RED BLUFF

CITY COUNCIL

SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES

 

 

DATE OF MEETING:          February 13, 2006

 

 

TIME OF MEETING:           6:15 P.M. Closed Executive Meeting

7:00 P.M. Special Meeting

 

 

PLACE OF MEETING:       RED BLUFF COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL

 

 

Councilmembers Present:          Andy Houghton, Mayor

                                                            Wayne Brown, Mayor Pro Tem

Forrest Flynn

Daniel Irving

Larry Stevens

 

                       

Councilmembers Absent:            None

 

                                                                       

Staff Present:                                  Susan Price, City Manager

Gerry Gray, Interim Fire Chief

                                                            Al Shamblin, Police Chief

                                                            Charlie Mullen, Planning Director

                                                            J D Ellison Sr., Building Director/Official

                                                            Mark Barthel, Public Works Director

                                                            Cheryl Smith, Deputy City Clerk

                                                            Donna Gordy, City Treasurer

 

 

Gerry Gray, Interim Fire Chief, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the request of Mayor Houghton and the Assemblage joined in.


CLOSED EXECUTIVE SESSION   - 6:15 P.M.

 

 

CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS

 

Executive Session in accordance with Government Code Section 54956.8 –

 

            Conference with Real Property Negotiators

                       

                        1.         Assessor’s Parcel Number 035-490-40

 

2.                  Assessor’s Parcel Number 031-220-17

 

Mayor Houghton reported that the City Council had given direction to the City Manager and Public Works Director on Real Property Negotiations.

 

 

SPECIAL MEETING - 7:00 P.M.

 

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS

 

There were no comments.

 

 

TIME EXTENSION REQUEST – WALNUT STREET BEAUTIFICATION AND PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

 

Mark Barthel, Public Works Director, reviewed the staff report and the attached Request for Time Extension and:

 

                  1.   Authorize the Public Works Director and City Manager to sign the Request for Time Extension and submit the request to CalTrans or;

 

2.      Provide other direction to staff.

     

Councilmember Stevens requested clarification on the purpose of creating bulb outs and if they were created to be used as a traffic calming tool and to also accommodate diagonal parking.  He questioned if this would change the similar bulb outs in the downtown demonstration project area.  He requested clarification on the chances of getting the extension.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that the initial concept was to create a series of diagonal and parallel parking and for traffic calming.  Once staff got to the point of getting the engineering down to seeing where all these bulb outs were going to be, the ramifications of the actual design, there was concern with not only the size of the bulb outs, but the necessity for them, some of the alignment problems that would exist in the street where the centerline would not match up.  Staff felt that there were other ways to enhance pedestrian safety and improve the traffic flow at the same time without the parallel parking.  What staff is proposing is that this be brought to the business owners’ downtown for some type of review and that there are two issues that need the extension of time and that staff would like to review this in light of the changes within the City as well as the growth.   Mr. Barthel stated that the chance of the City receiving the extension is good, based on the timeline that was given.

 

Councilmember Irving requested clarification on how the bulb outs interfered with traffic.  He questioned if the way that this is used to slow down traffic was because they would have to make a slower sharper turn. 

 

Mr. Barthel stated that the bulb outs stick quite away out into the intersection.

 

Susan Price, City Manager, used the engineer’s drawing to show where the bulb outs stick out into the intersection making it a shorter distance to cross.  There are other alternatives than bulb outs for access at the intersections.  She stated that yes the bulb outs narrow down the traffic.

 

Charlie Mullen, Planning Director, stated that one of the things that staff asked themselves was what would be the ramifications of putting in these bulb outs and that with the amount of traffic that is currently on Walnut Street and the growing of the City out to the west, both inside the City and out in the County that is increasing the traffic on Walnut Street and it’s the major east west connection from western Red Bluff to Main Street and staff was concerned that traffic mobility and flows could be reduced.  If so this may cause diversion of traffic into other areas of town without the City having a plan for it.  So these are some of the areas that staff would like to review and take some time to take a better look at the project.

 

J. D. Ellison, Building Director/Official, stated that another item that wasn’t visible shown was that ADA was not designed into the curbs and that the bulb outs were all step down.

 

Ms. Price stated that this was a draft conceptual plan and one of the things that staff did take the draft conceptual plan and put it into an actual engineering document.

 

Mr. Mullen stated that it is not uncommon for a landscape architect to design something that has design issues.  City Staff’s goal is that it be done to assist the citizen’s of Red Bluff, the handicapped community as well as, and not have to get torn out in 5 to 10 years due to increased traffic volumes.

 

Councilmember Flynn clarified that the demonstration project on Washington Street would stay intact.

 

Ms. Price stated that was correct and that this funding was specific to this particular project, however this entire project was discussed as it relates to the project.

 

Motion by Councilmember Stevens to accept staff’s recommendation and authorize the Public Works Director and the City Manager sign the TDA Project paperwork.

 

Mayor Houghton called for and received no second at this time.

 

Ms. Price stated that this was not deciding about the bulb outs, this was just asking for an extension for the funding, absent the extension the Public Works Director could speak to the compressed time frame that CalTrans has placed the City under when they initially authorized the funding. 

 

Councilmember Flynn stated that although there was a motion on the floor, he could not make a decision until he had an answer to a couple more questions.  His question was regarding the funding, knowing that a certain amount of funding was available, but what that dollar amount would be worth in 18 months and would the City still be able to complete the project.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that he believed the project could still be completed and that there was not a significant amount as some of the sensitive items.  These are tree grates and metal decorative lights.  There is some PVC pipe included, but did not see where this was a project that was going to accelerate significantly in 18 months.

 

Ms. Price stated that a list was included in the staff report and that it included removing trees, installing trees and that a scope for the project was included.

 

Councilmember Irving questioned the cost of the delay and if we were endangering funding by asking for an extension.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that if the City did not approve the request for the extension the City will lose the funding because of the timeline allowed by CalTrans, which was design and construction within one year.  After review in late December he felt that there was a significant problem with the opposing traffic facing each other, the room for cars to pass through, parking, which was designed for a compact car.

 

Councilmember Irving asked what would happen if the request was denied.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that the funding would be lost.

 

Councilmember Flynn stated that funding would be lost even if we did not ask for the extension because the project was not ready to move forward with.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that was correct and that the City was put in an almost impossible position as they also have a requirement now that all plans must go to the state architect for review.  Staff had to pretty much design the whole thing.

 

Ms. Price stated that meant going from the landscape architect concept and taking it to the actual engineering documents.

 

Councilmember Irving questioned if Mr. Barthel had any sense as to the likely hood of being turned down for an extension.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that from the local assistance people at CalTrans they indicated that they did not see any reason why we would be denied an extension.

 

Ms. Price stated that these were TE Funds (Transportation Enhancement Funds) and that she did not believe that the City had ever had these before.  Staff could be in attendance and plead our case in front of the California Transportation Commission when this is heard on April 26th and 27th. 

 

Councilmember Stevens stated that it may not be a bad idea to go down, as when the City started this project staff had no idea that with the growth the City is currently experiencing and the changes in State Law.  He felt that this would show that the City wants to do this right the first time and he did not feel that the City could be faulted for that.

 

M/S/C Stevens, Flynn to accept staff’s recommendation and authorize the Public Works Director and the City Manager sign the TDA Project paperwork.

 

Councilmember Irving questioned if Dr. Clark had anything to say.

 

Ron Clark stated that he was amazed at the number of studies are passed and then you find out that they are flawed.  The same questions about the bulb outs were asked of the Fire Department; Councilmember Stevens stated that these were needed to slow things down as it was a traffic hazard and that it was a danger for pedestrians to cross that wide of a street.  The Downtown merchants just found out Saturday that this meeting was being held and the first notice they had was in Saturday’s paper.  They have spent thousands of dollars on the street beautification.  The problem that they see is that all these studies are done, why bother to do them if after they’re adopted you look at them and say that handicap ramps aren’t included.  Wanted to know who was looking at these projects and why we’re paying to have these studies done and then turn around and make changes.  The Downtown merchant’s complaint is the lack of constructive notice and communication to them by City staff. 

 

Ms. Price stated that one of the reasons to ask for the extension is to have the constructive notice and a public meeting.

 

Mr. Barthel stated that the Downtown Demonstration Project was not being abandoned, but this is a look at this particular intersection.  The street lights and irrigation are not going away.

 

Linda Bullock, merchant, questioned why it took so long to say that there are problems with the design, with work going on.

 

Ms. Price stated that she did not think they were saying that and that the whole purpose of this was because of CalTrans compressing the time frame and that staff also wanted to look at alternatives.

 

Gerry Gray, Interim Fire Chief, stated that as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee they were not opposed to the project, but there are new rules and regulations involving ADA requirements that may require these bulb outs to be longer.  If they become longer then there are access issues that need to be addressed.  A lot of this was conceptualized in the late 90’s when Red Bluff was a different place and Walnut Street was a lot less aggressive than it is right now.  Staff sees the potential to create a gridlock on Walnut Street and asking additional time to bring the Downtown Merchants some more considerations based upon changes that the community has sustained.

 

Dr. Clark stated that these arguments are the same arguments that they have had since the 80’s and what was frustrating is the lack of institutional memory of all those meetings held out at the Ag Annex.  Walnut Street and Baker Road were seen as four lane streets, two lanes each direction.  They understand that there’s going to be more traffic, but what happens to the information from these studies.

 

Councilmember Flynn stated that as the rules change with ADA they have to be addressed and he did not realize that the bulb outs had to change size to accommodate the ADA requirements.  Also there is a time element that was the reason to have this special meeting to address this issue.

 

Ms. Price stated that was correct, because staff wanted to get this request to CalTrans as soon as possible.

 

Liz Merry questioned when City staff decided to have this meeting as the paper had the article in Saturday’s paper.

 

Ms. Price stated that the paper did not have everything accurate and that this was a request for a time extension to make sure that if there is anything that needs to be addressed it can be.

 

Ms. Bullock questioned if there was an option that had already been drawn up or did it have to go back to Land Image.

 

Mr. Barthel stated it did not need to go back to Land Image and that there were lots of options.  He felt that there were serious issues that need to be addressed.

 

Dr. Clark stated that one item that they had a question about, that came up at a City Council meeting was that if Washington Street was narrowed on and had diagonal parking on the west side and the other on the east side, you could not get a car to go straight and traffic would be backing up single file because you couldn’t turn right on to Walnut street.  These issues were all discussed and all the City Staff said that was they wanted.  It’s very frustrating to them to keep up with where people are at with this particular section of downtown.  They were told that it was a pedestrian unfriendly area.

 

Mayor Houghton stated that there was no reason doing it now if there was going to be problems.

 

Dr. Clark stated that he did not think that Walnut Street is the place to put these.

 

Mayor Houghton stated that he did like the bulb outs and that they did work.

 

Councilmember Flynn requested clarification that this would not slow up the Washington Street Demonstration Project and that it would continue.

 

Ms. Price stated that was correct.

 

Mayor Houghton restated the motion which was:

 

M/S/C Stevens, Flynn to accept staff’s recommendation and authorize the Public Works Director and the City Manager sign the TDA Project paperwork.

 

AYES:            Councilmembers:      Brown, Flynn, Houghton, Irving and Stevens

NOES:                                               None

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING:         None

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

At 7:45 P.M. Mayor Houghton adjourned the meeting to February 21, 2006 at 7:00 P.M., in the Red Bluff City Council Chambers.

 

 

s/b Andy Houghton, Mayor

 

 

 

ATTEST:

s/b Gloria Shepherd, City Clerk