Meeting Minutes, June 1, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:09 P.M.

Handout from Lina Velasco, Richmond city planner, 510-620-6841

Richmond Livable Corridors form-based code community mapping meeting June 17, 2015 6-8 pm Richmond Council Chambers 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond CA 94804.  RSVP

Owen: Asked neighbors to sign-in.  Explained to those in attendance that we collect money for national night out, RNCC fees, and once a year we help feed the RNCC, other than that our expenses are low, the school lets us use the facility monthly and the city covers the expense of the quarterly newsletter (printing and postage).

Christine: This year we have had some generous donations, so if anyone would like to donate, it’s pretty much how we exsist, and we are at 3/4 of our subsistence level.  If you would like to donate, please do, and I’ll take it to the bank.  Introduces the officers. Asks for introductions from those in attendance.  RHNC is the neighborhood organization.  Explains how neighborhood council works.  Beat officer.

{Six minute discussion of the distinction between city and county; neighbor asks if we can proceed with meeting}

Introductions, neighbors along with representatives from the city, school board, Caliber Academy.

Lina Velasco from Richmond Planning Depart.  I’m here to give a plug for our meeting, the city is in the process of doing a form-based code update, focuses on San Pablo, 23rd, and TK.  City asked us to hold a meeting to discuss impacts of the code.  We do hope that you will come out.  We will discuss the current version of the map, which is different from what the planning commission approved, changes reflect rezoning.  We are proposing a diversity of housing types in different districts.  If people have questions, then they can call me, we also recommend that people revisit the general plan, moving towards form based codes.  Form-based codes is an emerging thing in planning. Happy to answer specific questions.

Neighbor: When you say “Main Street”, I’m assuming you mean San Pablo Ave.?

Lina Velasco: Correct, we have different zones that we are talking about.

Neighbor: Is the revised map online yet?

Lina Velasco: I’ll put it up tomorrow (Tuesday, June 2, 2015), the new map reflects the new setbacks.  At the community meeting you might see a slightly revised map, we are looking at the aerial and double checking which properties on San Pablo Ave. already extend into McLaughlin or Wilson.

Neighbor: Question about the height of development on San Pablo.  We live on McLaughlin and we are worried about the height.  It seemed like the planning committee decided that the height would be affected.  You have this step up, if developers build up then you impose that on the surrounding community.  In order to justify putting bigger buildings there, impose the rules on more people, it’s a huge confer.  I understand the planning committee has made some accommodations, about the height, this is a huge imposition, so personally I’m very concerned, the council may have taken some points, but its really like building a wall in front of a place where we live.

Lina Velasco: We are accommodating 2 and one half stories, so we are looking at stepping down near residential properties.  Already two story structures, people are technically allowed to go up to 35 feet.

Neighbor: You are talking about stepping down for the light lines?

Velasco: Yes, we don’t call them light lines…

Neighbor: Does this information that you are posting online reflect the changes so we can compare?

Lina Velasco: I’ll add links to the previous map, and then the single family and the multi family.

Neighbor: Are you going to translate this?

Lina Velasco: There will be a translator at the meeting.

Neighbor: I will translate this for you.

Chad Davisson: I manage a newly created department in the city, including encroachments in the right-of-way, any time there is digging or something in the public space.  I want to talk about the coordination of sewer lateral replacement and paving.  Most of you are also in the sewer district, city limits north of McBryde to south of Macdonald east to county line, El Cerrito line.

What I’ll start with: Sewer lateral, historically problems with coordinating sewer lateral repair and main line repair, so we are not paving over bad infrastructure, it is sort of a chicken and egg thing, we don’t have jurisdiction to require people to repair lateral that cause problems with potholes, and bad roads, also on wastewater.  Measure U, should accelerate paving program, trying to work out funding the fiscal budget, but it’s critical that we address these sewer laterals in the public right of way.  City has grant money for sewer lateral replacement, a better use of that money might be to fix the lower lateral from the mainline to the edge of the street, that money might be better used to have the city replace those lower laterals, and that theoretically will save the homeowner money and time, and we can ensure that the sewer laterals under the street are fixed.  It will be challenging, things still need to be worked out, conceptually that’s where we are going, so we can make sure when we have the measure U funds available.  I’m not the street paving guy, so I don’t do the schedule.

Owen: Just want to emphasis the city grant that will reimburse 50% up to $3,000.

Chad Davisson: I don’t know how well we know our neighbors, in other parts of the city, neighbors have gotten together and coordinate and have a contractor bid for a bigger job, which is cheaper for everyone.  If there are ways that the city can help with things like that, I encourage this.

Neighbor: Where does Veolia fit into all of this?

Chad Davisson: Veolia does all the wastewater management stuff, I manage the contract with Veolia and oversee the work on behalf of the city and the ratepayer.

Chad Davisson: Examples how the sewer system works in times of high storm water run-off and why the sewer system needs to be tightened up.

Chad Davisson: Information on the city website, also can call and talk more about it.  Has to be owner occupied residential and we have to have three bids, and we pay 50% of the lowest bid.

Chad Davisson: The wet weather storage project is actually a 5,000,000 gallon pre-stressed concrete tank and a pump station.  This project had a cost of 18 million dollars.  The project was funded using proceeds from the 2010 bond issue.  It will allow the city to eliminate large sewage overflows during wet weather.

Chad Davisson: The sewer system needs over $100 million dollars of improvements in the next 5 years.  City council meeting in July and they will consider a rate increase every year over the next five years.  I think meeting on the 17 and 24 of June, mailer will arrive shortly and we will talk about capital needs, what we’ve accomplished with previous rate increases.  Last rate increase was five percent over 3 years.  Treatment plant built in 1953, it’s inefficient, looked at several options, it turns out that the least costly is to rehabilitate the existing facility.

Chad Davisson: It’s $633, an annual fee, not a monthly utility bill.  The reason the city uses the property tax bill is so that the county guarantees the income which allows us to have a stable revenue stream.

{Lengthy discussion about the history of the system and the decision to get into a 20 year contract with Veolia}

It is really critical whether you are in favor or oppose the rate increase that you participate in these public meetings, public input is critical.  Notice of where, date, and time is coming in the mail.

School presentation:

Natalie, 510-255-5436

My whole life spent on this hill.  Here today to talk about Caliber Schools, finishing our first year.  I started off in parochial schools, I did not ever think that I’d be in the charter school.  Parochial schools did community well, but not good academically.  At public schools, really hard to turn a big ship, not really school choice.  I found a lot of friends and colleagues sending kids to private schools.

At charter schools, no fees, we provide uniforms and four meals, regardless of status.  Care before school and after school, also offer extra activities so if families can’t afford it, still have activities.  We think computer coding is a great way to give kids options if they don’t want to go to college.  Goal is that every kid is UC eligible or higher, do an hour of writing a day.  Some kids came in below grade.  We are working to create a competitive environment.  We need a new home, right now we are on the Stege campus, in portables on back end.  No indoor hallways, when we started the school year, not enough bathrooms, electricity.  Found those challenges unacceptable.

Next year we are moving to the back of Kennedy high school and then we are homeless again.  We want to be a partner in the community and be a partner with you.  Our kids are respectful, wear uniform, clean parks, etc.

That brings us to Adams.  It’s the only vacant space in proximity to our families.  We have offered to pony up all the money, and we will pay for everything.  We would demolish building, and rebuild.  Reason not an option, is because they want to decant other schools there.  We want to begin the dialogue, in our dream world we would move in Jan 2017, families there in droves asking school board to give us a permanent home.  Come visit, come look at student work.

Neighbor: Do you worry that portables will become permanent.

Natalie: We wouldn’t like to be in portables at all, stay in Coronado for a year, then move into permeant home.

Neighbor: Accessibility for students, one thing I heard about charter schools is that they can choose which students to take and which not to take, so they can cherry pick good students.

Natalie: Every charter in the state is open lottery, only preference we have is for siblings or children of staff.  Right now we have 12% special needs, the district has 12%.  We have the same obligations, we are a blind lottery, we have to know name, age, and what language to correspond with.  Unfortunately a myth.

Neighbor: What demands do you have of the parents to participate?

Natalie: We ask parents to do service, but we can’t kick anyone out.  Have parent education, we think healthy homes make healthy kids, do home visits, one thing about charters that is true, parents making choice.

Neighbor: What grades will you be serving?

Natalie: We want to grow into a K-8, kids in 6th grade now will grow into the eighth grade.  A full k-8 is about 800 students.

Neighbor: Where will you get the money from? State money, state recognizes that public school has access to free buildings, and we have a pretty list of robust funders, either in giving or low cost and low budget loan, which is why we need a long term lease.  We’ve been acknowledged and funded by Gates, Zuckerberg, by the Waltons, and others who are funding charter schools.  Caliber Funding sources on website.  People looking for solutions to urban education, how do we improve the pattern of learning?

Owen: How do you make portable seismic safe?

Natalie: We would demolish unsafe building and rebuild a safe one.

Neighbor: What about the footprint, and the traffic?

Natalie: Looked at doing single story tiered building, not trying to block views, talked to AC Transit to reactivate bus line, neighbors could walk to school.

Lisa LeBlanc: From Contra Costa County Board of Education, all traffic, environmental, etc. would have to be studies and in compliance of CEQA review.

Neighbor: Lived here for nearly 30 years, had lots of problems with theft, car theft, etc. drug dealing.  How would you monitor the students arriving and departing the area?

Natalie: Come visit the school, and you will see what I’m talking about.  Pretty present with our families, most people opting out of other schools.

Neighbor: I have a background in education, social work, etc., but I would really ask you to hear what he is saying about volume, because volume does matter.

Neighbor: I have a kid in the district and a kid at Caliper, and the way that these kids are challenged is really remarkable.

Natalie: We work on engaging kids in small community structure, spend equal amount of time on the social and emotional parts of life.

Teacher from school: You need to come visit our school and really see real data at our school.

Cordell handout: Richmond Rainbow Pride presents: Pride in the Park, Saturday June 6th, 10-3:00 Marina Bay Park, Richmond.

Gloria Rolando Film screening, Saturday June 13, 6:00 PM, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, 339 11th Street at Macdonald Ave.

June 12, Sound of Music, Contra Coast Civic Theatre, 8PM

Christine reported $40 in donations.

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