Council Meeting Date: July 20, 2022
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 July Meeting on Wednesday, July 20 at 6 pm via Hybrid - (Zoom and In-Person) pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order. Following the Roll Call the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with Presentations. The Council heard the Annual Report from the Park and Recreation Committee and presented a Proclamation for Pride Month. Following presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments.
Following Public Comments and a Report out of Closed Session, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report (~6:17 pm). The City Manager's Report is typically prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it typically includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works.
Following the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 7 through 18 (~6:17 pm). 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 and claims, minutes, Certification of the Continuing COVID-19 Emergency, 2nd Reading and Adoption of Ordinances, Professional Services Agreement with Willdan Engineering, Acceptance of Work for Tennis Court Resurfacing, Award of Contract for work, Approval of a 1-year Agreement with Knox Playschool and approval of a Tree Maintenance Service Agreement. The Council approved all remaining items on the Consent Agenda.
Next was Public Hearings.
Public Hearings are typically held for Ordinances, Budget Adoption, Fee Adoption, and Land Use approvals. There were no Public Hearings on the July Agenda.
Next up was the Regular Agenda (~6:18 pm).
Item No. 19 was Discussion of the Housing Element Update and Public Comments; and providing direction to staff. The City Manager provided introductory comments to the Council noting that it was likely that the formative recommendations at the end of the meeting for direction to staff would include some rendition of the following substantive changes:
— Remove the proposal for multi-family overlays from the Housing Element.
— Remove the first 3 bullets from the recommendations regarding proposed changes to the PFS Zone; effectively retaining the requirement for CUPs and making no changes to height or setbacks.
— Remove the comment regarding schools specifically developing housing on campus to be rented to the general public.
— Remove the Inclusionary Ordinance provision as it would no longer be necessary without the Overlay Zoning.
The City Manager noted that other changes will be made that include data corrections related to acreages of school property, expansion of the history of outreach and participation to expand beyond the April 2022 Community Engagement Meeting, and clarifying corrections throughout the document and in particular, within the preliminary sections of the Element in areas that address background data and analysis as it applies to Atherton. Specifically, the intent is to ensure that the Housing Element articulates the unique challenges facing the Town with land affordability and our efforts to strongly encourage the production of ADUs. The City Manager noted that staff also recommends that the Town include suggestions from the Housing Leadership Council where they are and remain applicable, as noted by staff in Attachment 2. In addition, if the changes noted above are undertaken, staff also recommends that the Council consider minor adjustments to the housing unit production numbers to reflect the changes and resultant production expectations when the Housing Element returns to the Council for submission to HCD on July 27.
The City Manager noted that even with these changes, it is likely that the Town can achieve and possibly exceed its Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) production expectations. The City Manager noted that that can only occur with a well-defined and high-functioning ADU Production and Rental Program with the full and active participation of the community. That participation will be a critical component to the success of the program and the ability for the Town to show that success to HCD. Since the Town revised its ADU Ordinance in the last few years, ADU production has increased so success is achievable but again, only with the full support of this community to follow through on the rental of those units.
However, even with a successful ADU program, the Town will still fall short of the 348 units required by the State. To meet the shortfall, the Town will also need to show housing production through lot splits under Senate Bill 9 and the development of vacant lots in Town. Those production categories also rely on residents to develop their property and make decisions to subdivide their property where practical and allow others to develop them.
The last category addresses the need for workforce housing. This category of unit development relies largely on private schools to develop teacher, faculty, and non-dormitory style student housing on their campuses. While some schools have identified the need and have identified funding to support that need, others have not. Menlo College, for example, has a need for teacher and faculty housing and can identify a space on campus to place such housing, but they struggle with the ability to finance the solution. Perhaps there are opportunities for private partnerships that can make that a reality for them. If those opportunities are to be realized, they need to be formally proposed so that the Town can report them to HCD. A small portion of the solution also rests with CalWater at Bear Gulch where they have committed to developing some workforce housing for their staff.
Lastly, the City Manager advised that there will be further public education and engagement on the Housing Element. From that, the Town may be able to develop additional, out of the box solutions that will help the Town achieve the targets mandated by the State. Staff suggests that that engagement begin in late September after initial feedback from HCD is received. The City Manager also noted that if the Town removes all of the items noted earlier, enhances ADU production to a level that meets or exceeds expectations and creates other housing opportunities AND STILL the State denies the Town’s Housing Element for certification, some of the solutions or variations of those solutions discussed may return in the future for reconsideration.
Following the City Manager's comments, Town Planner Costa Sanders reviewed the Staff Report and Public Comments. The Council took Public Comment and then discussed the comments received and Housing Element recommendations. The Council discussed issues related to housing production at schools, breakdown for school housing, ABAG data and extrapolation Countywide, possibility of refinement of jobs data that did not appear accurate for Atherton, the use of overlay zoning, land affordability challenges for developing affordable housing, development of rental programs, changes to the PFS Zone, use of an Ad Hoc Subcommittee, ADUs over garages, teacher housing, surveying the community, and community engagement. Following discussion, the Council concurred with the recommendations noted above with the caveat that staff, when making changes noted, also make adjustments to the 4th bullet of the PFS Zoning to reflect Council comments, adjust the calculation for 170 Atherton Avenue development under SB 9, and revise the overall document with an eye toward ADU and land affordability challenges.
Item No. 20, Adoption of a Resolution to Consolidate and Call the November 8, 2022 General Election (~8 pm). Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council adopted all requisite Resolutions to call the General Election for November 8, 2022.
Item No. 21, Award of Professional Services Agreement for Interim Planning Services (~8:01 pm). Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to timing, services provided, experience, and overlap. Following discussion, the Council approved the staff recommendation to award a professional services agreement for Interim Planning Services to M-Group.
The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 22, Approve the creation of the Management Analyst I/II and Receptionist/Clerk Positions and Establish Salary Ranges for Said Positions (~8:03 pm). Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to salary ranges, educational requirements, and responsibilities. Following discussion, the Council adopted the staff recommendation to create the positions and establish the salary ranges. The Council also directed that the City Manager establish the minimum education requirement for the Management Analyst as a Bachelor's Degree.
Having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 8:15 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!
The next meeting of the City Council will be a Special Meeting on July 27 at 4 pm to consider submission of the Draft Housing Element to the State. The City Council is DARK for the month of August. The next meeting will be the Study Session on September 7 at 4 pm.
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