shaped area south of Quail Run Elementary School, bounded roughly by Dougherty Road to the west, Ivy Leaf Springs Road to the north and Alamo Creek to the east.

Referred to as Dougherty Valley Annexation Area No. 17 of Gale Ranch Phase 4, Neighborhood 6, the section of land is outside the city limits but within the Dougherty Valley Specific Plan area and the city's sphere of influence.

Under the city proposal, 37.24 acres would be prezoned as planned development and 6.73 acres prezoned as open space. The move is consistent with the specific plan and settlement agreement for the Dougherty Valley, and the Planning Commission endorsed it last month, Driscoll said.

The site received previous county approval for the construction of 308 homes -- all detached single-family houses. The area also includes an existing 8,068-square-foot building at 100 Gatekeeper Road used by The Goddard School child care facility.

In all, 16 areas of the Dougherty Valley have been annexed into the city since 1998. The Dougherty Valley Specific Plan covers a total of 5,979 acres of land, of which 2,708 is part of the ongoing Gale Ranch development.

If given initial support Tuesday night, the prezoning proposal would return to the council for final approval June 28. City staff would then file an application with the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission to initiate annexation proceedings for the area pursuant to the Dougherty Valley Settlement Agreement.

The regular council meeting is set to get underway at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.

In other business

* The City Council will consider setting a voluntary campaign expenditure limit and the maximum word count for candidate statements related to the Nov. 8 city elections, in which two council seats and the mayor's post will be up for grabs.

San Ramon officials have established a recommended voluntary expenditure limit in the past to prevent the appearance of improper influence by campaign contributors, preserve and foster an orderly political forum, place realistic limits on the prices spent during council races and decrease campaign costs, city clerk Renee Beck wrote in her staff report.

The council's Policy Committee suggests a voluntary limit of $41,685 per candidate, which works out to $1.25 per registered city voter. The council will consider supporting that total as part of Tuesday's consent agenda -- a collection of items deemed routine and voted upon all at once.

Later as part of regular agenda items, the council will discuss setting a maximum word count of 300 words for candidate statements in the November ballot.

The Policy Committee recommends 300 words -- the city's traditional limit -- although this election it will cost twice as much per candidate than 50 words less, Beck said.

If the limit were 250 words, county election officials could fit four statements to a page, which would set the price at $383 per statement. At 300 words, election officials would need additional space, so the price would double to $766 per statement, according to Beck.

* Council members will consider giving initial support to proposed restructuring and updating to the city's public nuisance ordinance.

"The changes are not substantive in that any activity constituting a nuisance under the revised ordinance could also have been prosecuted as a nuisance under the existing ordinance," interim city attorney Bob Saxe wrote in his staff report.

"This ordinance will be followed by a second ordinance revising the city administrative fine process to allow more effective enforcement of Municipal Code violations," he added.

If endorsed by the council Tuesday, the changes would return for final approval in two weeks.

* The council will consider authorizing a memorandum of understanding and a maximum of $20,000 for the city to participate in the Contra Costa County Technical Study, which would analyze Community Choice Energy Program options.

The program is a form of community choice aggregation, which "is the practice of aggregating consumer electricity demand within a jurisdiction or region for the purpose of procuring electricity and selling it to customers," according to assistant city manager Eric Figueroa.

* The council will receive a drought and water supply update from the Dublin San Ramon Services District, which provides water service to the Dougherty Valley. The council will also host a presentation for the Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley's heritage scholarship winners.

* The council members will talk about holding future town hall meetings, and they will consider canceling their Aug. 23 regular meeting.

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Like this comment
Posted by Annienonymous
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm

We all see a lot of new homes being built everywhere, which speaks volume about our economy but we are driving average income people away from our cities by not offering the preferred Below Market Rate homes for families and seniors who are an integral part of our neighborhood. Why aren't these new builders offering a certain percentage of BMR homes in every community - why is the builder picking and choosing where they want to offer it and where they don't? I'm reading that if the builders pay the city enough money, they don't have to comply to the BMR rule. Is that really what's happening here? We need to support an all inclusive community. If we don't want to pay teachers high wages but still want high quality teachers for our children, then we need to make sure that good teachers can afford a home close to the school that they teach at.

3 people like this
Posted by Don
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Do you realize that Dougherty Valley is a Contra Costa County project? They decided how much BMR would be in DV.

Like this comment
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 9, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

Must be a lot of confusion here with the first comment. The builders were required to have below market housing, hence 2 apartment complexes in Gale Ranch that satisfied that requirement.

A little research goes a long way.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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