George Rodericks

City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

Oct 17

That's A Wrap! - October 16, 2019

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 9:55 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

Council Meeting Date: October 16, 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. 

SHD_PresentationThe City Council met for the October Regular Meeting on Wednesday, October 16 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 Council received a presentation from Sequoia Healthcare District on their Enhanced Service Offerings. 

Menlo_College_OaktoberfestFollowing Presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments. During Public Comments, Menlo College Student Vice President, Joshua Salazar presented information about Menlo College activities and engagement and invited the public to attend Oaktoberfest at Menlo College on October 18 and 19


ReportFollowing 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. 

Following the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 12. 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, approval of an agreement for Measure W Funding, 2nd Reading and Adoption of an Ordinance amending the Construction Time Limit Penalty, and award of contract for the ADA Maintenance Project. Following brief comments, the Council approved the items on the Consent Agenda. 

Public_Hearing_ImageFollowing the Consent Agenda, the Council took up two Public Hearings.

Item No. 13 was a Public Hearing to adopt a Fee Resolution Amending Various Fees and Charges. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the amount of the labor cost increase since 2013 (19.5%), inclusion of a labor cost escalator based on the Consumer Price Index within the Resolution until such time as the Town completes a full Fee Study, timing of the adoption of an annual fee resolution, and the methodology and process for addressing construction without a permit and the associated penalties for that activity. Following discussion, the Council adopted the Resolution.  

Item No. 14 was a Public Hearing to introduce for 1st Reading an Ordinance adopting the 2019 California Building Code and Ratification of the Fire Regulations promulgated by the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the inclusion of a Standards and Guidelines Manual prepared by the Fire District and whether to include the Manual as part of the Town's ratification of the Fire Regulations. Following discussion, the Council introduced the Ordinance for 1st Reading and ratified the Fire Regulations, excluding the Standards and Guidelines Manual. 

Regular_Agenda_ImageNext up was the Regular Agenda.

The first item on the Regular Agenda was Item No. 15, a Report on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Process for San Mateo County.

Following a presentation by staff and an opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed the regional housing needs allocation process noting that the RHNA process is a responsibility of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and that the housing allocations that result from the process are directed down to the various local jurisdictions for inclusion in each jurisdiction's State-mandated Housing Element. Housing elements must show how each jurisdiction plans for the housing needs of its residents regardless of income. Housing elements do not mandate that each jurisdictions build the required housing units, but the housing element must show how the 
agency plans for such unit's development.

landsat-bay-areaABAG works with a Housing Methodology Committee to develop an overall allocation and then distributes a share of the region's required housing need to each city, town and county in the region. Each local government must then update the Housing Element of its General Plan to show the locations where housing can be built and the policies and strategies necessary to meet the identified needs. The Housing Methodology Committee is comprised of 9 elected officials (one from each Bay Area county), 12 jurisdiction housing staff (one from each county), 13 regional stakeholders representing equity, open space, public health and transit perspectives, and 1 partner each from State and Federal government. Individual jurisdictions do not have an individual voice in the allocation process; rather, jurisdictions have the ability to challenge their respective allocation through a hearing process. It was noted that the Town's allocation could increase from its current 93 units to as much as 300 units. The Town currently meets its housing element allocation from the prior cycle through the use of accessory dwelling units and college/school housing opportunities. Following discussion, the Council asked that staff continue to be involved as much as possible in the process and keep the Council apprised as the Town begins the next Housing Element Update process in 2020. 

TJKM_Community_BreakdownItem No. 16 on the Agenda was direction to staff on the Townwide Local Traffic Flow and Long Range Planning Solutions Study; the Plan for Public Outreach and Engagement, and authorization for a contract amendment with TJKM and Interwest for the Work. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the proposed process of public engagement and outreach, the philosophy of traffic flow along primary arterials versus neighborhood streets, the regional impact of traffic flow and regional projects, and the neighborhoods selected for public outreach and engagement. The Council discussed the budget for the project and the funding source(s) for the work. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff refine the proposal for the work by reducing and/or combining neighborhoods for outreach and return the proposal to the Council at a future meeting for consideration. 

Library_WorkThe last item on the Agenda was Item No. 17, an Update on the progress on the new Town Center and changes to the scopes of work for Mack5 and Interwest Consulting Group. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the progress of the project and the workload of Mack5 and Interwest Consulting Group. Following discussion, the Council authorized changes in the scope of work for both Mack5 and Interwest. More information on the Project can be found on via the Project BlogWebsite, and Webcams.

Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 8:47 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!



The next meeting of the City Council will be November 6 for a Study Session Meeting. The November 6 meeting tentatively includes a discussion of revisions to the Town's Heritage Tree Ordinance, a discussion of the Grand Boulevard Initiative, and a discussion of a possible future development tax.

GeorgeThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us



Sep 19

That's A Wrap! - September 18, 2019

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 8:58 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

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.


ReportFollowing 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. 


Library_Piers_8-26-19After 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.  

GP_PresentationItem 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. 
new-home
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. 

GI_ExampleItem 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.

GeorgeThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us



Jul 18

That's A Wrap! - July 17, 2019

Posted on July 18, 2019 at 8:28 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: July 17, 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. 

Following a Closed Session that began at 5 pm, the City Council met for the July Study Session on Wednesday, July 17 at approximately 5:50 pm. The Study Session included two items for review, discussion and direction by the Council.

Item No. 3, Review, Discuss and Provide Staff Direction regarding a Letter of Intent for Technical Assistance and Grant of $10,000 for the development of reach codes. After a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the need for reach codes, the breadth of their application, public outreach to the community and specifically the Builder's Roundtable, and the difference and philosophy of mandating compliance versus encouraging compliance. Following discussion, the Council opted not to send a letter of intent to Peninsula Clean Energy in support of development of reach codes for the Town.

Item No. 4, Review, Discuss and Provide feedback regarding the Town-wide Local Traffic Flow and Long Range Planning Solutions Study; and approve a Contract Amendment with TJKM for additional related services. After a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the philosophy of traffic flow through the Town. The Council discussed mitigation measures to address cut through traffic and the philosophy of moving traffic through Town on the primary arterials while mitigating cut through traffic along secondary streets. The Council provided feedback to staff to develop traffic philosophies and priority improvements to keep through traffic moving on the Town's primary north/south arterials - Middlefield, Avenida de las Pulgas, and El Camino Real and primary east/west arterials - Valparaiso, Atherton Avenue, Fair Oaks, and Marsh; develop mitigation measures to address cut through traffic to prevent significant impact on east/west secondary streets; and to return to the Council with an outreach and engagement plan to engage the community, discuss solutions, and ultimately implement mitigation measures. The Council also took action to approve the contract amendment with TJKM for additional services rendered.

Following the Study Session items, the Council moved to the Regular City Council Meeting at 7 pm. 
 
Following the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call, the Council moved to Presentations. During Presentations, the Oath of Office was administered to new Atherton Police Officer Joseph Green. 

Following Presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments. 

Report.jpegFollowing 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. The Council asked questions regarding signage and possible banners to assist the public with finding the relocated City Hall, the inclusion of minutes or summaries of prior meetings of committees in the City Manager's Report, and an update on the sinkhole on El Camino Real. 

After the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 15. 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, Approval of an extension to the Street Sweeping Contract, Approval of Purchase of Axon Body Cameras, Approval of an extension to the Janitorial Services Contract, Acceptance of Work for the 2019 Street Maintenance Project, and Authorization to purchase 3 marked police motorcycles. Following brief comments on the possible expansion of street sweeping services to assist with compliance with the Clean Water Act, brief questions related to the keeping of data for body cameras, the policy on use, and the future education of the Council/Community on their use, and brief questions on the number of motorcycle officers, the Council approved the items on the Consent Agenda. 

Following the Consent Agenda, the Council took up the Regular Agenda beginning with a Public Hearing.

Item No. 16, a Public Hearing for Consideration of a Special Event Permit to allow Temporary Lights for Menlo School's Homecoming Football Game at Cartan Athletic Field, 30 Alejandra Avenue. The Council opened the Public Hearing and staff provided a brief staff report. Following the staff report, the Council heard from the Project Applicant and then other members of the public during public comment. Following the Open Public Hearing, the Council discussed various issues related to the Special Event and the event site. The Council discussed whether a special event permit had ever been granted in prior years, whether there would be amplified sound and if not, how were event activities broadcast, whether this is intended to be a multi-year event or application, and whether there was any precedent to be set by approval. Following discussion, the Council expressed support for approval of the Special Event Permit noting that the Permit was for a single year only, that the School had taken and plans to take on mitigation measures to alleviate any impact to adjacent properties, and while there could have been better communication with the neighbors, there was support for the event. Following comments, the Council approved the Special Event Permit, as presented. 

Item No. 17 was consideration of acceptance of a sculpture donation from the Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation and Atherton Arts Foundation; and authorize an amendment to the Public Works Park Maintenance Budget for FY 2019/20 for installation of any donated art piece. Following a staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the cost of installation of the potential art pieces and noted that typically the donor, in this case the Foundation(s) would pay for the installment of the art pieces. The Council discussed the various potential donated pieces and expressed support for "He Ain't Heavy" and secondary support for "Expanding Wholeness". The Council discussed the possible installation at the corner of Middlefield and Marsh Road, clarifying the intended corner location. Staff expressed concerns about installation at the corner in order to maintain unimpeded access to the Atherton Channel for maintenance. The Council expressed a desire to beautify the corner, but noted that installation of an art piece at that location may not be the best option; although asked that staff further evaluate the potential. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff return to the Foundation(s) and express support for "He Ain't Heavy" for installation in the Park with input from the Park & Recreation Committee. The Council directed that installation costs should be borne by the Foundation(s). As there was no acceptance of a donation at this time and no authorization for a budget amendment for installation costs, there was no action taken by the Council. The item will return to the Council in the future for formal acceptance once staff has returned to the Foundations with input on costs and selection. 

Item No. 18 was consideration of adoption of a revision to the Town's Integrated Pest Management Policy regarding the use of Round Up in the Park. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to natural weed control, product versus ingredient, lawsuits and legal liability, transition away from the product's use, State legislation, impact on maintenance and weed growth in the Park, and alternative products. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff transition away from the use of glyphosate-based products in the Park and develop a public information notice for the Park advising of the discontinued use and impact, in order to adjust weed tolerance for users of the Park. 

Item No. 19 was the review and consideration of revisions to the Middlefield Road Bike Lanes Project and direction to staff regarding proposed improvements to an existing crosswalk at Valparaiso and Elena. Following a staff presentation and public comment, the Council took each issue up separately and discussed issues related to extent of revisions to the Middlefield Road turn pockets, the impact on bicycle lanes on Middlefield Road (if any), and any anticipated project cost or timing impact. With respect to the crosswalk, the Council discussed the need for a flashing beacon at the crosswalk, the funding of the beacon, the number of users, the future number of users, the potential for future signalization, coordination with Menlo Park, refreshing of the striping, and neighborhood outreach. Following discussion, the Council approved revisions to the Middlefield Road Bike Lanes Project, expressed support for a flashing beacon at Valparaiso and Elena, advised that the cost of design, installation and outreach be borne by Sacred Heart School, and directed that staff coordinate with Menlo Park for the refreshing of the painted crosswalk with costs to be borne by the two agencies.

Next was Item No. 20, Approval of the 6th Amendment to the City Manager's Employment Agreement. Following a staff report and public comment, the Council approved the amendment amending the base salary and auto allowance for the City Manager.  

Last up was Item No. 21, Civic Center Update and Authorization for contract amendment with Murray Engineers, Inc. for increased funding due to project delays and rate adjustments; and authorization for a lease agreement with Mobile Modular Management for Temporary Restrooms for the Police Department. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council asked about a rate escalator clause within the Murray Agreement and discussed that need for the temporary restrooms. Following discussion, the Council authorized the amendment with Murray Engineers provided there was a rate escalator within the original agreement; and authorized the lease agreement for temporary restrooms for the Police Department.

Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:38 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!



The next meeting of the City Council will be September 4 for a Study Session Meeting. The Council will be DARK for the month of August. The September 4 meeting tentatively includes a review of Cash Flow Planning for the Civic Center Project; Review of a Gas Leaf Blower Use Policy Recommendation from the Environmental Programs Committee; and a Report and Recommendation to the CIty Council on the use of Automated License Plate Readers and Public Safety Cameras.

GeorgeR6824xThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

Town of Atherton
grodericks@ci.atherton.ca.us