The first City Council meeting of 2020 was full of intense discussions and hot topics. We ran long again, not finishing the complete agenda and adjourning around 11:30 pm. More on that later.
#11) Ordinance 5523 to amend Section 11-920 of the City of Fremont UDC to amend the definitions of Front Yard, Side Yard, Street Side Yard, and Rear Yard. This request was presented to the council by Planning Director because of a developer request for clarification on where parking was permitted on new lots the city is selling in the Technology Park. Councilman Yerger and others had concerns about the approach to solving this problem by merely changing the definitions of what a Front, Side and Back yard are. After much discussion, the city attorney weighed in and stated that he would work with the Planning Director to come up with a better approach to solving this issue and that it would be presented in the next reading.
#24) Ordinance 5512 amending Chapter 3, Section 3-230 of the Fremont Municipal Code titled Municipal Sewage System; charge and considerations for connections. This topic has been on the council’s agenda for almost a year now and though it will affect only a very small number of people throughout the years, the philosophy behind these changes matter. I and several other councilmembers want to make sure that the citizens are getting treated fairly. The city presented the consultant, John Krajewski, from JK Energy to help explain his analysis of what we should be charging for sewer connections. After his presentation and some discussion, it was agreed upon to eliminate option A and proceed with B and C to the third and final reading next council meeting. The two remaining options are almost identical except option C removes the exemption for developers with four or more houses. Legal counsel stated that leaving this exemption in place could be considered discriminatory in nature. Just a side note, at the end of the discussion, John from JK Energy, stated he really appreciated the open conversation we were having and felt it was handled very professionally compared to some of his other discussions with other city councils.
#26) Discussion and Motion to Reconsider and Revise Resolution 2019-229 of the City Council of the City of Fremont. There has been a lot of controversy and misinformation about this agenda item and I hope I can clear some things up here. This Resolution first showed up on the council’s agenda in our November 12th meeting. During my routine agenda study time days prior to the meeting, I noticed that there were two ‘Conditional Use Permits’ on the agenda, and both were presented very differently to the council. Because other councilmembers noticed the differences, Resolution 2019-229 had a motion to continue until the next meeting for clarification, but that motion failed. I voted in favor of the continuation as I am always in favor of making decisions with more information. Once it became clear that there was no way to hold this resolution back, I voted for the passage. I, like the majority of the other councilmen believe in the project, but had significant questions about the process of how it was presented.
After the November 12th meeting, several councilmembers were notified by residents that they too were questioning the process. There were several citizens that stated that they had never received the required notifications for a ‘Conditional Use Permit’. These were legitimate concerns voiced by citizens and it was important that we look into them.
It was also brought to the city council’s attention that we as the council put a condition of future governance on Resolution 2019-229 by putting the condition of passage of Ordinance 5507. That should not have happened and now that I have a better understanding of the process, in the future I will not vote in favor of a Resolution that has a condition of future governance.
Because of the citizen’s concerns and the fact that the council passed the Resolution with future governance, councilmember Jacobus elected to bring back this Resolution for reconsideration. This reconsideration request passed, so the Resolution was open for discussion. I don’t have time to recap this discussion, but I will say that this council needs to be reminded that we represent the citizens of Fremont and that the council should adhere to a certain level of decorum and respect for other councilmembers. After an impromptu Executive Session was called by the City Attorney, a final vote on Resolution 2019-229 was motioned for and voted on again, passing 7 to 1.
With several agenda items still left to address, Councilmen Mark Legband called for a motion to Adjourn and it passed 5 to 3, ending the council meeting at around 11:30 pm. The agenda items that we did not get to will be added to our next City Council meeting.