Reposted by San Lorenzo Express



April 21, 2016

1.0 MEETING CALLED TO ORDER -– The regular meeting of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association Board of Directors was held on Thursday, April 21, 2016. President Clowser called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.

1.1 SALUTE TO THE FLAG –- President Clowser led the audience in the pledge of allegiance.

1.2 ROLL CALL –- Directors Michelle Clowser, Kyle Carlson, Diane Wydler, and Steve Kirk, were present. Director Grant was absent.

2.0 PUBLIC COMMENT Items not on the Agenda –- A member asked that the Board consider a policy regarding ramps and items homeowners are placing into gutters. He said that several years ago some San Lorenzo residents were required to get flood insurance. These items/ramps that are being put into the gutters are inhibiting the flow of drainage in the streets. This is a county issue and the member asked that the board work with the county on a policy. A member asked the Board to monitor rental properties more regularly and charge them more fees.

*5.1 CHP (Timed Agenda Item 7:40 p.m.) -- Officer Jacowitz reported they are holding free driving classes for both seniors and teens at the San Lorenzo Library. This month is distracted driver awareness month, which means that the CHP is looking for people on cell phones, texting, eating, putting on make-up, etc. Several complaints were called this past month; one was for reckless driving near Via Lupine. The motorist was spinning donuts and drinking and driving and was arrested. A member asked if they have a scale system for oversized trucks going to and from the industrial area at the end of Grant. Officer Jacowitz said that if residents have concerns, they should call in and the CHP will enforce the area.

**7.1 Revision to Tree Ordinance -- County arborist, Inta Brainerd, gave a history of the Tree Ordinance adopted in 2003 and the Tree Advisory Board (TAB). She reported statistics on the number of tree permits for pruning and for removal and noted that trees in the County’s right of way (ROW) could not be removed, pruned or planted without a county permit. Tree removal is only allowed if the tree is dead, dying or diseased. However, permits can be granted if the tree presents a hazard, or if the cost of preservation outweighs the benefits of trying to keep the tree alive. Brainerd said they have held 68 hearings with the TAB for violations and appeals of the Tree Ordinance. There have been 14 appeals for denied permits, ten (10) were upheld and four (4) were overturned. There have been 54 violations for trees being removed or improperly pruned, without a permit. In these cases, a hearing is scheduled and a fine is levied and/or other work is required. Most of the tree permits have been issued in San Lorenzo, and a majority of the fees collected are due to fines from the TAB hearings. The purpose of revising the ordinance is to clarify existing language regarding property owner responsibilities, to comply with current government codes, establish a consistent and transparent process for assessing fines, clarify the appeal process, clarify the role of the TAB, and modify the existing permit fee rates, which have not been modified since 2003. They have held eight (8) public meetings and have spent the last year developing the language with Alameda County Counsel. Brainerd went over the language and definition revisions of the ordinance, which included county abatement for hazardous situations and/or mitigating a violation. There is also a new fine scale for all violations and an appeal process for homeowners. The fines are on a sliding scale, which is based on the value of the tree and/or damage done. A cost for the appraisal is also added to the violation to determine the value of the tree damaged or removed. A new fee for the permits will also be implemented. Individuals will be charged $50 per permit instead of $35 and contractors will be charged $500 for a yearly permit instead of $250. Staff is also working on including the tree program into all Public Works and County Service Areas and is developing enforcement options. The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) unanimously approved the revisions, and the item is on the agenda for the next Unincorporated Services meeting. The plan is to have the Board of Supervisors (BOS) review and adopt the revised ordinance by the end of May 2016. Director Carlson asked if a contractor with a yearly permit must still apply for any tree removal. Brainerd said that even with a yearly permit, contractors must get approval for all tree removal. Director Kirk asked about the benefits of revising this ordinance. He was concerned that in most cases the cost of trimming the tree properly and legally would be more expensive than the fines for violating the ordinance. He also wanted to know how the fines would be collected and why the TAB now only hears appeals. Kirk noted that San Lorenzo has taken out the most permits, and there is only one (1) member from San Lorenzo on the TAB-this does not constitute a review by our residents “peers” since four other board members are from other areas. Kirk said this ordinance would affect San Lorenzo the most and was concerned that these revisions were not brought to the Association Board sooner. Director of Public Works, Daniel Woldesenbet, stated these revisions streamline the fine process and make it more consistent and the implementation of the fines more transparent. The new language will also give more authority to the TAB in the appeal process. Tree values will no longer be arbitrarily assessed. There will be specific fines attached to the value of a tree damaged or removed. If a trees value is in excess of $4500 the county will now be able to actively abate the damage. Director Wydler asked how the county would assess the value of a tree that has been removed. Woldesenbet said that they have used Google Earth and will continue to do so. They will also ask surrounding neighbors as to how old/large the tree was prior to removal. Director Wydler questioned the role of the TAB with these revisions. It appears that Public Works is under utilizing the role of the TAB. The TAB now only hears appeals and has nothing to do with the fines or permits. Woldesenbet said that the new purpose of the TAB is to allow homeowners to appeal to their peers. These revisions will allow the county to actively go in and abate any violations. Director Wydler asked how they are getting information out to the public about these revisions. Woldesenbet said they notify realtors in the area and the Association does an excellent job getting information in its newsletter, but it can be difficult. Director Kirk gave Woldesenbet a packet of ordinances from Piedmont and Albany that have more stringent fines for tree removal and/or illegal pruning. He also gave Woldesenbet a spreadsheet of past TAB decisions that were not followed through and current photos of unresolved cases. He asked that Woldesenbet review the information and get back to him. Woldesenbet said he will review the information and get back to him within the week.

Several members were concerned about trees that have been removed in San Lorenzo and that in some instances they are not doing root pruning, and trees are being taken out for sidewalk repair. Woldesenbet asked members to send him addresses where the trees are being removed. The county is still doing root pruning, however some species of trees have roots that are so invasive that pruning will not mitigate the problem. Sycamore trees still get root pruning. Brainerd says that county arborists are involved with any trees being removed for sidewalk repair, and staff is asked for its recommendations, some trees do not handle the root pruning well and doing the work could cause them to die. A member asked if the county could have an emergency number for homeowners if someone sees a tree being removed. A member urged the county to consider the age and size of any trees being removed in the San Lorenzo Village and assess fines accordingly. The proposed fines do not seem as severe as they should be when a 70-year-old tree is removed in the San Lorenzo community. Woldesenbet said that this ordinance would allow additional fees/fine to be assessed on any tree that is valued over $4500. Any appeals would no longer be reviewed by him, but would be assessed by the five members of the TAB. He said that county staff is committed to the preservation of trees and he appreciates the Board and the members input.

Director Kirk moves to oppose the proposed revisions until further information is received from the county. There is no second. The motion dies for lack of a second.

***7.2 Variance, 6' Tall Front & Side Yard Fence 10' from Property Line, where 20' is required, 17084 Via Chiquita (Project Referral from County, home not in SLVHA – Carol Kajita, County Planning Dept., & Julie Gordon, Applicant ( Timed Agenda Item 7:45 p.m.). -– County staff was not present. Pictures of the fencing were shown to the Board and the members present. The applicant Julie Gordon reported she recently moved into the home and put up a six (6) foot solid wooden fence where there was once a four (4) foot wooden picket fence. She did this to enclose her back/side yard for the privacy of her children and family. After construction the county sent her a letter noting she was in violation of a county ordinance. Her residence is on a corner lot and although her front door is on Via Chiquita, the front of her house, per county ordinance, is on the Via Margarita side. She would be required to have a 20 ft. set back on Via Margarita. Ms. Gordon said currently her fence is at the sidewalk, she is asking the Board to agree to a 10 ft. set back of this fencing where 20 ft. is required. The Board and many of the members were concerned with the height of the fence and the safety of traffic and pedestrian travel at that corner. A member stated that county rules should be abided by and no exception to that rule should be granted, this is a very large, very long fence on that corner and detracts from the neighborhood. Director Carlson moves to approve the recommendation of the 10 ft. set back, President Clowser seconds. Director Wydler stated that she does not agree that the Board should recommend something that goes against the county’s rule. Rules are put into place for a reason. The motion dies, with two (2) ayes, (Carlson, Clowser) and two (2) nays, (Kirk, Wydler). No other motion. There will be no recommendation to the County from the Board on this item.

****7.7 Appeal, Paint color (completed), 15817 Via Alamitos, Soon K Khoo (Timed Agenda Item 8:30 p.m.) -– Staff, Kathleen Harrigan, introduced the homeowner, showed pictures of the home which was painted prior to getting the Association’s approval. Plans were submitted, and were denied by staff. The homeowner is appealing staff’s decision to the Board. Mr. Khoo stated that he was unaware that he had purchased a home in the Association and wanted to keep the color. The Board and several members stated that they do not like the color and it does not blend with the existing neighborhood. Director Kirk moves to deny the appeal, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously. The homeowner was directed to submit new plans, and to work with Association Staff.


3.1 Approval of Board Meeting Minutes # 1461 on March 17, 2016 -– Minutes were not completed, item continued until May 19, 2016 Board Meeting.

3.2 Disposition of Executive Session Minutes #1462 on March 17, 2016 –- The Administrator reported that the Board met to review communications with Association counsel regarding a proposed easement for the sewer line between the Association and the David D. Bohannon Organization. There was a motion to above this easement of the sewer line and it passed unanimously.

3.3 Approval of Executive Session Minutes # 1462 March 17, 2016 –- Director Wydler move to approve, Director Kirk seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

3.4 Approval of Work Session Minutes #1463 on April 12, 2016 –- Director Wydler asked that 10.0 Continuing Business be changed from noting the “Front Yard Policy”, to the “Exterior Alterations Policy”. Director Kirk asked that on Page 3, 7.0, the last paragraph be re-written from “Director Clowser asked Director Kirk to create a flyer. . .” to “Director Clowser asked Director Kirk to create a flyer and he responded that he would be willing to look into the costs of making a flyer but did not want to create it.” Director Kirk moves to approve the minutes with these corrections, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries with three (3) ayes (Clowser, Kirk and Wydler) and one (1) abstention (Carlson).


4.1 Community Event Committee –- Director Kirk reported that on March 26, 2016 the Mota family, winner of the “Lawn to Garden Party” received a brand new drought tolerant front yard. He thanked all the volunteers. The information and photographs will be in the next Village Briefs. Director Wydler reminded everyone that next Saturday is the Association’s Earth Day Clean Up. All participants get a free barbeque after the cleanup. In addition, there will be a free drug take-back monitored by the Alameda County Sheriffs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

4.2 Ad Hoc CC&R Implementation Committee –- Chair, Diane Wydler, reported that the committee did not meet this past month. Most of the work has been done. The committee is waiting for direction from the Board on revisions to the Fence Policy.


*5.1 CHP (Timed Agenda Item 7:40 p.m.) -– See timed agenda item above.

5.2 Sheriff's Department –- Sgt Schueller reported that Deputy Stewart is still out post his shoulder surgery. The Cop Shop will be hosting its yearly Flea Market fundraiser on Saturday, June 4, 2016, he encouraged residents to rent booths and attend the event. The Sheriff’s office is also partnering with the Alameda Med Project in a free drug take-back at the Association’s Earth Day Clean Up on April 23, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

5.3 Supervisor Wilma Chan –- Staff member Steve Jones reported that the BOS approved to begin the bid process for both the Hesperian Streetscape Project and for the second half of Grant from Hesperian to Channel. The BOS also put a moratorium on the fees charged by the Juvenile Justice and Youth System. It was found that the fees being charged for assistance were more than many of these low income families could afford. The Supervisor’s office has also been working with Social Services and United Way Bay Area to bring in professionals to help residents prepare their taxes. Approximately 400 residents were assisted. The Supervisor provided $1,500 to support the Association’s upcoming Earth Day and is once again donating $5,000 to the Alameda County Youth Soccer League, which includes children from San Lorenzo. President Clowser asked if the county will be notifying business owner along Hesperian about the upcoming streetscape work. Jones said that Supervisor Chan’s staff will be reaching out to all businesses once again. A member asked that the county install the conduits for future fiber optic installation on the western portion of Grant Ave.

5.4 Zoning Adjustments –The report was left on the back table.

6.0 FINANCIAL REPORT (motion required)

6.1 Approval of March 2016 Expenditures –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

7.0 OTHER BUSINESS (motions may be required)

**7.1 Revisions to Alameda county Tree Ordinance, Public Works, Inta Brainerd, County Arborist/Environmental Compliance Specialist (Timed Agenda Item 7:45 p.m.) -- See timed agenda item above.

***7.2 Variance, 6' Tall Front & Side Yard Fence 10' from Property Line, where 20' is required, 17084 Via Chiquita (Project Referral from County, home not in SLVHA -– Carol Kajita, County Planning Dept., & Julie Gordon, Applicant. – (Timed Agenda Item 8:15 p.m.) See timed agenda item above.

7.3 Approval to Publish Revised Backyard Outbuilding & Structures Policy (formerly Outbuilding, Shed & Workshop Policy) (May/June Village Briefs) –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

7.4 House of the Month, 1527 Via Lucas, Frank & Janice Ferrantino, award presentation –- The homeowners were not present. Pictures of the home were shown to the audience and President Clowser thanked the members for keeping such a beautiful front yard. A $50 gift certificate will be sent to the owner from a local business.

7.5 Approval Budget 2016-2017 -– Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

7.6 Approval Reserve Study 2016-2017 –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

****7.7 Paint color (completed), 15817 Via Alamitos, Soon K Khoo (Timed Agenda Item 8:30 p.m.) -- See timed agenda item above.


8.1 Operations –- The Administrator reported that repaving of the parking lot has been completed. New computers were purchased and installed in the office, and two (2) new chair dollies and 15 padded chairs were purchased for the hall. Both the firehouse and the Association roofs had leaks and were repaired as well as new gutters were installed on the west sidewall of the hall. The office is preparing to send pre-lien letters in the upcoming month.

9.0 LIENS AND VIOLATIONS REPORT (motion may be required) -– The Administrator said there were one (1) liens released since the March 2016 Board meeting. The violation letters were as follows:


  Violation                              No. of Letters

Inoperable Vehicles in driveway               4
Recreational veh in front/side yard           1
General maintenance of property               0
Unpaved parking                               6                   
Yard maintenance                             92
Holiday lights                                5
No signs                                     -- 
Building maintenance                          6
Lean/miss fence                              --
Working on vehicles                           2
Dogs/cats more than 2                        --
Barking dogs                                  1
Prohibited animals                            0
Excessive noise                               0
No home business                              0
Other                                         8
Multiple violations                          14
Plans needed                                  8

Total                                       147

Director Wydler moves to approve the liens and violation report, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously.


10.1 Disposition of Executive Session #1464 on April 21, 2016 –- The Administrator reported that we have 23 matters heard. Three (3) homeowners appeared. Of these, six (6) were closed, seven (7) were fined, one (1) was given a week to clear all violations or fine, two (2) were carried over 30 days to clear all violations, two (2) were carried over until the May Hearings, and five (5) were “Thank you but” (TUB) remove weeds and/or edge landscaping and remove trash cans from view.

10.2 Approval of Minutes of Executive Session #1464 on April 21, 2016 –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously.

11.0 BOARD REPORTS –- President Michelle Clowser announced that she received a letter from the Administrator, Susan Kleebauer, stating that she is resigning effective May 30, 2016.

12.0 ADJOURNMENT –- President Clowser adjourned the meeting at 10:17 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Diane Wydler

Recorded and Transcribed by: Kathleen Harrigan
Reviewed by: Susan Kleebauer, Administrator