Council to clarify intent in Dunivan waiver, considers new fee schedule tonight

MARTINEZ, Calif. – When the Martinez City Council decided last year to waive annexation application fees for 10 acres owned by the Dunivan Family Trust, did that include the costs of a plat map and a legal description of the property?

Or should the applicant pick up those costs?

City employees will ask the Council to clarify the matter tonight.

Community and Economic Development Director Christina Ratcliffe, in her report to the Council, said Dunivan Family Trust representatives are interpreting the Council’s decision as waiving the cost of preparing the plat map and legal description.

The trust has agreed to pay the $8,500 in application fees to the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), the panel created to resolve issues related to local government boundaries.

Since the Council’s decision Sept. 6, 2017, to waive annex application fees, city employees have been working with the property owners on the application package, Ratcliffe wrote.

“The applicant has stated that his interpretation of the Council’s granting of the waiver includes the cost of preparation of the plat map and legal description, as well as staff time to prepare, submit and present the application to the LAFCo Board,” she wrote.

So far, about 20 hours of staff time has been spent on the application, and Ratcliffe wrote that another 55 hours would be expended, costing about $9,800.

She wrote that a typical annexation application includes a General Plan and Zoning Map amendment, and depending on the request, it may require a California Environmental Quality Act document with a required $15,500 deposit.

She wrote that city staff members don’t agree that the Council thought Martinez would pick up the costs of the plat and legal descriptions.

But if the Council agrees with the Dunivan trust representatives’ opinion, it must underwrite from reserves the costs of a licensed engineer or surveyor to prepare the exhibited needed for the Dunivan annexation.

In addition, Ratcliffe said city employees want to understand the Council’s wishes in dealing with future annexation applications. In rendering its decision on the Dunivan request, the Council said additional fees would be waived if properties were contiguous to the city limit, have a public water system in place and had existing development on the lands to be annexed.

She submitted a list of questions, asking the Council whether this applied only to Alhambra Valley, or included Mountain View or all unincorporated areas within the city’s sphere of influence.

She also asked if the Council wants to include parcels for which an urban limit line adjustment would be required, whether the city would pay for any annexation application’s additional exhibits, preparation of the LAFCo application materials and their filing and if the city would represent an applicant at the LAFCo hearing.

In addition, she asked if the Council wants to vote on fee waiver requests for annexations that meet those requirements, and decide the on a case-by-case basis or whether staff members should handle those requests administratively.

“With all the variables involved in the processing annexations, particularly CEQA review, it is staff’s recommendation that any fee waiver request come before the Council for consideration and be considered on a case-by-case basis,” she wrote.

She also has recommended capping fee waivers.

The Council also will take comments during a public hearing on new fees for the use of city-owned sports and recreation properties.

The proposed fees have received approval from the Park, Recreation, Marina nd Cultural Commission March 20, wrote Michael Chandler, deputy director of Administrative Services, and Patty Lorick, Recreation supervisor, in their joint report.

As Martinez parks and recreation areas are improved, the public expects greater standards of care, they wrote. And those rising costs need to be offset to some degree by user fees charged by the city, they wrote. Revenue for recreation programs and the municipal pool are approximately half of their related costs.

“Recreation fees also take into account market rate factors to ensure the fees being charged will not result in underutilization of city facilities and services by the public,” they wrote.

But many of the user fees are “significantly underpriced,” they wrote. In fact, they haven’t been changed since 2014, except for fees to use the Martinez Waterfront amphitheater, which were established in 2015, and Hidden Lakes Soccer Field, which were changed in 2017.

Admission at Rankin Aquatic Center varies, depending on ages and whether it’s a single admission or part of a multi-day pass. Lorick recommended keeping the free admission to those 2 and younger if they are accompanied by a paying adult.

Daily admission for those 3 to17 would increase 50 cents, from $3.50 to $4. Ten-punch swim cards would cost $32 instead of $28; 20-punch cards would be $56, up from $49; residents’ full-season passes would be $72 instead of $63; and non-residents’ season passes would be $80, up from $70.

Those 18 to 54 would pay $6 instead of $5.50 for daily admission; $48 instead of $44 for 10-punch cards; $84 instead of $77 for 20-punch cards; $138 instead of $126.50 for a resident’s season pass; and $152 instead of $139 for non-resident’s season pass.

Those 55 and older would pay $5 instead of $4.50 for daily passes; $40 instead of $36 for 10-punch swim cards; $70 instead of $63 for 20-punch cards; $115 instead of $103 for a resident’s season pass and $127 instead of $114 for non-resident’s season pass.

A daily family pass for up to five people would rise from $18 to $20.

The pool would continue to be available for parties for two-hour periods Saturdays and Sundays, and those fees would be increased, based on how many are expected to attend the party and the amenities those attending would expect the pool to provide.

Parent/tot swimming lesson prices would increase from $21 to $23 for residents and from $24 to 26 for non-residents. Group lessons for those 4 to adult age would rise to $33 from $31 for residents and $36 from $34 for nonresidents. Private lessons would be $25 each or $90 for four.

The cumulative increases are expected to bring in another $21,000 in revenues, Lorick told the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission. That is needed, because the pool operates in the red. In 2015, it took in $228,437 but spent $313,568; in 2016, revenues were $249,880 but spending was $340,980; and in 2017, revenues were $257,852 but spending was $353,565.

Projections for this year indicate that the gap between the two is shrinking, from more than 27 percent to about 25 percent, Lorick’s report said. However, the expected income of $278,852 that fee increases would help bring won’t match the anticipated spending of $371,565.

Lorick also is recommending increasing fees for ballfield use.

She is suggesting no changes in Field 5 of the Martinez Waterfront Park, and suggested modest increases in the hourly rates for other fields: a dollar increase to $10 for Golden Hills; an increase from $16.50 to $20 for Hidden Lakes’ two fields; an increase from $9 to $12 an hour for each of the two fields at Hidden Valley; and a cost of $10 an hour for Holiday Highlands.

The cost to use Mountain View Borman Field would go from $9 an hour to $12; Mountain View’s grass field rental would be $10 an hour; rental of each of the Morello Park Elementary School fields would be $12 an hour instead of $9 as would the Nancy Boyd Park baseball field; and Tavan Field would cost $20, not $18, an hour to rent, with an additional cost of $32 for lights.

Refundable security deposits of $150 for Field 5 and Tavan Field also would be required.

Of the other Waterfront Park fields, residents, non-residents and commercial groups have been paying $16.50, and that would rise to $25 for residents and $35 for non-residents and $40 for commercial interests. Light fees would go from $32 to $35.

Field preparation would be $40.

The commercial and professional category of fees of $40 an hour plus $35 an hour for lights if needed would also be charged the Martinez Clippers Baseball Corporation for reservations of Field 3 outside of game days, Lorick and Chandler wrote.

For the ball club’s normal game use of the field, it is paying a flat $250 a day under its license agreement adopted by the Council May 16. It also would pay the field preparation fee for situations outside its agreement with the city.

Also under consideration tonight is whether one member of the Planning Commission could come from outside the city limits, but would live in the city’s sphere of influence.

Under an ordinance that would be introduced for its first of two readings, no member would be required to live outside Martinez, and no more than one from the sphere of influence would be appointed at one time.

The Council will issue proclamations on National Donate Life and Alcohol Abuse Awareness and Friday Night Live.

The Council will meet at 6 p.m. in a closed session to continue negotiations with Richfield Real Estate Corporation on a price for the Alhambra Highlands property and with Contra Costa County for the price and payments for the historic old granite jail as well as to talk about legal matters.

The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 525 Alhambra Ave.

3 Replies to “Council to clarify intent in Dunivan waiver, considers new fee schedule tonight

  1. When will it end? Dunivans couldn’t be happy with the gift in hand, A SAVINGS OF $15,000 IN ANNEXATION FEES… they have to be greedy and knowing our illustrious Mayor, he will find a way to spend MORE of our tax dollars to help his friend and benefactor!!

  2. You said it Bill. This stinks in so many ways! Also, makes me wonder who they have in mind for the planning commission since they are now wishing to select outside the city limits by including the unincorporated as well? We, in the unincorporated areas of Martinez, currently have no say in building and planning issues in the city. Why would they want someone from outside the city limits? This has to be the most self entitled council ever.

  3. Dear lord, a woman made a 911 phone call in September but due to the wonky way the county vs the city lines were drawn in her neighborhood there was confusion over which agency (MPD or Sheriff’s Dept) had jurisdiction. As any dutiful son would, her son sought to end that confusion by asking the city to revisit it’s promise to include this parcel into the city’s limits as part of the overall Stonehurst annexation.

    I’m sure there is some backstory available in the Gazette’s printed and bound 2010 history books. Claiming there is no reference to this discussion is probably not entirely accurate. I have a faint recollection of the scenario but cannot recall if it was as a result of my involvement on the General Plan Update Task Force, or as a result of my employment at the Gazette during this time frame.

    It’s unfortunate the last name of the woman in distress happened to be Mrs. Earl Dunivan. Had this been Mrs. Jim Smith there would be no discussion. People would just assume the parcel was grandfathered into the original planned annexation and let it go.

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