PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
May 22, 2003 at 7:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers
734 Third Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order by Minutes Recorder Whincup. Present were Vice Chairperson Rodrigues, and Commissioners Lanny Brown and Tom Jones. Commissioner Jan Melloni was absent.
Others present were Director Craig Bronzan, Administrative Secretary Tammy Homan, Park Planner Janet Hansen, Recreation Services Manager Poldina Scherff; Parks Services Manager Ken DeSilva and Recreation Services Coordinator Tim Taylor.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues asked to take a moment to remember those who have served the country, both those who have returned and those that will not return. The Pledge of Allegiance was then given by all present.
AGENDA REVIEW: No changes
CITIZEN COMMENTS: None
Item No. 1 Approve minutes of regular meeting of April 24, 2003.
Item No. 2 Accept staff report/project status reports from Parks Division (K. DeSilva/K. Byrd/J. Hansen).
Item No. 3 Accept staff project status report from Recreation Division (P. Scherff).
Item No. 4 Accept project status report from Facilities Division (M. Merizon).
Item No. 5 Accept evaluation results from Floor Hockey (P. Scherff).
Item No. 6 Accept Summary of Residential, Commercial & Industrial Activity (C. Bronzan).
Item No. 7 Approve proclamation declaring July as Recreation and Parks Month (C. Bronzan).
Commissioner Tom Jones moved to accept the Consent Calendar as presented, Lanny Brown seconded the motion, motion carried.
Item No. 8 Consideration of request for lights at the Skate Park (C. Bronzan/K. DeSilva/P. Scherff).
Director Bronzan addressed the Commission members and citizens present regarding this issue which had come before the Commission on February 27, 2003. This matter was discussed at length with the Commission at that meeting and staff was directed to do research on the subject and come back at a later meeting to bring consideration of a variety of discussion points and to give their recommendation to the Commission. The staff report was included in each Commissioner’s packet for this evening’s meeting. These included comments from the Police Department, Risk Management requirements and a list of activities that have been held since the opening and what is planned this year. Attendance numbers since the opening, breakdown of money spent since the opening, maintenance concerns that were raised, specifically about fencing and concrete, cost for lighting, costs for additional staffing and consideration for senior volunteers, review of citywide tax as it relates to maintenance and comparison of other cities that have lights were also included in this report. Director Bronzan reported that in order to keep residents in the surrounding area informed a letter was sent out two weeks ago regarding the issue. This was sent to 224 homes notifying them of the meeting tonight. They were either invited to attend the meeting tonight or to either send comments or email or call the office. He then deferred to Administrative Secretary Tammy Homan to read the two letters which were received as a result of the notice. She read the letters to those present. Names and addresses were not read. Both letters were read and both were not in favor of lighting the facility for night use.
Director Bronzan then told the citizens present that the staff that prepared the recommendation for the City Council were available for questions or comments. The staff’s recommendation to the Commission is to recommend to the City Council against adding lights to the skate park. The main reasons being the original design and the original intent which was directed from City Council, was that the skate park not have lights. This was mostly because of the elementary school and the pool going in and many residents working with the City and who did not want the area lighted at night. There was an original plan for lighted ball fields and the City did not go ahead with this plan because of resident concerns. The current plan allows for free use during the operational hours under supervision which costs a little over $50,000 on the budget of the Parks and Recreational Department. The request for lighting if approved, would add about another $7,600 to that budget on a yearly basis. In light of current budget constraints this has not been budgeted for in the current year or for additional staff. Director Bronzan added that other facilities within the City would also like to have extended use but that this is just not possible. Some that do have extended hours and lights are paying for that use, the skate park is the only free open to the public facility. He then opened the meeting to questions from the citizens.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues asked the citizens then to come forward and keep their comments to a minimum. The first citizen was Mr. Tewah Chirayunon. He wondered why those objected to the lighting did not come to the meeting to be a part of the decision process. He wondered why with over 200 letters sent out, there were so few objections. He also commented again about the closing in the winter time at 5:00 p.m. adding to the traffic at that time. He noted that the swim facility is open later and the new park adjacent to the swim park will probably have lights. He compared the amount of parks they wish to have lighted is much smaller in comparison to the other parks in the community. He wondered about raising funds for the lights through a sponsorship of corporate funds or price out the cost and request bids which might come in lower than those reported in the staff report. He discussed other points as to Police projected problems with longer hours, gang activity and other issues. He felt there was no gang activity in Brentwood and specifically not at the skate park. He felt the issue should not be money and there should be solutions and compromise for facility to be lighted in the winter months. He argued extensively for the skate park to be lighted.
At this time then Ken Enger who had registered a request to speak in support of the lighting of the skate park said that he felt that one or two hours extra in the winter would be very helpful since he does not get home from school until 3 p.m. and by the time he finishes required homework, this gives him little or no time to use the skate park. Mr. Chirayunon also confirmed this and also said that this week there were several times when the skate park did not open until 11:30 a.m. and later some other times as late as 12:30 p.m.
Vice Chairperson asked at this time if they had any more valuable information to address the issue before the Commissioners. He asked if they had done additional survey work in the community which had been requested at the February meeting. Mr. Chirayunon felt there was no better way this could be done and felt that they already had a greater rate of approval. He thought the mailing by the Parks and Recreation Department covered this well and the fact of only two responses showed more approval than disapproval.
At this time resident Ellen Timmerman spoke to the Commission. She reported that she and her husband William live adjacent to the skate park and felt she spoke in behalf of many residents of the area who have become frustrated with the process. She said several of them, including herself, participated in the skate park board task force, attended the meetings for over a year and were part of the community process. She said the compromise with the community was that it would never be a lighted facility for night use. She felt it is unfair to them to now consider lighting the skate park when they had volunteered many hours and had been promised that it would never be a lighted park. She had quotes from notes from various City Council members at the time they purchased their home, “we were assured of this since it was bad public policy to put in night lighting in an already established neighborhood”. She thanked the staff for the report since she felt it was very honest and very accurate and appreciated their effort. She said she and her husband have appeared before the City Council on this subject several times, even when the security lights were installed because the original park plan stated that there would be no lighting whatsoever at the skate park facility. She has appeared before the City Council also on other issues regarding the skate park area. She also felt that if the skate park was lighted for night use other area city’s citizens would come to Brentwood to use the facility and could cause problems which the neighborhood is very concerned about. She strongly requested that the City not go back on its word to the neighborhood. She thanked the Commission for the opportunity to speak to the issue.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues thanked her and called on John Enger who had also requested to speak on the issue in favor of the lighting for night use of the skate park. Mr. Enger who said he was Ken Enger’s father and thanked them for the opportunity to speak to the Commission. He said he felt it was a right decision to put the skate park where it is and that there are a lot of kids who are skate boarders and appreciate the facility. He said he lives across the street from the tennis courts in Creekside Park, off of Claremont and that there are cars there for tennis lessons every Tuesday night, there is no parking made available for them, and the light is turned on often during the evening hours. Therefore he felt the lighting should not be an issue for someone who lives a tenth of a mile away from the skate park.
Former Chairperson Jeff Cowling then commented from the audience and felt that he has not seen any tangible results of requests for proposals for lighting sponsors. The Commission at that time had requested solutions to the problems. He asked if anything had been submitted to the Commission, any tangible recommendations for the lighting of the facility.
Vice Chairperson Rodrigues thanked Mr. Cowling and then closed the discussion to the public unless there was a question from the Commissioners. He then laid out the question to the Commissioners, stating the staff report, promise from the City Council and both pro and con comments from the citizens. The Commission’s recommendation will then be presented to the City Council for final decision. Commissioner Tom Jones said that the overriding issue in his mind was that a promise was made to the neighborhood citizens and despite the fact that there is a new City Council, in his mind this does not change the promise to the citizens. He felt the promise is something that the Commission needs to honor and he votes in favor of the staff report and the facility not be lighted for night use. Commissioner Lanny Brown agreed with Commissioner Jones. He doesn’t believe the Commission or City Council could go back to the residents and say, “oh by the way we have changed our mind”. Vice Chairperson Rodrigus said he felt that pretty much summed up the situation and commented that he has been very involved in various lighting projects in thirty years with Parks and Recreation Departments and cannot go back on promises to the citizens of the community. He does care about kids in community but feels they have to keep promises to community. He commented on the fact that the Mayor was in the audience and thanked him for his attendance at the meeting. He also said he supports the staff report and the City Council recommendation that there is not night lighting at the skate park for night skating. He said in a fast growing community there are other projects that will require funds and this skate park has already been built and with supervision that has cost nearly a million dollars and feels the kids have one of the best skate parks around the area. He thanked them for their support and their gentlemanly attitude. He asked for the vote of the Commissioners at this time. Commissioner Tom Jones moved that the Commission recommend to the City Council that the request for lighting the skate park be rejected and the original conditions of its development be upheld. Commissioner Lanny Brown seconded the motion, motion carried.
Director Bronzan commented at this time that this item is scheduled to go before the City Council on June 10, at their regular meeting in Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Commissioner Jones asked if Director Bronzan thought the Commissioners should make themselves available at that meeting and Director Bronzan felt this would be a good idea.
Vice Chairperson then recognized Mayor Brian Swisher and asked him for any comments. Mayor Swisher apologized for not being at the meeting at 7 p.m., but said his son’s football game went a little longer than expected. He thanked the Vice Chairperson and the Commission for the job they are doing, and appreciates the time and effort involved in serving on the Commission. He realizes that this is a big job and sometimes rather a thankless job, but one very necessary to the community. He also said they are fortunate to have a great staff to support their efforts, one of the best departments in the city. Commissioner Jones commented that he appreciated the Mayor coming to the park opening the other day and the neighborhood did as well. Vice Chairperson Rodrigues also thanked him and said he will see him at the next park opening on June 14th.
Item No. 9 Review/discuss Goals #3,#6, and #7 of Parks, Trails and Recreation Master Plan (C. Bronzan).
Director Bronzan said that this review will result in staff’s Annual Report, which will include any notes from this evening. He explained the Annual Report will be a yearly review of the Parks, Trails and Recreation Master Plan and discuss parts that are currently being implemented along with parts that are being updated. This also sets some long term goals and any updates that are required. He started with a review of Goal 3, which is the Parks, Trails and Recreation Variety and Uniqueness. He read through the complete section and asked for any questions as he went through the reading. Commissioners did respond to the various parts of the goal with questions and responses. Director Bronzan said the objectives are to create a healthy lifestyle and more uniqueness in playground equipment and design.
Director Bronzan then read through Goal 6 which is the Education Opportunities Goal, which is to reaffirm the City’s strong commitment to education through programs that encourage life-long learning and activities that foster an appreciation of recreation, park and open space resource. He then again read through each objective and policy pertaining to this goal. They discussed having at least one regular Commission meeting a year at a park with the public invited to ask questions and make recommendations. This was done once previously in 2002 at Creekside Park. Suggestion was made to have a meeting again in August this year in one of the park or community areas. Summerset as one of their community locations was suggested. This could assist in planning parks in the area.
Director Bronzan said Ms. Scherff, Recreation Services Manager is working on a marketing campaign for the Department. The theme of the new marketing campaign is “Come Out and Play”. Commissioners will hear more on this subject in the future. This would include celebrations, dedications and other activities. He would like to also bring back to the next meeting an update on the website.
Director Bronzan explained these goals and objectives again and discussed future plans and answered questions from the Commissioners.
Goal 7 - Safe and Accessible Environments was then read and discussed by Director Bronzan. This goal was described as to continue to strengthen the City’s commitment to providing safe environments for the users of all park, trail and accessible environments with recreational resources in the city wide green space network. Director Bronzan emphasized the objective of safety in all areas of recreation. Director Bronzan discussed the possibility and planning to clean the water near the John Marsh House so salmon can again run and spawn in clear water there.
Item No. 10 Consideration of League of California Cities Community Services Conference July 23-25, 2003 in San Diego(C. Bronzan).
Director Bronzan stated that there are three conferences that in the past that Commissioners have attended. The two main conferences are the California Park and Recreation Society Training Conference which was in March in San Jose, and the League of California Cities Community Services Conference. He described these conferences and also this year has budgeted for the National Recreation and Park Association. The budget allows for each Commissioner to go to two of the three conferences. He described these conferences and what will be focused on in these conferences this year. He asked the Commissioners to let the staff know which of these they would prefer to attend. He recommended that the Commissioners might receive more information at the National Recreation and Park Association Conference (NRPA). This will be held in October 21-25 in St. Louis this year. Next year it will be in Reno. Vice Chairperson Rodrigues indicated he would like to attend the League of California Cities Community Services Conference. Commissioner Jones indicated an interest also in the League Conference. Commissioner Brown indicated he would like to attend the NRPA Conference in St. Louis. Director Bronzan will discuss them also with Commissioner Melloni. Vice Chairperson Rodrigues and Commissioner Jones also said they would like to attend the CPRS conference again next year. Commissioners need to contact Tammy Homan, Administrative Secretary with any changes.
Item No. 11 Accept report/update on Brookfield Homes’ parks dedications (K. DeSilva)
Mr. DeSilva referred the Commissioners to the flyer in the packet with the information on the Brookfield Homes Park dedication and the activities that will be involved. The same band will be at the events as the previous park dedications. Food will be served and he would like the names of those who can attend so they can be introduced. Commissioners Brown, Jones and Rodrigues confirmed they will be there. Ceremony will start at 12 noon. The date of the dedication will be June 14, 2003.
Item No. 12 Election of officers (C. Bronzan).
Director Bronzan informed the Commissioners that the ordinance pertaining to the resignation of past Chairperson Jeff Cowling, says that upon resignation or removal of the Chairperson the Vice Chairperson shall ascend to the office of Interim Chairperson, after which time an election will be held for the vacant office of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson, therefore an election needs to be held at this time. Commissioner Tom Jones nominated Ernie Rodrigues for Chairperson, Commissioner Lanny Brown seconded the motion and motion carried. A discussion of past service of current Commissioners and their terms of office. Commissioner Tom Jones nominated Lanny Brown for Vice Chairperson. Vice Chairperson Rodrigues (now Chairperson) seconded the motion and motion carried.
CITIZENS COMMENTS: None
Janet Hansen, Park Planner gave an update on the Creek Road issue and the fencing trail and landscaping issue. She met recently with Commissioner Jones and Chairperson Rodrigues along with Randy Christ on May 16, 2003. The possibility of the fence and where it should go was discussed. Since that time she has talked with the City Engineer whose recommendation was to build a fence to separate the roadway. The City Engineer felt the best spot for the fence would be at the edge of the landscaped area, not within the road right of way and therefore it would be on public property, roughly 25 feet from the center line. The resident should be happy with that aspect of the problem, which doesn’t limit his ability to do the turn-around at the end of the road. She also feels, as does Director Bronzan, that a more decorative or lower fence (concrete split rail fence - three and half to four feet in height) should be built. She will be contacting Pulte Homes to see if this can then be incorporated into the landscape plans.
Ms. Hansen also said that she has reviewed the Commissioner assignments to the parks and when they have another new Commissioner will have to look at the situation overall. In the meantime there are parks that are in design or need to have decisions made. One of those parks is Heron Park, which Commissioner Brown and Rodrigues are assigned to. She will be in touch with them for play equipment designs in the next week or two. Commissioner Brown said he will be out of town in the near future, so need to discuss very soon. She said Oak Meadow Park has been assigned to Commissioner Brown and Melloni. There have been two options provided on this park, and need them to meet on decisions on this park also on play equipment. This park is set for completion on November 15, 2003. The last park is the Balfour Road Park and Commissioner Melloni is the only one assigned to that park. She will be talking to her on that park soon.
Ms. Hansen said they had a good turn out for the “Bike to Work” day. They had good media coverage and had one person who is looking for a bike partner. Discussion of the Bike Committee and the next Bike Subcommittee meeting which is scheduled for June 2, 2003, the first Monday in June. The following meeting will be the fifth Monday in June which is June 30, 2003.
She also commented that the Sunset Sports Complex is out to bid and City Council has approved the plans sent to the Plan Rooms and engineer’s estimate is within budget at $8,094,945 approximately. It will be bid as one job, although will be done in two phases. Bid opening is scheduled for Friday June13, 2003 in Council Chambers at 2 p.m. Commissioners are invited to attend the bid opening. The current plans are to go to City Council on June 24, 2003 to award the contract and start the project in July. Plans are underway for a groundbreaking ceremony and would appreciate any suggestions for that event. Complex is scheduled for completion by July of 2004. Soccer fields are due to be open as first part of the complex. She added further information on the complex and suggested that if Commissioners are interested they should look at a new complex being completed in Danville.
Director Bronzan reported that City Council last week approved incorporating the PAL Program into the Parks and Recreation Department, effective July 1, 2003. The Department is set for interviews next week to hire a PAL Supervisor. It will be a position equivalent to a Recreation Supervisor. Ms. Scherff will work on a complete revamping of PAL, and the City is paying the full costs of the employee, plus office training. The costs of the after school programs will be on a 50-50 basis with the City of Brentwood, Parks and Recreation Department and the PAL Board. Other programs will be responsible for raising money and running the programs. One Youth Police Officer is dedicated to the PAL Program.
Commissioner Brown commented on email from BMX people. Director Bronzan said he is working with them. He also asked about the “Asset Base” discussed a few meetings ago. Director Bronzan said this will be folded into the Annual Report.
Commissioner Brown said he went to the dedication of the newly dedicated park to Chairperson Rodrigues and said it was very impressive. Chairperson is a well loved person in Livermore and actually threw out the first pitch and did it in great style. He said the park is very beautiful.
Chairperson Rodrigues asked about the weeds at Summerset and Mr. DeSilva said they are working on this and should be taken care of in the next few days.
REQUEST FOR FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
Town-hall type meeting at Summerset for August regular meeting
Commissioners urged to attend the City Council meeting on June 10, 2003.
Chairperson Rodrigues adjourned the meeting at 9:05 p.m.
Betty Jo Whincup,
of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission
35 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513