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  • Report:  #2424

Complaint Review: Hollister California - Hollister California

Reported By:
- Tempe, Arizona,
Submitted:
Sun, June 11, 2000
Updated:
Sun, June 11, 2000

Hollister California
Hollister, California, U.S.A.
Web:
N/A
Categories:
Government Corruption

From: [email protected] (Advocates for Quality Home Construction)

Notice of intent to circulate petition

Notice is hereby given by the persons whose names appear hereon of their intention to circulate a petition within the City of Hollister California for the purpose of preserving Hollister from the impacts of excessive development and ensuring well-planned development instead of urban sprawl. Urban sprawl has caused a magnitude of problems such as: unsafe, overcrowded highways, understaffed schools, overburdened police and emergency personnel, and lack of sewage capacity.

" A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is as follows ":

This initiative is an amendment to the General Plan to manage and limit the rate of residential growth in the city. Hollister's population growth has continued at a rate greater than most cities in the state of California, with the exception of the 1999 moratorium. This has overwhelmed the City's ability to provide municipal services, plan for orderly growth, and provide for the health and safety of the citizens of Hollister.

The purpose of this measure is to:

a. Set a reasonable limit on population growth in Hollister through the fiscal year 2011/2012.

b. Have a slow down period for the first five years of this measure and set a milestone that the

City must reach in order to step up the rate of residential construction.

c. Bring substantially all residential development in the City within the planning controls set forth in this measure.

1.. The City must set up an allotment and point system for the distribution of building permits to insure organized growth and encourage quality construction.

e. Discourage urban sprawl, encourage development within the existing Hollister Urban Service Area, and preserve low-density development and agriculture zoning on land now outside the

urban service area.

f. Ensure that lands designated as greenbelts, paths, parks, and trails are preserved for

recreational and aesthetic uses.

1.. Enable citizens of Hollister to petition the City Council for a declaration of emergency

justifying suspension of issuance of new residential development allotment and building permits.

2.. Ensure continued controls on residential development as necessary to preserve Hollister's level of service and quality of life.

It is the intent of this initiative to ensure that new development in Hollister is kept to a prudent and reasonable level, and to ensure that development proceeds efficiently in a way that neither overwhelms the City's infrastructure nor destroys its unique character, while at the same time accommodating the city's fair share of regional housing needs. We consider this to be an Emergency Initiative because of the magnitude of problems the city is facing because of poor planning or the lack of planning by the present and past Hollister City Governments.

W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G

(Watchful And Trusted Citizens of Hollister Developing Organized Growth)

1700 Airline Highway, #315

Hollister, CA 95023

_________________________ ________________________

J. J. Vogel Tras Berg

_________________________ ________________________

Mary Vogel Sally McCain

_____________________________

Paul Grannis

INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE VOTERS

The City Attorney of Hollister has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. - (WATCHFUL AND TRUSTED CITIZENS of HOLLISTER DEVELOPING ORGANIZED GROWTH) INITIATIVE TO AMEND THE HOLLISTER GENERAL PLAN PERTAINING TO A SYSTEM CONTROLLING RESIDENTIAL GROWTH. This Initiative amends City's General Plan and Municipal Code adding the Residential Development System. Through fiscal year 2011/2012 development allotments are required for all residential development. Exempts one dwelling unit developments and secondary dwelling units (granny units). Allotments for residential construction will be calculated for the first 5 years at 1. 5% and 2% when State Regional Water Quality Control Board's set fifth year milestone is reached. Minimum of 33% of all allotments shall be awarded to moderate-income and moderate-income senior dwellings. Allotments awarded on points scored from a scale considering impacts of proposed development on schools, water supply system, sewer treatment plant, drainage, fire and police protection, traffic, and other municipal services. City Council shall design a system to provide for small developments. With certain exceptions, no residential development permitted during period of emergency or severe impaction of public facilities including: sewage facility out of compliance with California RWQCB, mandatory water rationing, and schools on double sessions or emergency overcrowding. Any citizen may petition City Council for declaration of emergency or severe impaction situation by petition signed by 4% of registered voters. Public benefits included in a proposal for development allocation must be secured in a permanent and enforceable manner. Lands designated 'open space', on General Plan land use/circulation map, are reaffirmed. Except for desirable infill as defined, City shall not request or support addition of any land to its urban service area. Excepting emergency aid agreements or existing well or septic system failure, no new extensions of urban services for residences beyond the City's urban service area shall be granted. To obtain allotments, minimum points, as described, based upon proposed development's relations to and impact upon local public facilities, services, quality of design, and extent of contribution to public welfare and amenities. Appeals from allotment awards may be made by project applicants, public agencies, and citizens filing a petition signed by one hundred fifty registered voters. Approval of units in a single residential development may be phased over no more than two fiscal years. Regulations effective immediately unless no further General Plan amendments are legally allowed in which case the General Plan is amended January 1 of the following calendar year. Amendments of General Plan and Municipal Code to conform with this ordinance required within 120 days of enactment.

Mission Statement

W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G, Watchful And Trusted Citizens of Hollister Developing Organized Growth, is a grass-roots political action group with the purpose of increasing community oversight of the city and county legislative actions in the area of development and land use. Our principal interest is the addition of a requirement for public approval, at the ballot box, for city and county legislative actions that might promote sprawl, poor land use, inadequate infrastructure and lowered quality of life. Besides requiring voter approval on major developments and land use changes, W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. supports urban limit lines, growth management controls, and other means of channeling development in ways that benfit the residents, employees and employers of the affected areas. W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. was founded in Hollister California in the year 2000 because of the damage that was being done to our quality of life because of the lack of planning by the present and past Hollister City Governments.

W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. - (Watchful And Trusted Citizens of Hollister Developing Organized Growth) INITIATIVE TO AMEND THE HOLLISTER GENERAL PLAN PERTAINING TO A SYSTEM CONTROLLING RESIDENTIAL GROWTH

The people of the City of Hollister do hereby ordain as follows:

Section 1.Title

This Initiative shall be known as the "W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. - (Watchful And Trusted Citizens of Hollister Developing Organized Growth) INITIATIVE TO AMEND THE HOLLISTER GENERAL PLAN PERTAINING TO A SYSTEM CONTROLLING RESIDENTIAL GROWTH"

Section 2.Findings and Purposes

The people of the City of Hollister (hereinafter called "the City") hereby find and declare as follows:

1.. Rapid residential growth is a matter of continuing concern to the people of the City.

The burdens on the City's services and related infrastructure problems associated with the City's explosive growth between 1994 and 1999 have become overwhelming.

The City's lack of proper planning has led to a stopgap approach to handling problems.

The City's high rate of development has shown no signs of diminishing. Hollister has been and continues to be accommodating more than its fair share of regional growth.

2.. Continuing rapid expansion during the last several years and projected future growth is overwhelming the City's ability to provide municipal services.

For example:

1.. The Hollister School districts and the San Benito school districts, find themselves with ever-increasing enrollment while facilities, supplies, and staffing levels of qualified teachers have not kept pace.

2.. The City's domestic sewer capacity is exhausted with a projected time frame of at least five years to provide for additional capacity on a long-term basis and improve treatment methods. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board has stated:

The City has known about the capacity problem for years and has continued to allow building beyond the capacity that the domestic treatment plant can process. In recent years the Domestic Plant's lack of disposal capacity has caused wastewater to accumulate and threaten to overtop into the San Benito River.

The temporary use of the industrial sewer ponds is a result of improper planning and is a matter of high controversy.

3.. Greater traffic within Hollister has caused congestion on the City's streets and at major intersections. Overwhelming increases in traffic on the major roads and highways have contributed to longer travel times and more automobile accidents and fatalities.

4.. Demands on the City's police and fire protection force continue to increase with the growing population and expansion of the City's service area.

5.. Uncontrolled growth has stressed many other services such as: Libraries, Health and Human Services, Solid Waste disposal, and Detention facilities.

6.. The San Benito County Grand Jury believes that the actions the city has taken, such as allowing the rate of new home construction to proceed at record levels, and things it has failed to do, such as leaving a key building department position unfilled for eight months, have contributed to the existence of construction problems that will plague the city and homeowners for years. (San Benito County Grand Jury report 1998-99).

1.. As stated many times by members of City Government, development projects do not provide all needed services through impact fees. This has imposed additional tax burdens on current residents. The City should use a form of assessment called a Linkage Fee to provide funds for construction of affordable housing. Developers must be required to provide funds and improvements necessary to provide all needed services to their development projects.

2.. While the present build-out has more than provided for its share of regional growth it has not provided enough very low-income, low income, and moderate income housing. This has caused the City's service workers, farm-workers, and community service providers to seek housing far from their own community and it has caused long waiting lists for affordable housing.

E. The City of Hollister is set back from main thoroughfares and surrounded by agricultural land, mountains, and rolling hills. This unique character of Hollister depends on its rural surroundings. In order to maintain this rural atmosphere, provide a buffer against development, and preserve a greenbelt legacy for future generations the City must take steps to preserve open spaces, agricultural lands, and public parklands in and around the City.

Section 3. Residential Development System

1.. Requirement of Allotments for all Residential Developments

Upon the effective date of this Initiative, up to and including fiscal year 2011/2012, no residential development shall be undertaken, and no residential building permit or entitlement shall be issued, in the City of Hollister unless a development allotment has been obtained in accordance with the provisions of this amended section of the General Plan.

2.. Number of Development Allotments

The number of residential construction allotments (building permits) shall be determined as follows: For the first five years after enactment of this amendment the residential construction allotments for the City will be 1.5% of Hollister's most current population figure divided by the average occupancy level per dwelling for this area, both of which are determined by the California Department of Finance. If the City meets the five year milestone of implementing all aspects of the long term wastewater management program as set by Order No. 00-20 of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the percentage of construction allotments issued will be raised from 1.5% to 2% of Hollister's population divided by the average occupancy level per dwelling for this area. If the milestone is not met, the residential construction allotments (number of building permits) shall remain at 1.5% of Hollister's previous year's population, divided by the average occupancy level per dwelling for this area. This will stay in effect until such time as stated milestone is met, unless an Emergency or Severe Impaction Situation is enacted which calls for the halt of all building permits being issued.

The number of development allotments shall be divided between conventional single family dwellings, mobile homes, and multiple family dwellings in a manner determined each year by the City Council. The total number of allotments to be assigned each year for moderate-income and moderate-income senior dwelling units will be 33 percent of the total. The City Council may, if it chooses, further divide the allotments according to geography, price, development size, and similar criteria as deemed necessary to provide for the general welfare. The City should use a form of assessment called a Linkage Fee to provide funds for construction of affordable housing. Developers must be required to provide funds and necessary improvements to provide all needed services to their development projects.

3.. Exceptions To Number Of Development Allotments

The exceptions are: one dwelling unit developments which are not part of a current, planned, or potentially larger subdivision; secondary dwelling units ("granny units"); and the low-income and very-low income housing as set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and local Council of Governments (COG). This exception includes low to very low-income senior housing, apartments, and nonresidential development. The Residential Development System provisions of this section shall apply to all types of residential development in the City of Hollister, including single family (which includes mobile homes) and multi-family housing.

C. Development Allotment Applications and Evaluations

The annual development allotments shall be allocated to proposed developments in accordance with the Residential Development System. Any development agreement issued subsequent to the publication of this amendment shall be subject to the provisions of this amendment. This system shall provide for awards of development allotments based on the number of points scored for all development proposals for each year. The point scale used shall take into account the impact of the proposed development on the following public facilities and services: schools, water supply systems, sanitary sewer and treatment plant, drainage and runoff, fire and police protection, traffic, and other municipal services.

Proposed developments shall be awarded points for provision of schools and related facilities, open space, orderly and contiguous development, public facilities, parks and trails, low and moderate income housing and housing for the elderly, and diversity of housing types; and for quality of architectural design and site design.

Small residential developments provide special benefits to the City by encouraging local developers, providing design variety, and promoting utilization of smaller lots. These developments do not impose as high a burden on municipal services as do larger projects because their demands are incremental and they lend to be infill developments. Such small developments may be unable to compete with larger developments on terms of the levels of amenities provided. In order to treat small developments in a manner reflecting their benefits to the community, a system shall be designed to provide for small development through appropriate means selected by the City Council, such as a separate small project competition and a more streamlined and less costly process.

In implementing the provisions of the Residential Development System and making awards of development allocations, the City Council shall comply with Government Code sections 66000.

D. Emergency Situations

No residential development shall be permitted during a period of emergency or severe impaction of public facilities, as declared by the City Council. The declaration of an emergency or severe impaction situation may be based on determinations of emergency overcrowding of the City's school districts, mandatory water rationing, sewage system operation out of compliance with guidelines set by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, or other endangerment to the public health, safety, or welfare. The Council shall, in implementing this provision, comply with the provision of the Government code section 65858.

E. Open Space Conversions

1.. No development allocations shall be awarded for a development proposal pursuant to this chapter and the Residential Development System unless the public benefits included in the proposal are secured in a permanent and enforceable manner. Lands that are designated for private or public open space, greenbelts, parks, paths trails, or similar scenic and recreation uses in a residential development allotment application under this section shall, once the application is approved, be limited to the uses specified in the application through the use of permanent dedications, easements, or similar devices.

2.. With respect to development allocations already awarded wherever legally possible no further building permits shall be granted for a project until such public benefits specified in the development application (designed by the city), particularly but not exclusively open space dedications, have been secured in a permanent and enforceable manner.

3.. The lands within the city of Hollister that are designated "Open Space" on the Hollister General Plan Land Use map are hereby reaffirmed. This provision shall not prevent the City Council from designating additional land as open space.

F. Urban Services Extensions

The City of Hollister shall grant no new extension of urban services for residences beyond its Urban Service Area except in the event that: 1) Hollister has entered into a mutual aid reciprocal emergency agreement for police, fire, or other emergency services to be provide by City facilities on County land; or 2) an owner of an existing development requests an extension due to the failure of an existing septic system or well and the City Council makes a finding that denial of services to that development would have a direct adverse impact on the public health and safety.

G. Hollister's Residential Development System by Amendment to Hollister General Plan.

Paragraph A through F of this section shall be added to the General Plan of the City of Hollister and shall be entitled " Residential Development System." Nothing in these paragraphs shall prevent the City from making appropriate provisions for small residential developments in compliance with paragraph C in section 2 of this initiative.

Section 4. Point System

A. The Hollister Department of Planning with the City Council shall establish a system of specific standards and criteria to direct the Planning Commission in the assignment of points for the allocation of residential building permits. The point system will commence 120 days after enactment of this amendment to the City's General Plan. The incurred cost of implementing the point system will be included in cost of application for residential building permits. The point system shall consist of, but not be limited to, the herewithin stated categories and sub-categories.

Category One:

Each proposed development shall be examined for its relation to an impact upon the local public facilities and services. The appropriate city departments or outside public agencies shall provide recommendations to the Planning Department and the Planning Department shall rate each development by assigning points for each of the following:

1.. The capacity of the appropriate schools to absorb the children expected to inhabit proposed development without necessitating or adding of double sessions, other unusual scheduling, or site or classroom overcrowding. (Written evaluation from the affected School Districts)

2.. The ability and capacity of the sanitary sewer distribution and domestic treatment plant facilities to dispose of the waste of the proposed development without system extension beyond those which the developer will consent to provide. (Comments from the Hollister Public Works Director)

3.. The ability and capacity of the water system to provide the needs of the proposed development without system extension beyond those which the developer will consent to provide. (Comments from the Hollister Public Works Director)

4.. The ability and capacity of the drainage facilities to adequately dispose of the surface runoff at the proposed development without system extensions beyond those which the developer will consent to provide. (Comments from the affected Water Districts and the Hollister Director of Public works)

5.. The ability of the Fire Department of the City of Hollister to provide fire protection according to an established response standard without the necessity to establish a new station or required addition of major equipment to an existing station. The ability of the Police Department to provide adequate patrols for residential development and traffic safety without the necessity of acquiring new equipment or personnel. (Comments from Police and Fire departments)

6.. The ability and capacity of major street linkage to provide for the needs of the proposed development without substantially altering existing street system. The availability of public facilities (such as libraries, youth centers, parks, and playgrounds) to meet the additional demands for vital public services with extension of services beyond those provided by the developer. (Comments from appropriate department heads)

Category Two:

Each proposed development shall be examined for its contribution to public welfare and amenities. The proposed development shall be examined for its quality of design.

1.. The provision of needed schoolrooms in the form of permanent or re-locatable buildings or the provision of other mitigating measures attested by agreement with the affected school districts. The Category shall be reserved for criteria such as the development's impact on existing bus routes, classrooms, or site overcrowding.

2.. The provision of public and/or private usable open space and where applicable, greenbelts.

3.. The provision of needed public facilities such as critical linkages in the major street system, transit facilities such as train and bus stops, and other vital public facilities.

4.. Provision of parks, foot or bicycle paths, equestrian trails or pathways.

5.. The provision of units to meet the City's need for low and moderate income housing as defined for San Benito County by the California Housing and Community Development Agency. The extent to which such provision meets the goals of the housing element of the General Plan to include the distribution of housing types to provide neighborhoods of ethnic and economic diversity.

6.. The extent to which the proposed development itself consists of diversity of housing types to meet the goals of the housing element of the General Plan.

7.. Architectural design quality as indicated by the quality of construction and by the architectural elevations of proposed construction judged in terms of architectural style, color balance with natural environment, amount and quality of landscaping.

8.. Site and architectural design quality as indicated by the arrangement of the site for efficiency of circulation, on and off site traffic, safety and privacy.

9.. Site design quality in adapting the development to the setting, including the preservation of vegetation, trees, natural terrain, and other natural and environmental features.

Category Three:

The proposed development will have the opportunity to gain points by raising environmental standards.

1.. The home installation of salt-less water softeners, and or drinking water

filtration systems.

2.. The home installation of alternative energy or energy conserving systems. These include systems such as solar energy, passive home heating systems, instantaneous hot water heating, or hot water timer systems.

3.. The planting of low maintenance vegetation to prevent erosion on slopes and hillsides of the proposed development.

4.. Any water conservation measures that significantly decrease water usage such vegetation with low water requirements or drought resistance, water conserving appliances, gray water recycling, or any other water saving measures.

B. Appeals to City Council

Any citizen or group of citizens may appeal to City Council the evaluation of any applicant's award of allotments by filing with the city clerk a petition signed by one hundred and fifty registered voters of the City within thirty days after the notice of evaluation has been mailed to the applicant. The City Clerk shall place the appeal on the next agenda for a regular Council meeting. The City Council shall consider the appeal at such regular meeting at which time the council will hear the applicant, his representative, or such other person as may be able to assist the Council in the determination of the matter on appeal.

Section 5. Emergency Situation or Severe Impact of Public Facilities

An emergency or severe impaction situation shall be any one or more of the following:

1.. Sewage system operation is out of compliance with guidelines as set by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

2.. Mandatory City water rationing measures in effect.

3.. Schools in any of Hollister's School Districts on double sessions, or if any of Hollister's School Districts has declared that an emergency overcrowding condition exists. Emergency overcrowding may be declared for one or more schools, based on criteria established by the joint consensus of Hollister's School Districts, including but not limited to a specified percent of student enrollment beyond a determined capacity of the affected schools.

4.. Any of Hollister's School Districts or other public agency providing services essential to the public health and safety notifies City Council in writing or by resolution that its ability to meet the public needs is severely impacted.

5.. Any other endangerment to public health, safety, or welfare which the City Council determines to exist for the purposes of this section.

If any of these specified conditions exist, then the City Council shall certify an emergency or severe impaction situation.

In addition, any citizen or group of citizens may petition the City Council for a declaration of an imposition of an emergency or severe impaction situation. This is accomplished by filing with the City Clerk a petition signed by four per cent of the registered voters of the City of Hollister. The City Council at their next regularly scheduled meeting must then vote on a resolution of emergency or severe impaction situation. Certification and decertification of a petitioned emergency condition requires a minimum of three affirmation votes for passage.

In the event such an emergency or severe impaction is certified, no building permit and no allotment shall be issued, unless the City Council first specifically finds that the building permit or specific allotment allocation will not contribute additionally to the existing emergency or severe impaction situation, or that the building permit or specific allotment has adequately mitigated its additional impact. Nothing herein shall permit the City to issue either a building permit or allotment during a period of emergency or severe impaction unless approved before the emergency situation or severe impaction was enacted.

The Planning Department shall review all certified emergency or severe impaction situations at least quarterly, and shall report its findings to the City Council, and notice of such findings shall be placed on the City Council agenda and published in a newspaper of general circulation. If the City Council finds, based on the Planning Department's report, that the certified emergency or severe impaction situation no longer exists, it shall decertify the emergency.

In implementing this section, the City Council shall comply with the provisions of Government Code section 65858. Where those provisions conflict with this ordinance, the state statute shall prevail.

Section 6. Annual Report

The City Administrative Officer shall cause to be prepared and delivered to the City Council an annual report concerning the implementation of this Initiative specifically including but not limited to a statement of the number of building permits issued as compared to the number of permits allowed based on the allotments and types set forth in this Initiative.

Section 7. Vested Property Rights

This Initiative shall not be applied or constructed so as to effect the taking of property.

Section 8. Implementation and Consistency

Within 120 days of the operative date of this Initiative, the City shall adopt or enact any necessary general plan amendments, ordinances, policies or actions necessary to implement the policies specified in this general plan amendment. The City shall not enact any legislation inconsistent with this Initiative. Upon the effective date of this Initiative, this Initiative shall be deemed inserted in the Hollister General Plan, unless all general plan amendments allowed by state and local law have already been approved during the calendar year in which this initiative is enacted, in which case this general plan amendment shall be deemed inserted on January 1 of the following calendar year. As of the date this Initiative is deemed inserted, the General Plan of the City of Hollister shall be interpreted so as to give immediate effect to the provisions of this Initiative.

Section 9. Duration

This amendment shall remain in effect until fiscal year 2011-2012 or until amended or repealed by the voters of the City of Hollister at a municipal election.

Section 10. Consistency with State and Federal Law

The provisions of this Initiative shall not apply to the extent, but only to the extent, that they would violate the Constitution or laws of the United States or the State of California.

Section 11. Severability and Interpretation

A. Severability. If any provision or application of any provision of this Initiative is held unconstitutional or violative of any state or federal law, the invalidation shall not affect the validity of any other provision or application of any provision or ordinance. The voters of Hollister declare that the provisions and applications of the provisions of the ordinance are severable and would have been enacted as they were even though any other provision or application of applications are held unconstitutional or otherwise violative of law.

B. Interpretation. This Initiative shall be broadly construed in order to achieve the purposes stated in this Initiative. It is the intent of the voters that the provisions of this measure shall be interpreted by the City and others in a manner which facilitates the protection of lands designated Agriculture, Open Space, and Greenbelts located in the City of Hollister, and to ensure continued controls on residential development as to preserve Hollister's level of service and quality of life.

Section 12. Competing Initiative Measures

In the event there are competing initiative measures on the same ballot with this measure that purport to address the same subject matter of this measure, the following rules shall apply: If more than one such measure passes, then both measures shall go into effect except to the extent that particular provisions of one initiative are in direct, irreconcilable conflict with particular provisions of another initiative. In that event, as to those conflicting provisions only, the provisions of the initiative which received the most votes shall prevail.

Section 13. Amendment or Repeal

The amendment adopted by this Initiative may be amended or repealed by the voters of the City of Hollister at a municipal election.



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