Council Meeting Date: September 18, 2019
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured
Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative.
The City Council met for the September Regular Meeting on Wednesday, September 18 at 7 pm in the Pavilion at Holbrook-Palmer Park. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call, the Council moved to Presentations. During Presentations, the Oath of Office was administered to new Atherton Dispatcher Debra Allen and the Commander presented a Proclamation for Code Enforcement Officer Safety Awareness and Recognition Week.
Following Presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments. During Public Comments, a resident noted the Lindenwood Homeowner's Association Annual Meeting on September 22 and the Atherton Arts Foundation Show on 9/21.
Following Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. The Council received Oral Reports from the City Manager and staff on various issues contained within the City Manager's Report.
After the City Manager's Report, the Council heard Item No. 22, an Update to the Civic Center Project. Staff provided the Council with an update on the project's progress, budget, timeline, and activity. More information on the Project can be found on via the Project Blog, Website, and Webcams.
Following Item No. 22, the Council returned to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 14. Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were bills, minutes, Treasurer's Report, Adoption of a Resolution Designating a Voting Delegate to the League Annual Meeting, Acceptance of Work for a Slurry Seal Project, Resolution for the SLESF COPS Grant Funding, and Approval of a Tennis Shelter Project. Following a brief comment, the Council approved the items on the Consent Agenda.
Following the Consent Agenda, the Council took up the Regular Agenda.
The first item on the Regular Agenda was Item No. 15, Review of Possible Revisions to various Town Fees and Charges in the Master Fee Schedule. Staff made a presentation noting the need to adjust the fees due to increases in labor costs over the last 5 years as well as recommendations to add various fees and charges to the Fee Resolution. It was noted that, with the exception of market rental of facilities, the Town can only set the cost of a fee or charge for actual cost recovery or less. Following the Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed issues related to construction without a permit, charges for solar panels, fees for various Park rentals, planning permits, and charges for police service permits related to before and after hour construction activity. Following discussion, the Council provided staff with direction to return a fee resolution at the October City Council Meeting for adoption based on input received.
Item No. 16 on the Agenda was a Discussion on the General Plan Update for 2019 and the various Plan Elements. Following a Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed various high-level policy issues for the General Plan focusing on the inclusion of policy goals from the Town's various Master Plans (with or without specificity); changes to the Town's long term policy objectives related to High Speed Rail, Caltrain, and Grand Boulevard Initiative; description of the Town's character in the narrative of the Plan; street identification as arterial or collector or residential; noise element; and heritage trees. Following discussion and feedback, the Council directed that staff set a future Study Session for the Council to focus solely on the General Plan Update; and, directed that staff return the Noise Ordinance separately for Council consideration related to the provisions pertaining to Social Gatherings.
Next, the Council discussed Item No. 17, relating to an Ordinance Amending the Town's Construction Time Limit Provisions. Staff provided a brief Staff Report noting that the proposed ordinance would eliminate the cap that presently exists for violations of the Town's Construction Time Limit provisions. Following the Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed the various provisions of the Construction Time Limit ordinance; the 30-day notice period following the ordinance deadline for compliance; and the applicability of the ordinance amendments. Following discussion, the Council introduced the Ordinance for 1st Reading and set its second reading and adoption for October. The Council asked that staff connect with the Builder's Roundtable to discuss the impact of potentially reducing the 30-day notice period to 15-days or eliminating it entirely.
Item No. 18 was Adoption of the Town's Green Infrastructure Plan. Staff presented the Staff Report outlining the Green Infrastructure Plan; the State Mandated requirements; the Countywide versus Jurisdictional requirements and applicability; opportunities for local compliance; and possible projects. Following the Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed issues related to local stormwater projects undertaken by private property owners in compliance with the Town's existing ordinances and the potential for credit for those projects; requirement for adoption of the Plan; future cost; and compliance requirements. Following discussion, the Council adopted the Plan.
Item No. 19 was discussion of how to use the Town's Rule 20A Utility Undergrounding Work Credits, including the potential sale of those funds. Staff presented a brief Staff Report outlining the Town's options with respect to the funds; the potential for sale; relationship to the League's Wildfire Area application of the funds; and pricing. Following the Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council directed that staff further investigate the possible sale of the funds with a revenue expectation of $0.35 - $0.50 on the dollar.
Item No. 20 was a Response to the Grand Jury Report regarding Pensions. Staff provided an overview of the proposed response for the Mayor's signature. Following the Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed minor modifications to the letter noting that the Town reviews pension costs within its annual audit and that audit is posted on the Town's website; that the Town has prioritized contributions toward Other Post Employment Benefit funding (OPEB); and that the Town has made attempts at revenue raising tax measures via the Parcel Tax. The Council approved the response, with modifications.
Last up was Item No. 21, Response to the Grand Jury related to Electric Vehicle Fleet Adoptions. Following a brief Staff Report and Public Comment, the Council discussed the use of electric vehicles in the Town's fleet, noting the limitation that most of the Town's fleet were police vehicles that had restrictions on the viability of electric vehicle use. Following discussion, the Council approved the response noting that electric vehicles should be incorporated where "practical".
Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 10:13 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!
The next meeting of the City Council will be September 24 at 5 pm in Menlo Park for a Joint Meeting with the City of Menlo Park. On that Agenda will be a discussion of interagency policing operations and input into development projects that impact traffic and pedestrian safety.
The next regular Town meeting will be October 2 for a Study Session Meeting. The October 2 meeting tentatively includes a brief demonstration of County Voting Machines; a Report and Recommendation to the Council on the possible use of Public Safety Cameras and Automated License Plate Readers; and a Report from the Fire Services Subcommittee.