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Council to review homeless shelter state requirements

POSTED February 4, 2011 10:37 p.m.

The state-mandated effort to designate an area of Turlock where homeless shelters can be constructed without special approval is back on the Turlock City Council’s agenda in a special, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

The meeting, to be held in conjunction with the Turlock Planning Commission, will review potential approaches to establish a permitting process for homeless shelters in the City of Turlock.

Under the requirements of Senate Bill 2, approved by the California Legislature in 2007, the City of Turlock must define an area where homeless shelters can be built without needing council or Planning Commission approval. Turlock may either define a zoning area where shelters are allowed – such as industrial or commercial – or draw a zoning overlay on the map, designating a certain geographical region for shelters.

At a SB2 community meeting in February 2010, groups of Turlockers endorsed overlays centered in or near downtown Turlock. The smallest suggestion was just a narrow strip between C and D streets, while the largest was a zigzagging overlay stretching from Golden State Boulevard to Hwy. 99, all south of Main Street.The staff report for Tuesday’s meeting suggests the city study an area comprised of all overlays suggested by attendees of that meeting. Not all of the study area will likely be included in the final zoning overlay.The area chosen by the City of Turlock must be large enough to reasonably accommodate the total need. In Turlock’s case, a town which has between 400 and 500 homeless, a shelter would likely need to accommodate about 100 indviduals.

Cities are allowed to implement some design standards on shelter development under SB2, including shelter density, aesthetics, size, and even some operation requirements.  Until a set of standards are developed for shelter construction, the city cannot determine how many structures could reasonably be built in a tract of land.

A draft version of design standards, included in Tuesday’s agenda packet, suggest a starting set of criteria which include a minimum parking requirement and call for a licensed/bonded security guard during intake periods, both derided by Turlock homeless service providers as too costly. The draft standards also provide different standards for different zoning districts, allowing for larger facilities in industrial zones, and smaller shelters in residential districts.

The council and Planning Commission will discuss whether the draft standards and the study area would make a good jumping off point for the community to discuss at pending public workshops on the issue. They also will be asked whether residential zones should be included in the study area, and whether the draft standards appear compatible with zoning districts.

The bill does not require the City of Turlock to fund the construction or operation of homeless shelters, merely to remove any bureaucratic hurdles which prevent homeless service providers from building emergency housing.

A final document explaining how Turlock will address SB2 is due to the state by August.

 

The Turlock City Council is also scheduled to:

·         Provide direction as to whether or not the City of Turlock would support the Stanislaus County Council of Governments’ pursuit of a new, ½ cent sales tax to benefit transportation projects. Efforts to implement such a tax failed in 2006 and 2008.
Should the county approve such a tax, it would not only receive funds from that tax to perform street maintenance and expand roadways. The county would also become eligible for millions in additional state and federal transportation funds, which it currently cannot access as it is not a “self-help” county.

·         Consider directing the city engineer to construct road improvements with $573,600 in Prop 42 and Prop 1B funds. On the docket for improvement are Taylor Road from Berkeley Avenue to the eastern city limit, Quincy Road from Swan Park Drive to the northern city limit, Daubenberger Road north of Canal Drive, and Kilroy Road from Spengler Road to Linwood Road.
The projects would be designed, bidded, and constructed prior to the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
The four road improvements would come instead of repaving Monte Vista Avenue from Geer Road to Dels Lane in advance of the NCAA Track and Field finals, as requested by Vice Mayor Amy Bublak at the Jan. 25 council meeting. According to the staff report, there is likely not enough time to repave Monte Vista Avenue prior to May 1. The roadway is, however, scheduled to be repaired in 2012/2013 fiscal year.

·         Hear a request to change the time regular City Council meetings are held, from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m., as suggested by Bublak.

·         Consider approving a $32,000 loan from the Redevelopment Agency Affordable Housing Development Fund to Habitat for Humanity to rehabilitate a home located at 350 Minerva.

·         Receive an update on the Turlock Partnership Incentives Program, which offers new businesses a discount on city fees.

·         Award a bid for $10,850 with Modesto Sand and Gravel to demolish the Pizza Hut located at 201 W. Olive. The Pizza Hut is the final remaining building on the parcel of land set to become the Public Safety Facility.

·         Authorize hiring to replace three recently vacated positions within the Municipal Services Utilities Division, either through in-house recruitment or outside recruitment if necessary.
The vacancies were created by one resignation and two retirements. Due to a growth in water and sewer infrastructure, current staffing levels cannot properly maintain the systems, the staff report reads.
The positions would be funded with existing Enterprise Funds, and would not use General Fund dollars. Additionally, all three positions will be entry level, reclassified from higher-level, more costly posts.

·         Direct the Planning Commission to consider renaming Turlock’s industrial park, the Westside Industrial Specific Plan, and to present recommendations to the council.

·         Hear a request to amend Turlock fire codes to meet current International Fire Codes for 2010.

·         Hear a briefing on California State University, Stanislaus from Pamela Contreras, vice president external of Associated Students, Inc.

 

The Turlock City Council will begin their regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. The special meeting, where the council will meet with the Planning Commission to discuss SB2, will begin at 5:30 p.m. in that same room.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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