Council to Consider Kensington Project at Multiple Meetings, Beginning Tonight

Posted 6/26/12 – The City Council will open a Public Hearing on the proposed Specific Plan for the Kensington Project this evening, as well as a proposed Text Amendment to the code to create an Overlay Zone at the former Skilled Nursing Facility site.  A second Public Hearing will be opened at the next Council meeting to consider the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the project.

At its June 11th meeting, the Planning Commission approved the Conditional Use Permit for the project, and recommended to the Council that it approve the Specific Plan and the Text Amendment as negotiated between the Commission and the developer during a series of nine meetings at which the Commission considered the project.

The Council does not ordinarily consider a CUP unless it has been denied by the Commission and the applicant appeals.  However, if two Council members request that the CUP be considered by the Council, the Council then considers it, as well.  Council members Koerber and Capoccia requested that the CUP be considered by the Council, however the requests were not made until the initial notice of Public Hearing for tonight’s meeting had been issued.  Therefore, the Council will open Public Hearing on the Specific Plan and the Text Amendment tonight, and the CUP at its next meeting on July 10th.  Considering that the Planning Commission needed nine meetings to sort things out, it is likely that tonight’s Public Hearing will carry over to the next meeting and all three issues will be on the agenda at that time.

In addition to needing approval by the Council, the Developer has requested that the project be placed in front of the voters on the November ballot, and the previous City Council passed a resolution to that effect. While the project itself can not actually be placed on the ballot, an amendment to Measure V could, as could the legislative aspects of the project.  If the project conforms to Measure V, the ballot issue would most likely be to approve the legislative aspects of the project (the Specific Plan and the Text Amendment), keeping Measure V intact as it was written and approved by voters in 2007.  However, if it is determined that the project does not comply with Measure V, the voters would be asked to approve an amendment to Measure V, most likely to remove the two parcels from the Measure V zone.  Measure V limited new construction in the downtown area to two stories, thirty feet in height, and a density of thirteen units per acre.  The Planning Commissions recommendation to the Council did not consider the project in violation of Measure V.

In order for either a Measure V amendment or the legislative aspects of the project to be on the ballot in November, the County Clerk would need the verbiage for the proposed ballot item by August 10th, if we understand the calendar correctly.  That leaves the Council just three meetings to consider the project (tonight, July 10th and July 24th), unless they choose to call (a) special meeting(s).

The staff report on the project, including updated verbiage/drawings as approved by the Planning Commission can be found here.    Be advised, the file is huge (39.2mb, 543 pages), and it took more than three minutes to download and open from the City website.