Documenter: Ramiro Merino
Purpose of Agency
The five City Council members are elected at large to serve four-year, overlapping terms. Municipal elections are held in November of even number years. Council selects one of its members to serve as the Mayor, who presides at meetings and represents the City in all official matters and at official functions. Council Members do not spend all day at City Hall; they have regular jobs like everyone else. The variety of experience they bring to meetings helps them as a group to make wise decisions.
Lemoore City Council Board Member Duties
The City Council is responsible for approving all legislation and formulating City policies. The Council’s objectives are broad and include translating public attitudes and service requirements into policies and programs, so that desired levels of service can be provided efficiently and economically. The Council keeps abreast of current State and Federal legislation. By participation in the League of California Cities, Council members are able to compare policies, techniques and procedures with other cities throughout the state. Close liaison is maintained with other Kings County elected officials to insure that Lemoore’s policies and programs are coordinated with other public agencies.
Lemoore City Council Board Members
Stuart Lyons, Mayor, Council Member for District A
Patricia Matthews, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District E
Jim Chaney, Council Member for District B
Frank Gornick, Council Member for District C
David Orth, Council Member for District D
The Lemoore City Council meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2 by Mayor Stuart Lyons. The meeting was streamed live virtually through Zoom, where a total of nine participants showed up throughout the night. The in-person meeting consisted of all five council members, including the Mayor (Stuart Lyons), Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District E (Patricia Matthews), Council Members for B, C, D (Jim Chaney, Frank Gornick and David Orth). City Staff and contract employees also present were City Manager Olson, Assistant City Manager Speer, Police Chief Kendall, City Attorney Lerner, Community Development Director Holwell, and City Clerk Avalos. Due to the global pandemic, physical attendance by the public cannot be accommodated given the current circumstances and the need to ensure the health and safety of the City Council, City staff, and the public as a whole. The Zoom camera was directed towards the Council, where you could see the City Council Members. The Council all wore masks for the duration of the meeting.
Closed Session Report
There was no closed session report.
Agenda Approval, Additions, and/or Deletions
There was a discussion to remove items 3-2 and 3-3 from the agenda.
During Public Comment, a resident asked if the City Council meetings could move to a bigger facility that would allow and accommodate for the public to attend. He said he understands the policy regarding public meetings during the pandemic, but asked if the Council would look into this as a possibility. He stated he would like to hear “Enough, enough, enough. We will permit the public to attend Council meetings.”
There were no ceremonial presentations.
Department and City Manager Reports
Judy Holwell, the Community Development Director, commented that the Little League Park would remain as is because of the multiple uses in the professional office space that will become accessible for small businesses. This topic will be brought up to the Planning Commission first and then go before the Council for approval. She also brought up that the new Johnny Quick convenience store is approved. This new business in Lemoore will require an additional roundabout to be created in order to manage the traffic. Holwell stated that the Lennar Project, already approved for construction, will require a third temporary roundabout that will be in use for about four months. The question to consider is if the additional construction of the roundabout will have any environmental effects. She also provided an update on the Lacey Ranch Project, a housing development project that is approximately 156 acres of land into a planned resident community with a mix of single-family and mult-family housing units. The project will be annexed into the City Limits of Lemoore and will require a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change to change the land use designations from agriculture to residential. The Project will also require a modification to the City’s sphere of Influence.
Item agenda 3-1: Approval of the Minutes for the Regular Meeting on February 16, 2021. Motion passed to approve the agenda item, 4 – 0, with 1 abstention.
Item agenda 3-2: Approval of the Resolution 2021-04 for Adopting an Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration for Lennar Homes Tract 848. Steve Brandt, the City Planner, stated that the addendum to the Lennar Homes Project is to determine if additional environmental analysis is required as this project requires the construction of a temporary third roundabout, which will be in use for about four months. The proposed changes will not have a financial effect on the city budget. The approval of the addendum will allow the project applicant to move forward with Caltrans to construct the roundabouts.
Council Member Orth asked where the funding for the roundabouts will come from, at which Mayor Lyons stated from “general funds, sales tax.” He wanted to get clarification from the Council for the public to understand since a lot of people were concerned about the construction of a “so-called temporary roundabout.” Cynthia Echevaria stated that in her letter to the Council, “remove the agenda item and be given an extension of time to review the item in detail and have a chance to comment.” After the discussion, the Council moved to approve the agenda item, 5 – 0.
Item agenda 3-3 – Approval of the Side Letter Number 2 between the City of Lemoore and the General Association of Service Employment Unit (GASE). The purpose of the agreement letter is to modify the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Lemoore and the Lemoore General Associations of Service Employment (GASE). The changes include removing Article 6, Section A, #3 and the addition to Article 19, Section E. The motion passed to approve the agenda item, 5 – 0.
Public Hearing – Adoption of Resolution No. 2021-01 for Planned Unit Development No. 202-03, Revision of Fairway Courtyards Tentative Subdivision Map 2020-02, and Major Site Plan Review No. 2020-05 (Holwell). The Staff received a request from the developer regarding last minute changes he needed to make to the Tentative Subdivision Map and Planned Unit Development Map. The City Engineer is currently reviewing the revised maps. The Council agreed the agenda item to be removed so as the adoption of the resolution will be ready by the next City Council meeting on March 16th.
Public Hearing – Introduction and First Reading – Ordinance 2021-01 – Amending Section 4-8-4(A) to the Lemoore Municipal Code Relating to Permitted Uses and Zoning for Commercial Cannabis Operations; Amending Section 4-8-7(E) of the Lemoore Municipal Code Relating to Grounds for Denial of an Employee Permit (Olson). Municipal Code section 4-8-4(A), enacted as part of Ordinance 2019-03, establishes the permitted uses and zoning areas for commercial cannabis operation within the City. Municipal Code section 4-8-4(A) designates Light Industrial (ML) and Neighborhood Commercial (NC) Zones for commercial cultivation cannabis operations, and Light Industrial (ML) for cannabis manufacturing, testing, and distribution operations. The City desires to amend Municipal Code section 4-8-4(A) to permit commercial cannabis operations in areas designated Heavy Industrial (MH) Zones. In addition, the Lemoore Municipal Code Section 4-8-7(E) provides that prior conviction of a crime involving the illegal use, possession, transportation, distribution or similar activities related to controlled substances, as defined in the Federal Controlled Substances Act, is grounds for denial of an employee permit. The employee permit is required for every employee or independent contractor working at a commercial cannabis operation or involved in transportation/deliver-related services for a commercial cannabis operation. In 1996 California citizens passed the California Compassionate Use Act (CUA), which appeared on the below as Proposition 215, creating a limited immunity for individuals who used cannabis for medical purposes to use in court if they get arrested. The proposed amendment to Municipal Code section 4-8-7(E) would create an exception from denial of an employee permit for marijuana related offenses for which the conviction occurred prior to the passage of CUA. The City had seen the disparity in the past, specifically with the African-American community, and now wants to be in line with the State. After the discussion, the motion to introduce and waive the first reading passed with 5 – 0.
There was no new business.
Brief City Council Reports and Requests
Council Member Orth: Cuba’s Boutique celebrated its 1 year anniversary with a ribbon cutting ceremony. “It was really nice and good to see them doing well.” He also said “Last Wednesday, I went to the Public Authority meeting about demolishing a city block in Hanford to build a new transit center downtown.” He thanked the City workers for their hard job and the Police Department for keeping the community safe from crime.
Council Member Gornick: He agreed with the resident that the Council should “evaluate the risks and rewards to allow participants to be in the in-person meetings.”
Mayor Pro Tem Matthews: She thanked the Fire department and the Police Department regarding their hard work in keeping the city safe. “Downtown is becoming alive. The Health Nutrition had a soft opening in February. Parks and Rec has opened up Zumba and Little League. There will be a drive-thru spaghetti dinner for the memorial museum.”
Mayor Lyons: He thanked Sheila for making downtown look nice. He also thanked the staff for their hard work.
The meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.
The Council moved forward with adopting an Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration for Lennar Homes Tract 848, which will look into the environmental impacts of the additional roundabout that will be constructed.
The Council also moved forward with approving the Side Letter Number 2 between the City of Lemoore and the General Association of Service Employment Unit (GASE), which changes the language of the Memorandum of Understanding and offers options for the salary schedule.
The Council approved to introduce and waive the first reading of Amending Section 4-8-4(A) to the Lemoore Municipal Code Relating to Permitted Uses and Zoning for Commercial Cannabis Operations; Amending Section 4-8-7(E) of the Lemoore Municipal Code Relating to Grounds for Denial of an Employee Permit.