10/30/2012 Council Preview – Park Funding And A New California Ave. Project

Pretty diverse night.  We start the evening with a study session involving non-residential parking.  I’m not positive, but I believe we’re looking at the city’s current parking requirements for developers proposing commercial/industrial projects.  We then swear in Ken Olevson as our newest Planning Commissioner, followed by (I believe) recognition of this year’s winners of the Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Association.

The consent calendar is fairly small this time.  We’ve got a grant to fund “Safe Summer Activities”, an affordable housing loan that we previously approved, and a second reading of the ordinance regarding the St. Antons project on North Fair Oaks.

Item 2 is proposal of a new office building in the business park on California.  The business park already has 600k+ square feet of office space in nine different buildings, and the developer is proposing a tenth building.  This is coming before Council because of a couple of proposed deviations – one to exceed the existing 35% floor/area ration (they’re proposing 47.8%), and one to propose a lower parking ratio (they’re proposing 25%, the city requires 50% over 15 years).  Part of this proposal would have the applicant take responsibility for maintaining the parking lot under the Mathilda Avenue overpass.

Item 3 is a proposed policy for the City’s use of Park Dedication Fees.  When developers construct housing projects, they are required to provide land to the city for park space for the new residents, or the cash equivalent.  Most developers choose to pay instead of giving up land, which creates a significant fund of money for the City to spend on parks.  As a matter of law, we can only use that money for either acquisition of new park land (and the subsequent park construction) or capital replacement on existing parks.  But we don’t have a written policy on how that money is actually allocated.  Staff does its best to make smart calls, but it’s still possible for certain categories of expenditures to end up getting overemphasized or de-emphasized.  For instance, we may end up spending a higher percentage of park money in one part of the city than in the rest.  Or we may spend too much money on capital repairs and not save as much as desired for land purchases.  A Council-approved policy would guide staff in developing a 20-year plan for Sunnyvale’s parks, recreation, and open space projects.

Item 4 involves a proposed change to the agreement with the operator of the Fremont Pool.  In short, the City intends to put up the operations of the Fremont Pool for competitive bid when the current contract expires.  But the current contract expires at the end of July – in the middle of the heaviest pool use.  So staff is proposing pushing it back a month.

Item 5 is another IGR opportunity.  CalTrain is forming an advisory commission to discuss issues related to CalTrain modernization, and we’re being asked to appoint a representative and an alternate.

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