May 30 2016

PARK COMMISSION: Activities and Reports, June 1

Park Commission Agenda Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 5:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont. The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast.

~~~~~~~~ AGENDA ~~~~~~~~

  1. Approval of Park Commission Meeting Minutes May 4, 2016*See below.
  2. Update on the CIP Committee Report to City Council May 21, 2016* See below.
  3. Update on Trident Maple Planting for Piedmont Park
  4. Update on the Hampton Park Master Plan
  5. Update on Linda Kingston Triangle
  6. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space and Street Tree Update for the Month of May

Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the Park Commission are available for public inspection in the Public Works Department during normal business hours.

Update on the CIP Committee Report to City Council May 21, 2016

The CIP Committee is a committee appointed by the City Council and consists of four members from the general public, the chairs of the City’s Park and Recreation Commissions and the chair of Piedmont Beautification Foundation. At their first meeting, City Administrator Paul Benoit and Councilman Bob McBain discussed the current and future direction of the committee’s responsibilities and the committee’s outreach efforts to compile a list of new capital projects that would be considered by the Council as funding opportunities became available, whether through City funding sources or grants.

The Committee reconvened in February 2016 with Bobbe Stehr as the Chairperson and held (5) publicly noticed meetings with a tour of proposed CIP sites on May 7, 2016. The committee conducted extensive outreach process, inviting participation by individuals, citizen groups, commissioners and City staff. The process included an on-line proposal form on the City’s website. The Committee also developed a list of criteria used to evaluate all proposed projects and provide specific conclusions with recommendations for future planning.

The final report was presented to the City Council during their budget workshop on May 21, 2016.

The following is a brief summary of the project recommendations for the top five projects, listed in order of priority with estimated costs.

1. Coaches Field Master Plan $50,000:
• The goal of the master plan would be to assess the options for expanding the playfield area to include an under 14 -sized soccer field, study the options for artificial turf and the technical requirements for drainage, and research “dark sky” LED field lighting

2. Beach Tot Lot/ ADA Compliant Howard Ave. Entrance and Restroom Facilities: Master Plan $30,000.
• The goal of the master plan would be to review existing facilities, solicit community input and propose a new layout for improved recreational opportunities at the existing Tot Lot area, the unused area around the restroom facilities, and the space between the Oakland Ave. Bridge and Beach playfield.

3. Piedmont Community Hall: Entry Court Renovations $200,00-300,000
• New improvements would include enhancement to the entry court for ceremonial and civic events, improved event lighting, revised and expanded parking and ADA access.

4. Piedmont Community Hall: Rear Balcony and Amphitheater Architectural Master Plan $50,000
• The goal of the architectural master plan would be to study existing uses and recommend options for the building which would include expanding the terraces and rear balcony and renovating the amphitheater. Building and landscape renovations would improve the rental opportunities and expand options for community use.

5. Oakland Avenue Bridge- Complete the String of Lights $40,000.

  • A proposal was submitted by, Wm. Blackwell, to add two new light standards, matching existing light standards and infill the string of lights on both sides of the bridge.
  • The CIP committee also suggested that the safety issues on the bridge and pedestrian crossing be included in the future implementation of the Bike/Pedestrian Plan or as part of the Master Plan for the Beach Playfield project.


Chairperson Totsubo called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  Present: Chairperson Jamie Totsubo; Vice Chairperson Jonathan Levine; Commissioners Betsy Goodman, Jim Horner, John Lenahan, Brian Mahany and Patty Siskind

Staff Present: Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent, Public Works Supervisor Dave Frankel and Public Works Director Chester Nakahara

Also Present: Councilmember Robert McBain

Alex Chueh, Senior at Piedmont High School requested there be 1 or 2 lights around the dog park, specifically around the softball field.

Samuel Cheng, Senior at Piedmont High School, echoed the previous speaker’s request and also suggested lights leading up to Wildwood Avenue, as there are many people coming back from sports and they must walk in darkness.

Kalen Davison, Senior at Piedmont High School spoke regarding the tennis courts at Beach School, specifically the nets. He said the nets are well below the regulation height and considering they are used by many people, he asked that they be checked every few months.

Kaelli Thiel and Madison Tenney proposed installing a drinking fountain at the dog run at Dracena Park.

Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent presented a request from residents near Lorita Ave Tree Planting Request on Lorita Avenue to add additional street trees and remove acacia trees on the street. Ms Kent also provided information on a 2012 petition from a resident at 32 Lorita Avenue asking the City to plant street trees along the end of Lorita Avenue.

The Park Commission heard this request and also heard from adjacent neighbors. Originally in the strip there were American Elm trees planted and residents at 208 Ramona received permission to remove them, but there was significant sucker growth afterwards. The City in managing that created a hedge of elm suckers. Those suckers were damaging properties on Ramona and the City removed the elms and replaced the planting area with low Agapanthus.

In 2012, after review by Commissioners, the end results were that several Commissioners were going to research drought-tolerant shrubs in lieu of planting street trees or possibly a Bay Friendly landscape installation and at that point there was no additional action taken except that the Agapanthus were installed.

Since that time, the fence which residents did not like at the end of Lorita had been replaced and the Agapanthus has been watered by one of the adjacent neighbors. Before the Commission today is a petition to have the City review existing street trees which are Ginkgoes and determine whether they can infill as well as remove the Agapanthus and put street trees in that strip.

Staff was on site talking with neighbors and held an informal meeting with the owner of 36 Monticello who volunteered to pay for 5 new street trees on the Lorita frontage of his property. Even though the petition did not include this address, since it takes up half of that side of Lorita Avenue, the Commission can consider whether it wants to accept the donation of 5 street trees and install them.

Regarding the existing number of trees, Ms. Kent stated on the east side of the street approximately every home could handle 2 trees which is the existing pattern.

Staff has also received additional correspondence, one from a resident at 28 Lorita Avenue with a pledge to water anything that is planted in the non- irrigated replacement strip. Also in the packet are two resident letters whose rear yard borders on the end of Lorita and they sent comments with concerns that if street trees were planted at the end of the street, it would add shade to their rear yard. They asked that plant materials be installed that would only rise to the height of the fence.

Staff suggested a substitution in the packet and said several residents are present to speak.

Public testimony was received from:.

Maggie Spencer, Devan Joseph, Andrew Coleman, and Patricia Makinen voiced their support for the petition. They stated their belief that the addition of new trees and removal of acacia trees to Lorita Avenue will beautify the street and give it more of a neighborhood feeling.

Ann Hall, 208 Ramona Avenue, voiced concern about the planting of new trees due to issues with backyard sunlight and root infiltration. She stated her familiarity with a dwarf crape myrtle which would be great and believes they would be watered, but she asked that no trees be planted which would affect the integrity of their property.

The Commission discussed the request, focusing on whether ginkgos are the appropriate tree for the area and how the trees would grow. After discussion, the consensus was reached that Ginkgo was the appropriate tree for the area due to the existing ginkgos on the block and the propensity of this type of tree to remain small when planted in a confined space.

Through this discussion, the Commission came to a consensus that the developer would be allowed to purchase street trees with Ginkgo trees and replace the Agapanthus with dwarf Crepe Myrtles which is what residents want.

Resolved, that the Park Commission approves the request by the petitioners to plant new Ginkgo trees along the street in locations and quantities to be determined by staff and residents; that staff work with residents to determine what existing trees need replacement and that staff work with residents of Lorita and Ramona to determine what planting is appropriate for the fence at the end of the cul-de-sac as long as it is not a tall tree; and that the Commission accept the offer of the developer at 36 Monticello to donate 5 Ginkgo trees.  Moved by Levine, Seconded by Siskind Ayes: Goodman, Horner, Lenahan, Levine, Totsubo, Mahany and Siskind Noes: None

Linda Kingston Triangle Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent gave the following update:

Trident Maple Planting in Piedmont Park

Hampton Park Master

  • Working drawings which include irrigation are now being reviewed by the City Engineer who is putting together the bid package. The drawings will go out to bid in mid-May.
  • The City has been working with its maintenance staff, as this is the City’s kick-off project for their first SMART controller and they are looking at switching as many controllers out as possible. The new controllers have rain sensors, relate to the evapo-transportation rate and also allow maintenance staff to have remote accessibility.  Public Works Director Chester Nakahara stated they expect to have the bid out in May giving the contractors 4 weeks for the bid period and then awarding the bid. The bulk of the construction work should be done before school starts and while they are beholden to EBMUD and PG&E, the idea is to get the hardscape done, traffic patterns established and striping done in the area by the start of school and thereafter begin with planting and infill.
  • Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent gave the following update:

• East Bay Garden Club has made a donation to the City to offset the cost of a new Trident Maple tree planted in the Main Park. This will commemorate their 30th anniversary. They have secured the maple tree which is at the Corporation yard. The ceremony date is May 24th and ceremonial planting will be at 10AM.

Public Works Director Chester Nakahara provided the following update:   Plan Update [Hampton Field]:

At its meeting of April 18th, the City Council awarded the project to Suarez and Munoz out of Hayward and the total bid price was $1,573,435.50. He noted an incredible amount of private donations have been received which now exceed $350,000. There have been continued pledges from various people to continue fundraising through the construction period and afterwards.

  • The contractor has been responsive, they are scheduling a pre-construction meeting in the next couple of weeks with the goal to start on June 13th which is the Monday after school lets out.
  • Work around the Piedmont Playschool will start first with the idea that when school comes back in session on August 16th they will have access and use of their yard area.
  • Further updates can be provided once the work begins.

Commissioner Goodman provided the following update:

  • Arbor Day was celebrated on April 26th at the Piedmont Community Hall with 150-175 people in attendance.
  • The Piedmont High School Jazz Band performed and guest speaker Bill McNamara, Director of Quarry Hill Botanical Gardens in Glen Ellen, showed slides and spoke of his travels to China where he would look for seeds of endangered plants which were planted in Quarry Hill and they created one of the largest collections of wild collected Asian plants in the world.
  • Emily Phillips was honored as the winner of the Arbor Day Logo Contest by creating a logo using the Piedmont Etc.
  • The closing event of the evening was acknowledgement of the newly planted Japanese Maple tree at the Japanese Tea House. The tree was donated by the Anderson family in memory of late Pete Anderson.  Chair Totsubo thanked Commissioner Lenahan for his public relations work and recruiting the jazz band to play at the event.
  • Commissioner Siskind recognized the AP Environmental Science class which had 6 exhibits.
  • Councilmember McBain thanked everybody for their hard work to put on the Arbor Day celebration.
  • Former Park Commission members commented on how much this event has grown from a fairly modest kids related event to becoming a great community event, who think this event is very rewarding and speaks well for Piedmont.The Commission thanked all the volunteers and City Staff who worked to create such a wonderful event.Park, Open Space and Street Tree Update for the Month of April: Public Works Supervisor Dave Frankel provided the following highlights, Arbor Day and Monthly Maintenance Report
    • Preparing the park for Arbor Day took most of the efforts of their department this past month.
    • Staff trimmed all hedges that surround the Tea House and Community Center, trimmed up and dead wooded all trees, prepared the new Arbor Day tree planting site by excavating down deep enough to plan the new 6,000 lb., 5 foot box tree. There was a massive block of roots they discovered at the 3 foot level and they worked for one day to remove the rest of the stump by hand, with 3 wheel barrels worth of roots.’
    • They were lucky to have the crane work donated by Professional Tree to the City of Piedmont. It saved them thousands in cost but he also recognized the owner, Brian Fenske who was at the controls. He is one of the most experienced, qualified operators and is extremely good at his craft.
  • After the tree was safely in place, they began landscaping around it. Staff installed about 1 1⁄2 tons of boulders, making sure they were placed in such a way that the overall feel of the Tea House was maintained.
  • Staff planted over 100 plants which he briefly described and they topped off the entire Tea House area with 20 yards of fresh mulch.
  • They were extremely happy with the outcome and his staff received numerous compliments.
  • He thanked the Anderson family for their generous donation as a memorial for long-time resident Pete Anderson.
  • They have begun the street tree reforestation project on Warfield. Last month all diseased and over-matured trees were removed. All of the concrete sidewalks were removed adjacent to those trees and stumps which allowed them more access to grind them out.
  • Sidewalk scallops were formed around the tree planting sites to allow a wider planting space and the concrete sidewalk was just finished being poured back today so all concrete work is done.
  • They expect to follow with planting the crape myrtle trees by the end of the week and will report back next month with a follow-up on this project.
  • They are continuing to solicit bids for some large tree removals in their park system. At Crocker Park, 2 large Canary Island Pine trees need to be removed.
  • Dracena Park has a large half dead Monterey Pine tree that sits up by the quarry and there is also a group of Acacia trees that need to be removed.
  • Grand Avenue median has a big dead Monterey Pine tree in it and staff will solicit bids to have this work done shortly.
  • They are also in the process of vetting out their new SMART irrigation controllers. They will allow the City to use water much more efficiently and have the ability to react to real time weather data; they have rain sensors and the ability to manage the entire system through the Internet, IPads, phones and computers.
  • They have taken one supplier out in the field to evaluate the technical signal challenges that Piedmont’s topography can create. Another field trip is scheduled this Friday and they will report back on this at the next meeting.
  • Those with newly planted street trees in parking strips, now is the time to use gator bags to water the trees.
  • Commissioner Horner asked if after tree removals, was it routine for maintenance staff to replant trees. Mr. Frankel said they typically replant street trees. For larger street trees like those in Crocker Park, they most likely would consider a different species and bring the matter to the Park Commission.Ms. Kent confirmed that most removed trees are the result of the drought and Mr. Frankel agreed and said most are Monterey Pine and Canary Island Pine trees.

Due to a lack of quorum, the July 6th meeting would be cancelled. There being no further business, Chairperson Totsubo adjourned the meeting at 6:51 p.m.

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