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Members of Lickity Split Softball fill the seats at the Galt City Council Chambers to protest a proposed contract with Galt Youth Baseball.

It was standing room only on Nov. 1 at the Galt City Council chambers, as youth softball players, coaches and parents turned out to express their displeasure with a proposed contract that would have granted scheduling priority at the Galt Sports Complex to Galt Youth Baseball. In the end, Council delayed its decision until staff could find a compromise.

Also at the City Council meeting, the body approved an appeal regarding the Summerfield development.

Contract with Galt Youth Baseball

Presenting to Council, Parks and Recreation Director Armando Solis said Galt Youth Baseball (GYB) has proposed an agreement granting it scheduling priority at the sports complex and “semi exclusive” use of Harvey and Meadowview parks. In exchange, GYB would pay for landscaping maintenance at the latter two parks.

Under the proposed scheduling hierarchy, city programs and Galt Joint Union High School District programs would get the most priority, followed by GYB and then by other requests, including other sports organizations.

GYB currently mows just the baseball fields at Harvey and Meadowview, where it gets priority scheduling as a result of taking on the city-run youth softball program in 2020.

Solis said GYB’s maintenance would free up 4.5 hours of staff time that can be used on other parks or facilities.

The majority of audience members were from Lickity Split Softball, and during public comment several members called the proposal unfair for them and other groups.

“We understand the city’s financial situation … but we also wanted to come and just show the council who we are and just express that we feel this (memorandum of understanding) could hurt youth in the community,” said Lickity Split President Misty Springmeyer.

She said her group has been “routinely” denied use of the complex because it was reserved by GYB and claimed her group had seen the complex sitting empty while Lickity Split had to find other practice locations. She asked for verbiage that allots field time based on player numbers.

The council members requested that staff and all the concerned parties meet to reach an agreement for Council to consider at a future meeting.

Change to Summerfield requirements

Considering an appeal by the developer of the Summerfield subdivision north of Twin Cities Road, Council voted to change a square-footage requirement that it created when it first approved the project.

Summerfield would bring a gated community of 204 “executive-style” houses to a 58-acre area north of the intersection of Twin Cities and Marengo Road.

When Council approved the development and the annexation in September 2020, it adopted a condition proposed by then-Council Member Curt Campion that certain percentages of the houses should fall within various square footage tiers. His goal was to ensure the houses would be large enough to fit the “executive” billing.

As interpreted by the developer, the condition sets five tiers, each of which must contain 20% of the houses: 2,000-2,399 square feet, 2,400-2,799 square feet, 2,800-3,199 square feet, 3,200-3,499 square feet, and 3,500 square feet or larger.

A representative of the developer, Towne Development of Sacramento, expressed doubt about the viability of the upper tiers but ultimately said his company could “accept” the conditions.

At the time, Council approved the overall project by a 4-1 vote. Of the current council members who were in office then, Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu and Council Member Rich Lozano voted in favor, while Mayor Shawn Farmer cast the sole “no” vote.

At the Nov. 1 appeal hearing, Community Development Director Craig Hoffman said city staff defers to Council decisions and recommended keeping the condition in place.

Chris Dickinson, speaking for Towne Development, asked to modify the arrangement by reducing the number of tiers and the number of houses in each tier, which he said would allow the company to adapt to market demands. The existing tiers, he said, make it harder to include popular amenities, like covered patios and three- and four-car garages, and they force the developer to construct more two-story homes even though its buyers “prefer single-story homes at a rate of 4-to-1.”

Additionally, the project’s 204 houses do not evenly divide into 20% groups.

The new proposal includes three tiers, each with a smaller share of the houses — 16.2% — at 2,000-2,399 square feet, 2,400-2,599 square feet, and 2,600-3,700 square feet. That accounts for slightly fewer than half of the houses. Though the staff report did not specify a size range for the remainder, Dickinson said Towne Development intended to size those houses according to market demand within the overall 2,000-3,700 square foot range.

Farmer said he felt an executive-style house is defined by a combination of square footage and amenities. But he continued that amenities on their own aren’t enough.

“I feel like right now, we were sold a Mercedes and you’re coming to us trying to give us an Isuzu or something,” Farmer said.

Council Member Jay Vandenburg said he places more emphasis on the features of a house.

Sandhu acknowledged the lack of flexibility in the condition while also expressing a desire for the project to provide a unique product for Galt.

Two motions emerged, with Vandenburg moving to approve Towne Development’s proposal and formally specify a 2,000-square-foot minimum for all houses. Farmer made an alternative motion that staff and the developer negotiate a proposal that puts more houses in specific tiers.

Farmer’s motion failed 2-3 when only he and Sandhu voted in favor of it. Vandenburg’s motion passed 4-1, as Farmer voted against it.