San Ramon considers increasing traffic impact fees for new developments

Faria Preserve initiative ordinance, rising library renovation costs, updating financial disclosure list also on tap

The San Ramon City Council is set to review a proposal Tuesday that would increase the fees developers pay to the city to help mitigate traffic impacts from new residential or commercial projects, with the recommended new cost structure more than doubling most of the current fees.

The fees, meant to defray roadwork costs incurred by the city to accommodate added traffic caused by new development, have not been adjusted since 1997, other than annual inflationary increases between 2% and 4%, according to Mike Talley, city senior traffic engineer.

Key factors necessitating the proposed fee hikes include "increases in construction costs of transportation improvements, changes in the number and type of building units, changes in the roadway network and changes in the scope of the city's capital improvement program," Talley wrote in a staff report to the council.

The proposal recommended by city staff would raise the fee for single-family standalone homes to $2,174 per unit, an increase of 163% compared to the current fee of $828.

The per-unit fee for apartments, townhouses and condominiums would rise from $577 to $1,347, under the proposal.

On the commercial development side, new retail buildings would cost $4.54 per square foot instead of the current level of $2.36 and new office space would cost $5.27 per square foot, more than four times as much as the current rate of $1.07.

"Although the proposed fee schedule will increase revenues for all new development in San Ramon substantially compared with current city fees, the new schedule generally compares favorably with other fees imposed by other area agencies," Talley said.

The council is set to review the proposed increases as part of its regular meeting Tuesday, which starts at 7 p.m. inside the council chamber at San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.

The resolution implementing the new traffic impact fees is scheduled to return for a full public hearing before the council Sept. 13. Formal adoption would take place Sept. 27, under the current time-line, and the new fees would take effect in mid-November after a required 60-day waiting period to allow for public response.

In other business

* The council is scheduled to confirm the plan it outlined last month to adopt an initiative ordinance that could allow the planned Faria Preserve residential development to be reduced by 122 homes.

The project near Bollinger Canyon and Deerwood roads was originally approved by the council in September 2014 for 740 homes in a variety of housing types, but home construction hasn't started and the property changed hands earlier this year with CalAtlantic Homes taking ownership.

Then in June, the city received an initiative petition with a proposed ordinance to allow the Faria Preserve developer to apply to reduce the project's Neighborhood 5 from 302 units down to 180 homes to be sold at market rate designed with senior residents or multi-generational families in mind.

The proposal would mean none of the 185 affordable for-rent apartments approved for Neighborhood 5 -- 86 of which were senior apartments -- would be built.

Instead, the developer would pay a $50,000 affordable housing fee and $11,111 open space fee to the city for Neighborhood 5 housing, so if all 180 units were built, the city would receive $9 million for its affordable housing fund and slightly under $2 million for the open space fund.

The initiative petition, organized by former City Councilwoman Carol Rowley and Sentinels of Freedom CEO Mike Conklin, received support signatures for more than 10% of registered city voters. The council last month said it planned to adopt the initiative ordinance rather than send the question to the voters in November.

The council will consider confirming that position Tuesday night, with the ordinance adoption scheduled to take place as part of the council's six-item consent agenda -- a collection of items deemed routine and voted upon all at once unless separated for further discussion.

If approved Tuesday, the Faria Preserve initiative ordinance would take effect July 1, 2017.

* The councilmen will discuss allowing an increased appropriation of $500,000 for the San Ramon Library expansion and renovation, raising the project's construction contingency to just over $1.3 million.

The increase would cover 48 already executed change orders worth $411,415 and almost $765,000 for additional project components including wall, roof and skylight work, wayfinding signage and new systems for security, cameras, telephones, computers, public address and audio-video, according to city staff. It would also provide $143,000 for unforeseen future work.

The proposal would increase the construction contract with Sausal Corp. to a maximum $5.47 million, with the overall project cost rising to roughly $6.58 million.

The library on Montgomery Street, across from San Ramon City Hall, closed almost one year ago for the renovation project. Construction is expected to finish by the end of the year, with the re-opening to follow March 1.

* The council will consider updating the list of city employee positions required to file a financial disclosure form to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The disclosures help inform the public about potential conflicts of interest for public officials as well as alert the officials to personal interests that might affect their governmental decision-making, according to city clerk Renee Beck.

State law requires certain positions to file automatically, including city council members, planning commissioners, city manager, city attorney and administrative services director. Local jurisdictions can expand upon the list for their communities.

Among the positions on San Ramon's list are assistant city manager, police chief, planning director, city clerk, and economic development and open space advisory committees.

The changes up for consideration Tuesday would be to add in the deputy city attorney 1 and 2 and public works director positions and remove the prior designations of deputy city attorney, engineering services director and public services director.

* Mayor Bill Clarkson will present special recognition to outgoing poet laureate Kathy Moore for her four years of service to the city. He will also give a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting to finance division manager Candace Daniels for work in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

* The council members will receive updates on the San Ramon Valley Street Smarts and TRAFFIX programs.

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Like this comment
Posted by Frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 9, 2016 at 7:13 am

Holy Fee Savings for Developers;

Nothing reviews of their fees since 1977!!!!


Who let this happen?????

And now someone wants to take full charge and put fees on MAJOR upswing!!!

Is this to catch up on what was negligently NOT DONE BEFORE????

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 9, 2016 at 6:28 pm

That's since 1997, still 19 years since the fees have been reviewed. Traffic in San Ramon is really getting heavy. I have zero confidence that the city will do anything meaningful to significantly impact the heavy traffic. After all, in the words of a certain city councilman, "the city doesn't care" if a resident complains about the steady decline in quality of life here in San Ramon, "go ahead and move, somebody else will just buy your house". All the city seems to be concerned about is their way too close relationship with Bishop Ranch/Sunset Development at the expense of residents.

2 people like this
Posted by Frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 10, 2016 at 6:41 am

Error on my part, it is 1997. But the same LACK of real concern continues by these officials and council people no matter they say publicly.

Another example is the waste of water which is used to water mediams which I witness most recenly at Bolinger Canyon and San Ramon Blvd.

Water is successfully cultivating the asphalt.


Been this way for long time!!

We are still in water shortage and they STILL CANT get it right, forcing local taxpayer to pay dearly.

SHAME for they who say they do their job but fall short all the time.

They allow developers to do just that AND THEN TURN AROUND AND SAY RAISE FEES!!!

How many developers got a FREE PASS ALL THIS TIME.

Beautiful life in the valley is quickly being killed by these officials and councils who ultimately rubber stamp what is feed to them.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 10, 2016 at 6:52 am

I would ask Resident if facts are checked before commenting?

I read the article about the presentation being presented to city council and find there were annual cost of living increases added to the base number of 1997. Those amounts were not enough to keep pace with actual costs hence the request to reset the base. To me, that is a responsible approach to the fee issue and simply moves San Ramon to where it should be as far as developer fees are concerned.

Why is it necessary to make negative comments about "certain city council members"? You obviously have an agenda which is not too hard to figure out.

Like this comment
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Aug 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Speaking of construction, when are they going to start building that downtown San Ramon thing?

They cut down all the trees, put up an ugly chain link fence and that’s about it.

Did they run out of money? Did work stop because it was disrupting the habitat of a rare bird or slug or something? Did they go back to the drawing board because they finally realized parking the cars on the roofs would look goofy?

Like this comment
Posted by SHale99
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

SHale99 is a registered user.

this is kinda like closing the barn door after all the animals have left!

Dougherty Valley is essentially done and now they think of raising the fees.

A bit late........

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 13, 2016 at 9:17 am

San Ramon collected ZERO traffic impact fees from the Dougherty Valley developers. DV was a Contra Costa County development not a San Ramon development.

DV is incorporated into San Ramon AFTER the homes are built and fees are paid.

Like this comment
Posted by Shale
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

Steve: perhaps phase 1 or 2 of DV; not the remainders, with the exception of the houses not yet completed at the foot of QR school.

Bottom line: the new houses ship has mostly sailed away already.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 19, 2016 at 6:26 am

The proposed fees only apply to new construction that is not currently permitted within the existing city limits. Remaining DV construction is all outside the city limits.

DV is a county project. The city gets no development fees from that project, only property taxes once the development is incorporated into the city.

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

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