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Your City Council: Town Hall Meeting Called Over Sycamore North, Parcel C Development

Hercules City Manager Steve Duran will schedule the meeting, which will likely take place in May.

Apartments, restaurants, and retail – the future of Hercules development will be on the agenda for an upcoming town hall meeting.

The Hercules City Council Tuesday night directed City Manager Steve Duran to set a date for a town hall meeting for the public, city staff, council members, planning commissioners and the real estate brokers responsible for marketing Sycamore North and Parcel C.

The council clashed over whether to a meeting to discuss the two properties, both of which the city is in the midst of selling to developers. Ultimately, the council agreed to direct Duran, who had his own reservations over calling such a meeting, to make the public forum happen. The meeting will include a brief overview of the city’s general plan and a discussion about how the city marketed and chose buyers for Sycamore North and Parcel C, which will likely be developed with more residential units and less retail than residents anticipated.  

Citizens who showed up at Tuesday’s meeting— many who said they felt left out of the city’s recent real estate maneuvers — also urged the council to hold a town hall meeting, and soon.

“Perception is everything…and our perception of the council is not good when we get shut down and (told that our voice doesn’t matter),” said resident Selina Williams.

“We’re trying to repair the reputation of the city,” said newly appointed planning Commissioner Ken Morrison. “If we’re going to have turmoil over projects coming in…that could really shut down (commercial developers’) interest in coming to the city,” he said.

Duran said it might take several weeks to set up the meeting. It will be held on a weekday evening or Saturday morning.

The meeting:

8, CITY MANAGER REPORTS AND RESOLUTIONS

1. Receive And File Report Regarding Council Appointment Of Finance Director - "Can be amended only through a voter initiative. Only by a vote of the people can the power of the city manager be amended," City Attorney Patrick Tang said.

2. Receive Report and Consider Approval Of Specific Changes Requested By Council Members To A Strategic Plan For Hercules, First Drafted October 25, 2011 As Updated With Community, City Councils And Staff Input And Dated February 14, 2012. APPROVED WITH A 4-1 VOTE, WITH COUNCILWOMAN DEVERA VOTING "NO."

3. Receive Report And Conduct Discussion Regarding The Issue Of The City Of
Hercules Share Of Property Tax Collected Within The City Limits And Direct Staff
As To Next Steps Involved With Increasing The City’s Share Of Property Tax.

4. Receive Report And Conduct Discussion Regarding The Pros And Cons, Costs And Benefits Of Having A Town Hall Meeting Of A Study Session To Discuss City
Planning Issues And/Or Retail Strategies.

5. Receive Report And Consider Eliminating Or Suspending The City’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance And Direct Staff Accordingly.

6. Adopt A Resolution Approving A Financial Advisory Services Contract With
Bodington & Company In The Amount Not To Exceed $359,500 For A Minimum Of A Six Month Term Commencing April 25, 2012 To Assist Staff With The Sale Or Lease Of The Hercules Municipal Utility (HMU).--MOVED TO A LATER MEETING.

7:45 CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The Appropriation And Expenditures Of An Amount Not To Exceed $13,068 For The Purchase Of Recycling Bins (Trash, Plastic And Cans) For The Community Centers For Fiscal Year 2011-12. ADOPTED 5-0.

2. Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Execute An Agreement With TranSystems For An Amount Not To Exceed $22,934.00 To Conduct A City-Wide Speed Survey Establishing And Certifying Speeds For The Purpose Of Radar Enforcement. ADOPTED 5-0.

7:40, SPECIAL RESOLUTION

The council unanimously adopts a resolution to approve the drafts redevelopment obligation payment schedule.

7:20, PUBLIC COMMENT

Bill Kelly, Talks about open government and transparency. Asks the city to avoid the appearances of impropriety. There are a lot of people who are criticizing the openness of this city’s current government, he says. “We need to believe that you’re being honest and open with us…”

Sarah Creeley, Encourages residents to stop by 166 Midship during the citywide garage sale to buy items that will go to benefit the Hercules Public Library.

Alex Abetkov, "I'm here to speak in support of Measure O...please join together with the Hercules Police Officers Association...vote 'yes' on Measure O."

Sandy Macaulay, Manages library volunteers "April is national volunteer month...we have that time set aside in April to (celebrate) our volunteers...(these) folks are working for all of us." Thanks individuals and businesses who donated to the library.

Representative for Mountain Mike's Brett Murphy, Encourages residents to try out the recently-opened pizza place.

Jojo Soriano, "We need to create a space for businesses and retail...so let's keep that alive." Speaks about the newly-opened .

Resident Toni Leance, "This council is bending to the will of Steve Duran...He needs to be admonished...You are turning over the keys to the city to him..."

7:18, The HMU item will be pulled to be discussed at a later meeting.

7:16, Mayor Romero recognizes City Clerk Doreen Mathews "for the vital services she performs for exemplary" service to this community.

7:14, The moment of silence is for Mayor Dan Romero's father, Alonzo Romero, who passed away this month.

7:12 p.m., No reportable action from closed session.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Sarah Creeley April 26, 2012 at 02:32 PM
At this City Council meeting Sandy spoke during public comment about our library and the Hercules Community Library Foundation's new website. I encourage folks to check it out at www.HerculesLibraryFoundation.com
Susan D.Keeffe April 26, 2012 at 07:30 PM
While I was initially happy the Council decided to go ahead with a Town Hall meeting, despite staff opposition, as they talked I became increasingly dismayed. What they talked about was a City Council presentation meeting open to the public in which they use our tax dollars to pay for the developers whose projects they support to come and tell us, again, why their developments are good. That is not, in my opinion, a Town Hall Meeting. It is a non-Town Hall Meeting. What I was hoping for was an opportunity for an open dialogue between the citizens of Hercules and the council with the Agenda being agreed upon at the beginning of the meeting, not pre-planned, pre-staged. We have had plenty of "talking heads", now, can't we just talk to each other and learn from each other?
Susan D.Keeffe April 26, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Dan, I am so sorry about your loss. I know this is a difficult time for you and for family. My heartfelt condolences.
Douglas Bright April 26, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Do you want the character of your city to shape the new development, or do you want the new development to shape the character of the city? - Here is a pretty good article: http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2012/April/McMahonDistinctive
Dwayne Hoover April 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Douglas, Good article. Our council and our city staff need to read it.

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