March 2020 City Manager's Newsletter
including the Mills Park Update

Article Source:  San Bruno City Manager


City Manager's March 2020 eNewsletter
Jovan D. Grogan, City Manager
Welcome! What's in this issue?
2020 Census
COVID-19 Update and Shelter in Place Order
Budget Update
Mills Park Center Development
Virtual Recreation
Meet Your Executive
Census
Is the Census still occurring? YES! The Census will be used as a basis to allocate Federal and State money to San Bruno for the next ten years. Your participation is critical and we’re counting on you. Invitations to participate in the 2020 Census were mailed to our community earlier this month. Ensuring an accurate and complete count of every person (regardless of citizen status) is important. When you fill out the Census, you are telling your story and representing the uniqueness of our community. Be informed, be involved, be counted. More information is available on the City website or by visiting the County’s Census website at www.smccensus.org.
Everyone Counts Census Image
COVID-19 Update and Shelter in Place Order
As we address the current public health crisis and prepare for the weeks and months to come, we know that now --more than ever-- residents are relying on the critical services the City of San Bruno provides. We want you to know that we are here for YOU. The safety and well-being of the community is our top priority during these uncertain times.

The City of San Bruno has implemented numerous precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within the community and the City’s workforce. While many of our employees are working remotely, all City employees are Disaster Service Workers and prepared to assist as needed. Unfortunately, most City facilities are closed or have limited service hours. We are encouraging the use of online and telephone services. Public safety services (police, fire, and medical services) remain unchanged. We train and prepare for situations like these but rarely are we confronted with real life scenarios that are this significant and prolonged. With the extension of the Shelter in Place order through May 3rd and the possibility that a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is months away, we all must adjust to this new-normal. These are truly unprecedented times.

We have developed three COVID-19 Response Levels to guideline the operational plan for City services and programs during this pandemic. The response levels are: 
  • Level 1 – Watch: Practice safety precautions. Minor changes to operations.
  • Level 2 – Alert: Practice enhanced precautions. Moderate level of change to operations.
  • Level 3 – Warning: Stringent precautions in-place. City operations limited to only essential services.
At this point, our response is currently at Level 3 and we anticipate transitioning between Levels 1 thru 3 over the next 6-12 months or until a vaccine is developed and widely available. Click here for information on the City’s COVID-19 Response Levels.

The San Mateo County Health Officer revised the Shelter in Place order today (3/31/2020) to add clarifying language around essential business and activities, as well as some new directives, including: 
  • Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited.
  • Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited.
  • Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household.
  • Recreation activities must occur within 5 miles of one’s residence.
  • Essential businesses must develop a social distancing protocol before April 3
  • Most construction - residential and commercial - is prohibited.
  • Funerals to be limited to no more than 10 people attending.
  • Essential businesses expanded to include service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.
  • Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.
Based on the revised Order and our current Level 3 response, below is a summary of changes to City programs and services:
  • Temporary closure at all city facilities, including City Hall, Library, Recreation Center, and Senior Center. Appointments for essential counter services at City Facilities are available by contacting City Departments by phone or email.
  • Essential public safety functions such as police, fire and medical services, and City utility services will continue. This includes emergency repair permits and other services that are deemed necessary to protect the health and welfare of our community. 
  • Public meetings for Boards, Committees, and Commissions are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Regular City Council meetings will be held and set-up adhering to strict social distancing, and will be live streamed on San Bruno’s YouTube channel and local Channel 1.
  • All regular and pre-scheduled City recreation programs are cancelled. These cancellations include all library events, recreation programs, various sporting leagues, after-school programs, fitness classes, spring camps, senior programs, the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
  • City playgrounds structures, fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, dog parks and public restrooms are closed.
    Playgrounds Closed Image
  • All after-school programs, including After School Adventures (ASA), Afterschool Education and Safety (ASES), and the San Bruno Public Library's Homework Center will remain closed until regular school sessions resume.
  • All regular programming and special events at the Senior Center are cancelled until further notice. 
  • The Senior Lunch Program was modified and limited to a small number of meals being delivered to Seniors in need.

      Senior Lunch Image
     
  • San Bruno understands that this is a hard time for our community and has committed to the following as a result of financial impacts from COVID-19:
    • Will not disconnect water or CityNet services
    • Will not charge late penalties for utility bills
    • Will not charge library fines for past due materials and will extend holds
    • Will not issue parking tickets for assigned street sweeping days
    • Will extend permit deadlines
While we are doing our part to support the community during these new times, we ask that you do your part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That includes observing the Order that is in place by staying at home and limiting your trips to essential needs only. When you are out to exercise during the day, please adhere to strict social distancing so that our community can stay healthy.

We want our residents to have the best and most up-to date information on the steps San Bruno is taking to promote the policies needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our residents healthy and safe. We have deployed a dedicated webpage that contains additional information and resources related to COVID-19.  Please visit  www.sanbruno.ca.gov/Coronavirus.

Additionally, the City of San Bruno and the San Bruno Community Foundation are partnering to provide our community with important information during the COVID-19 crisis. To learn how you can help other community members, visit our new COVID-19 How You Can Help page. Local businesses seeking resources can visit our COVID-19 Small Business Assistance page.

If you know of someone in need, now is the time to refer them to the resources that are available to them.  Given recent State and County actions, there are several shelter and housing options that may be available to those in need assistance. The City’s homeless outreach provider (LifeMoves) as well as City and County staff are activity monitoring encampments and supporting our unsheltered population to take full advantage of the new housing and wraparound services that are being provided as a result of COVID-19.

To increase our outreach during this rapidly evolving situation, San Bruno continues to provide information through our very own local Channel 1 and various social media platforms, including San Mateo County Alert System (SMC Alert). If you haven’t already signed up or follow us on social media, visit our website to link to the variety of platforms we are on or visit SMC Alert to register for county wide notifications.

We understand that this is a challenging time for everyone as we prevent the spread of COVID-19. Stay healthy and be safe by observing the Shelter in Place and practicing social distancing. #SBCares
We're Here For You Image
Budget Update
On February 25, 2020, staff provided the City Council with an update on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 operating and capital budget. The City’s General Fund operating budget is $50.1 million with a majority of revenues coming from property, sales, business license, and transient occupancy taxes. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of these revenues go to pay for public safety functions of Police and Fire with the remaining 43% allocated to the Community Services, Public Works, and Community and Economic Development departments as well as general administration.
 
At the February 25th update, the budget was projected to have a shortfall by the end of the fiscal year due to the closure of two large businesses, a state funding change related to public schools, and reduced permit fees from delays in development projects. At that time, staff anticipated the General Fund will have an approximate $4.2 million shortfall due to reductions of the following four revenue sources in the current budget:
  1. Sales tax reductions due to fluctuations from economic activity and the closure of Sears at The Shops at Tanforan;
  2. Countywide motor vehicle license fee (VLF) reductions;
  3. Business license tax reductions due to the closure of SkyPark, an off-airport parking facility; and
  4. Building permit fee revenue reductions due to the delay of multiple, large development projects and the associated permit revenue shifting from FY 2019-20 to the following fiscal year.
Given the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, General Fund revenues will be negatively impacted further. Staff is currently analyzing the known economic impacts from COVID-19 and projecting future impacts based on various scenarios for when the local economy rebounds. What we know now is that economic downturn which has already begun as a result of COVID-19 will impact the City’s next budget, covering the period of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

In order to balance the budget by the end of the year, the City Council has authorized the following changes to the operating budget:
  1. Delay capital projects;
  2. Delay the filling of vacant positions;
  3. Reduce various operating expenses;
  4. Reduce the funding for current and future equipment and vehicle purchases; and
  5. Utilize unappropriated General Fund balance.
Additional strategies will be needed and discussions around them will begin at the April 14 City Council meeting.

Staff will continue to closely monitor all revenue sources and department expenditures in the General Fund to ensure the budget is balanced by the end of the fiscal year.
Mills Park Center Development
In keeping with our commitment to inform the community of significant events related to the proposed Mills Park Center Development, this Community Update provides information on revisions to the project application that were formally submitted to the City on March 23, 2020. This resubmittal includes the following notable changes from the proposal reviewed by the City Council on July 9, 2019:
  • Elimination of the proposed approximately 42,000 square foot high-end grocery store. The project now includes 7,560 square feet of ground floor commercial space.
  • A guaranteed $10 million community benefit payment to the City’s General Fund, a doubling from the former $5 million base community benefit payment that included an option for another $5 million.
  • Addition of two dwelling units, bringing the total number of units from 425 to 427 units. 65 units (15%) will be affordable, an increase of one new affordable unit.
  • Additional $100,000 direct payment to the City’s General Fund to support bike and pedestrian improvements in the City.
  • The property owner, G.W. Williams Company is now the applicant for the development proposal, replacing Signature Land Advisors, Inc.
Brief Background on the Project
 
The original proposed project would remove existing commercial buildings and surface parking lots on a 5.38 acre site at the south-west corner of San Bruno Avenue and El Camino Real (bordered by Linden Avenue and White Way to the west, and Angus Avenue to the south). The project was proposed to include 425 residential units (including 64 affordable units), a high-end grocery store, ground floor commercial space as well as 879 on-site parking for residents, grocery customers, employees and commercial customers.

The original proposed project would remove existing commercial buildings and surface parking lots on a 5.38 acre site at the south-west corner of San Bruno Avenue and El Camino Real (bordered by Linden Avenue and White Way to the west, and Angus Avenue to the south). The project was proposed to include 425 residential units (including 64 affordable units), a high-end grocery store, ground floor commercial space as well as 879 on-site parking for residents, grocery customers, employees and commercial customers.

On July 9, 2019, the project went before the City Council for action, with a recommendation for approval from City staff and the Planning Commission. Due to the unique circumstances of the recusal of two Councilmembers, only three Councilmembers were eligible to vote on the project. State law (Government Code 36936) requires that a minimum of three Councilmembers approve all City resolutions and ordinances. As such, approval of the project required support from each of the three Councilmembers who are eligible to vote on the project. After a lengthy hearing, the project did not receive unanimous support and could not proceed forward.
 
Following the July 9, 2019 hearing, various parties, including the property owner and housing advocacy groups, informed the City that they believed the City’s failure to approve the project violated state and local laws. The regional and statewide housing advocacy groups are:
  • California Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund
  • Yes in My Back Yard
  • Peninsula for Everyone
  • San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation
  • Urban Environmentalists
These groups and individuals associated with them, such as potential tenants, have a record of suing cities to compel them to approve housing developments. The City of San Bruno eventually entered into an initial 60-day tolling agreement with thirteen (13) parties to temporarily limit the City’s potential liability and exposure to these potential lawsuits. The tolling agreement has been extended and currently expires on May 5, 2020.
 
March 23, 2020 Resubmittal of Project
 
On March 23, 2020, the property owner, G.W. Williams Company resubmitted the project with several notable changes. The overall building massing, size, height, and location on the site has not been changed. A portion of the space that was formerly the 42,000 square foot high-end grocery store on the ground floor has been converted to parking, with only 7,560 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space remaining. This represents a total reduction of 38,440 square feet. Two units were added on the second floor of Building A, in an area that was formerly the grocery store loading room on White Way, with no changes to the building mass or location. Based on the submitted project schedule, if approved the project is projected to start construction in 2022 for Building A and 2023 for Building B. The property owner, G.W. Williams Company is now the applicant for the development proposal, replacing Signature Land Advisors, Inc. The G.W. Williams Company has owned the property in the family for over 70 years. The G. W. Williams Company was the original developer of both the Mills Park Commercial Center and surrounding residential subdivisions in the late 1940’s.
 
Below is a brief overview of the resubmitted project’s major components and a comparative analysis of the project considered by the City Council on July 9, 2019 and the March 23, 2020 resubmittal.
Major Resubmitted Project Components:
  • Two mixed-use buildings ranging in height from one to five stories and divided into smaller components with articulated building setbacks and stepbacks.
  • 427 total dwelling units: Building A contains 184 units and Building B contains 243 units. The plan calls for 65 affordable units, at various affordability levels (very low, low and moderate level incomes).
  • Approximately 7,560 square foot ground-floor commercial space. No tenants have been identified at this time, and the space could be utilized by a variety of permitted uses, including eating and/or drinking establishments, general retail sales and service uses, personal service uses, fitness uses, or offices.
  • 669 total parking stalls on-site. One parking space will be provided for each bedroom, plus dedicated residential guest parking. The project includes a two two-level parking garage, one level at grade and one partially submerged. The project exceeds the recently adopted City parking code requirements.
Public plazas located at street level at the corners of San Bruno Avenue West and El Camino Real, Kains Avenue and El Camino Real, and Angus Avenue and El Camino Real.
Original Project Proposal Rendering:

Original Project Proposal Rendering Image

March 23, 2020 Resubmitted Project Proposal Rendering:

March 23, 2020 Resubmitted Project Proposal Rendering Image

These rendering show that the overall building massing, size, height, and location on the site has not been changed. This is consistent with all the elevations facing all the surrounding streets. A portion of the space that was formerly the 42,000 square foot high-end grocery store on the ground floor has been converted to parking, with only 7,560 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space remaining. Two units were added on the second floor of Building A, in an area that was formerly the grocery store loading room on White Way, with no changes to the building mass or location.
 
Revised Community Benefit Package
 
In addition to the items listed in the public benefit package that was considered by City Council in July 2019, the property owner has offered additional community incentives. A summary of the overall community benefit package includes the following:
 
  • Guaranteed $10 million community benefit payment to the City’s General Fund in conjunction with condominiums, a doubling from the former $5 million base community benefit payment that included an option for another $5 million. – NEW
  • $100,000 direct payment to the City to support bike and pedestrian improvements in the City. – NEW
  • 65 affordable units, an increase of 1 new affordable unit. – NEW
  • Additional provisions related to the affordability terms for the 65 on-site affordable units, in excess of the requirements authorized under the City’s Affordable Housing Program Ordinance.
  • Parking stalls on site in excess of the recently adopted City parking code.
  • $100,000 direct payment to the City to support implementation of parking enforcement in the City or residential parking permit programs.
  • Creation of nine new public parking spaces in conjunction with the improvement and widening of Linden Avenue.
  • Realignment, improvement, and reconstruction of Kains Avenue and installation of a new traffic signal at Kains Avenue and El Camino Real.
  • Extension of the right turn lane from east-bound San Bruno Avenue onto south-bound El Camino Real (pending CalTrans final approval).
  • Sales Tax Point of Sale Designation for construction goods purchases, which may result in additional sales tax revenue to the City during construction.
  • Agreement to work with San Bruno CityNet Services for cable, tv and phone for all residential units.
  • Agreement to exclude the project residents from participation in any future Residential Parking Permit Program district.
  • Prohibition on renting of any residential units as short-term residential rentals. 
  • City use of the community room for public meetings/events by appointment, based on availability.
Next Steps

At present, City staff is currently reviewing the resubmitted plans to determine compliance with all applicable City code requirements and revising the project Development Agreement. Subsequently, the City will schedule a community meeting to discuss the proposal and hear from residents and businesses. Due to COVID-19, community outreach and engagement may occur on various platforms, in addition to written comments. A final decision on the project will be made by the City Council at a public hearing. 

More information on the proposed Mills Park Center Development can be found at: sanbruno.ca.gov/MillsParkCenterDevelopment
 
Virtual Recreation
The City of San Bruno created a Virtual Recreation Center with many activities to keep you and your families occupied during the Shelter in Place Order. Take virtual tours of museums, learn to line dance, and more. Click here to access the Virtual Recreation Center.
Virtual Rec Center Image
 
Meet Your Executive
Ryan Johansen was appointed as the new San Bruno Police Chief earlier this month, March 2020.

Johansen began his Law Enforcement Career in 2004, when he was hired as a Police Officer with the Southeastern Division of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). During his time with SDPD, Johansen focused largely on combatting the area’s substantial gang problem, and received multiple Captain’s Commendations for his efforts.

In 2006, Johansen joined the ranks of the San Bruno Police Department, and was recognized as Police Officer of the Year during his first year on the job. Johansen has served as a Corporal, and as a Detective Corporal where he was awarded the prestigious Meehan Coturri Special Merit Medal. He has also served as the rank of Sergeant and Patrol Watch Commander and most recently as Lieutenant of the San Bruno Police Department. As a Lieutenant, Johansen developed and implemented several programs that improved the level and quality of services of the Police Department. This has included a grant-funded officer resiliency and mindfulness training program that was attended by all officers in the Police Department. This program provides police personnel with invaluable tools for navigating the challenges of a law enforcement career while remaining perpetually mindful of the people they serve and the relationships they must nurture.
Johansen serves as the Law Enforcement Liaison to the Bay Area chapter of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. He has also been a long-term volunteer for the ALS Association. 

Johansen possesses a Bachelor of Applied Sciences Degree in Criminal Justice Management. He is a graduate of both the POST Supervisory School and POST Management School, and he possesses Basic, Advanced, Supervisory and Management POST Certificates.  

Johansen has been happily married to his wife for over 20 years and they have two amazing children. He enjoys spending time with his family, working out, reading, and he’s an avid surfer and golfer.

Ryan Johansen Image
This e-Newsletter is intended to provide updates on key issues and projects going on in San Bruno and will be issued electronically on a monthly basis. The City Manager’s Office is committed to making sure the public stays informed about what’s going on in your City government. You can learn more about City efforts and services, at any time, by visiting the City’s website, sanbruno.ca.gov or by simply staying tuned to this newsletter!

Copyright 2020 City of San Bruno, All rights reserved.

City Manager's Office
San Bruno City Hall
567 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA  94066
(650) 616-7056
citymanager@sanbruno.ca.gov

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