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Posted on February 3, 2017 at 9:56 AM by grodericks grodericks
City Manager's Monthly Report - December 2016 & January 2017
The City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed.
As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates (older emails get shorter) in favor of the most recent - although some will be duplicative if there is other relevant information included; I try to remove information regarding events that have already occurred; and I edit information that requires update - hopefully to make it more useful. However, overall, the information is generally the same as it was presented to the City Council in their weekly Council email.
The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me via email or phone.
My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday.
Town of Atherton
1. Second Dwelling Units - New State Law
Linked here is a Memorandum from the City Attorney on Secondary Dwelling Units and changes
to State law. We do not see that many second dwelling unit applications. Those that we do see are more often an homeowner attempting to
not have the unit count toward the required square footage calculations. Most are not intending to rent out the unit; however, that could change.
There will need to be some minor changes to our Municipal Code. Staff will keep tabs on this issue and if rentals, uses, etc. become something that we need to get ahead of - we will bring the issue
up to the Council for consideration. This may include addressing any community trends toward AirBnB or short-term rentals.
2. Shred & E-Scrap Events (Compost Earth Day Library)
We are working to schedule Recology Shred and E-Scrap events for the spring. Staff is working to coordinate an Earth
Day event with the Shred/E-Scrap/Compost event, together with a small Farmer’s Market and Library event.
3. 100% Design Development Plan Set
The 100% Design Development Plan Set is in my office on my small conference table. Please feel free to
stop in and browse through it. I am happy to go through it with each of you during any one-on-one. There have been no significant design changes other than
those already reviewed by the Council. You can also download a set from the Civic Center Project webpage - 100% Design Development Plan Sets.
4. Planning Commission Follow-up - January 25 Meeting
The Planning Commission met on January 25 and took the following action(s):
- 97 Michaels - Approved a special structures permit to allow construction of a detached garage within the front yard setback of the main residence.
- 50 Valparaiso, Menlo School - continued review of the 2016 Annual Master Plan to the February 22, 2017 Meeting.
- Consideration of studying the Landscape Screening Ordinance - Received and discussed a formal request from a property owner to consider further evaluation to establish regulations protecting sunlight access on adjoining
properties in relation to landscaping screening required to be planted on a property as part of a development permit. The Commission did not recommend further evaluation of the issue.
Next meeting is scheduled for February 22, 2017.
5. ABAG Special General Assembly - ABAG/MTC Consolidation Overview
ABAG has produced the linked ABAG-MTC Staff Consolidation Overview which describes how the two agencies are proceeding with the integration of programs,
projects and staff. This will be presented and discussed at the upcoming Special General Assembly on January 30.
6. City Council Ad Hoc Performance Evaluation Subcommittee
The Mayor has appointed himself and Council Member Bill Widmer to serve on the Ad Hoc Performance Evaluation Subcommittee to review and recommend revisions to the
City Manager’s Performance Appraisal Form and Process.
7. Use of Small Shed(s) at Rear of Carriage House
Staff is having a few challenges with the storage of materials inside the Carriage House for Park Vendors. As the Council may be aware, over the years, staff has allowed vendors to store materials inside the Carriage House at the rear of the building in/around
the old horse stall areas. This hasn’t really been too much of an issue as the storage has been limited and needed limited access. However, in recent years, vendors have been accessing their areas more frequently and sometimes this clashes with rental of the
To accommodate, staff is experimenting with the placement of a small storage shed at the rear of the Carriage House (outdoors). The first trial is with Freddie Jackson (dog trainer) at the Park. The initial location was inside of the Corporation Yard; but staff
felt that this type of access was unacceptable in the long-term. As we remodel the Park Corporation Yard space, we will be looking to include a small vendor area (fenced and screened) for similar storage needs.
8. Bear Gulch Storage Tank Project
Linked here is an informational notice regarding a community meeting hosted by Cal Water for their new storage tank at the Bear Gulch Reservoir. Staff will be attending the meeting. The
project will require CEQA review and a Conditional Use Permit from the Planning Commission.
9. MidPen Media Center Information
Linked here is the 2017 MidPen Media Center Budget Presentation and information on their Facility Purchase Concept to
address the use of PEG funds. I serve on the Mid-Pen Operational Committee.
10. June Special Election
As the Council discusses the possibility of a June Special Election, it is important to note that the election will represent a cost to the Town. Theresa contacted the County Elections Office for data. A 2017 Special Election (Polls) would cost approximately
$73,000 ($14.78 per voter). A 2017 Special Election (Mail Ballot) would cost approximately $27,000 ($5.50 per voter). A successful measure would need 51% of the registered voters that vote in the election to be successful.
The November 2017 Special Parcel Tax election will cost approximately $7,300.
11. CalPERS Discount Rate Changes
Linked here is a recent CalPERS Circular on their changes to the discount rate. While the memorandum provides agencies with a way to calculate impact, staff will use our new partner GovInvest
to create a few “what if” scenarios for review and discussion by the Finance Committee. These will address the various potential impacts.
12. SFPUC Response Letter
Linked here is staff’s response to the SFPUC’s recent communication on the water pipeline.
13. Civic Center Project Zones
One of the issues that arose at the last Council Meeting was what areas are included in the Library costs and what areas are included in the rest. Linked here is a scope of work by zone graphic that
might help. Any improvements (site work, sustainability features, and building) within the library zone is funded by the Library funds. Work outside the Library area is presently funded by donations and authorized building funds. This is how we are able to
delineate sustainability features and add alternates (to include reduced scope landscaping).
14. GBI Task Force Update
Linked here is a recent update from the Grand Boulevard Task Force for December 2016.
As the Council may remember, we were approached by a contractor facilitating a large grant program via Caltrans that would fund a significant portion of a potential detention basin at Las
Lomitas. We have been working with Las Lomitas, the consultant, and Caltrans since being notified of this opportunity. It continues to look promising, but it is slow moving. We’ll keep you informed. The issues that must be vetted through the grant include
an outline of potential areas of the storm trap system, determining a depth and acreage for water storage capacity and the underground system, determine the amounts of detention versus infiltration, pump needs, rough schedule and cost.
There is an item on Wednesday’s Agenda to allow us to get additional consultant help to compile the additional data - an expansion of scope for the existing consultant. The Caltrans grant is 100% - no
local match - at this point we are looking at $10-$15 million dollars of work.
2. Civic Center Corporation Yard
After further analysis of the Town’s Corporation Yard, there may be a way to renovate the exisitng structure instead of building a new structure. This could save approximately $250,000 in construction
costs. Staff is working with WRNS to redesign accordingly. This is part of the Civic Center Report for the Regular Agenda - seeking feedback from the Council based on where we are now.
3. Refuse Franchise Agreement
I will be coming to the Council in February with a authorization to spend funds from the Town’s Rate Stabilization Fund to engage a consultant (only if needed) to assist with an RFP process.
4. Goal Setting Session
We are bringing back Management Partners (Nancy Hetrick) to assist the Council in the 2017 Goal Setting Session.
Please bring your calendars to the January 18 meeting to assist with finding dates and times for Study Sessions and Special Meetings for the year.
5. Articles of Interest
Linked here are 4 articles of interest:
- Mercury News - Public Works Storm Activity
- Mercury News - Atherton Seeking Repeal of Measure L
- Mercury News - New Town Center
- Almanac News - Property Tax Webpage
6. 400 Walsh Road - Unauthorized Work
The State is working with the property owner at 400 Walsh Road to bring all into compliance/modifications (as needed)/new permits/etc.
7. Sutherland Driveway Appeal
The appeal is being moved out a month as the property owner works with the Fire District to gain approval of a new entrance graded without a flare in front of the neighbors property.
As the Council may remember, we were approached by a contractor facilitating a large grant program via Caltrans that would fund a significant portion of a potential detention basin at Las Lomitas. We have been working with Las Lomitas,
the consultant, and Caltrans since being notified of this opportunity. It continues to look promising, but it is slow moving. We’ll keep you informed.
The issues that must be vetted through the grant include an outline of potential areas of the storm trap system, determining a depth and acreage for water storage capacity and the underground system, determine the amounts of detention versus
infiltration, pump needs, rough schedule and cost.
We will be returning to Council to
amend the consultant’s scope to include providing this information.
3. Transportation Committee - Joint Meeting with Menlo Park
The Transportation Committee is hosting a Special Joint Meeting with Menlo Park on January 11. The meeting will be held at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers - 701 Laurel Street. The agenda link is:
4. Work in the Atherton Channel - Walsh Road
On Wednesday (12/14/2016) afternoon, it was brought to the Town's attention that work in the Atherton Channel was taking place adjacent to 400 Walsh Road in Atherton. Our Code Enforcement Officer, along with our PW Engineer, went out
to the site. The homeowner at 400 Walsh Road had hired a contractor to install “rip-wrap” along the bank adjacent to their home in two (2) locations. They were using equipment to roll large stones from the shoulder
of Walsh Road down a hill onto their property. These stones were moved from this “drop zone” to two different locations, where they were placed with a small excavator. There was apparently at least one Heritage tree removed during this time.
There were no permits applied for or received by the RWQCB, Fish and Game or the Town of Atherton for any of this work. This work has taken place inside an area being maintained by the Town for natural habitat restoration per agreement
from a previous project within the waters.
The homeowner and contractor were directed to cease and desist all work pending an investigation. Thursday (12/15/2016) the Public
Works Department made a visit to the site. We have contacted the RWQCB to determine how best to move forward from here. Our resident who performed this work will be needing guidance on how to move forward. Most of the project has already been completed. There is
a joint meeting next week with representatives from the State for the project.
5. Civic Plus (website) Reporting Tool
As the Council is aware, the Town’s website has a complaint reporting tool that is fairly well received and active. For example, at 8 pm on Wednesday, the Town received
a complaint via the website portal about speeding on Selby Lane during school times. This went directly to dispatch and a traffic enforcement detail was scheduled for Thursday morning. The reporting party was contacted in response to the complaint.
6. DOE Grant Application - Alternative Fuel Vehicles
You may remember that the Town applied as part of C/CAG for a grant opportunity via the Department of Energy for Alternative Fuel Vehicles. The grant application was unsuccessful.
7. Animal Services Report - November 2016
Linked here is the Animal Services Report for November 2016.
8. Park Revenue and Event Log
Linked here is the December 2016 Park Event Log and Revenue
9. Refuse Franchise Negotiations
Staff and the Town’s Refuse Subcommittee are working with the SBWMA to discuss the possibility of franchise renewal using a model franchise for the member agencies with “a
la carte” options for other agencies to turn on or turn off parts of the model franchise.
As a member of the Technical Advisory Committee I recently attended a facilitated franchise renewal workshop to highlight key areas of negotiations for the model franchise.
Our issues were well represented and echoed by other agencies. Among the issues raised were - a la carte programs/services, clear/reportable/trackable performance measures, bulky item collection, easier to understand rate setting process, service level agreements
for performance, etc.
10.Meeting on Cartan Field
Staff is meeting next week with the City Attorney to discuss issues related to the Cartan Field CUP.
11. Mail Delivery Issue on Isabella
We are connecting with the postmaster to discuss mail delivery service issues on Isabella.
12. Atherton Quiet Zone
We have a meeting setup in mid-January with Caltrain to discuss Quiet Zone compliance.
13. Police Chief Recruitment
The Police Chief Recruitment is open and the brochure should be on the street this week.
14. Fire Services Fiscal Review (delayed)
I expect the Fire Services Fiscal Review to be released to interested consultants in the next week.
15. Utility Pole/Cell Site - Tuscaloosa
Staff is working with a property owner on Tuscaloosa to address issues related to a cell tower installation as well as drainage on the street.
16. HSR Reimbursement Agreement
The HSR Reimbursement Agreement has been finalized and should be signed next week.
The new State law requires local agencies to update their local ordinances by January 2017. Failure to do so means that any local law that conflicts with State law cannot be enforced. That’s
standard. The primary area of concern is related to setbacks: accessory structures, e.g., pool houses, have smaller setbacks than secondary dwelling units. The State is attempting to make it easier for homeowners to create secondary dwelling units, including
out of existing structures (conversions). The new State law provides that the Town can impose setback restrictions on
new second units, but it is silent with regard to existing structures (conversions). We do not expect there to be an issue, but we want to be cautious and thoughtful about how we move
4. Tree Failure at Atherton Avenue/ECR
You may have noticed the tree failure on the corner lot at Atherton Avenue and El Camino Real. Now that the tree is no longer an issue, we are re-approaching the property
owner about widening the roadway a bit in that area to facilitate the turn lane that is compacted.
5. Connecting with Menlo School / Menlo College
We are connecting with Menlo School and Menlo College about an access road and its continued use.
6. Menlo Park - Oak Grove Bicycle Lane
We will be working in concert with Menlo Park on the bicycle lane improvements on Oak Grove. Their project is expected to be in progress Spring 2017. We will work on the connecting the
Town section (Rebecca to Middlefield) to their section.
7. HAWK Beacons on El Camino Real
We continue to push Caltrans for an ETA on work on the additional HAWK Beacons on ECR. Their latest update (December 12) is “…the project is currently rock wheeling other locations. The
contract is waiting for poles, cabinets and other equipment to arrive. They will start drilling operations soon, weather permitting.”
8. Detention Basin at Las Lomitas
As the Council may remember, we were approached by a contractor facilitating a large grant program via Caltrans that would fund a significant portion of a potential detention basin at Las
Lomitas. We have been working with Las Lomitas, the consultant, and Caltrans since being notified of this opportunity. It continues to look promising, but it is slow moving. We’ll keep you informed.
The issues that must be vetted through the grant include an outline of potential areas of the storm trap system, determining a depth and acreage for water storage capacity and the underground
system, determine the amounts of detention versus infiltration, pump needs, rough schedule and cost.
9. Transportation Committee - Joint Meeting with Menlo Park
The Transportation Committee is hosting a joint meeting with Menlo Park on January 11.
10. Study of Feasibility of Quad Gates
As the Council is aware, we’ve been connecting with HSR and Caltrain to move forward with the Town’s feasibility study for quad gates at Watkins ($100,000). We approached Caltrain and learned
that HSR is moving along the same track - we talked directly with HSR. They denied our request to fund our study; but advised that they are doing something similar as part of their EIR. They are identifying required improvements and developing budget level
estimates for quad gates along the Caltrain corridor as part of their environmental document that (as you know) they are paying the Town to review. This work should complete in Spring 2017 - in line with the Town’s expectations had we had to fund our $100,000
11. Work in the Atherton Channel - Walsh Road
On Wednesday (12/14/2016) afternoon, it was brought to the Town's attention that work in the Atherton Channel was taking place adjacent to 400 Walsh Road in Atherton. Our Code Enforcement
Officer, along with our PW Engineer, went out to the site.
The homeowner at 400 Walsh Road had hired a contractor to install “rip-wrap” along the bank adjacent to their home in two (2) locations. They were using equipment to roll large stones
from the shoulder of Walsh Road down a hill onto their property. These stones were moved from this “drop zone” to two different locations, where they were placed with a small excavator. There was apparently at least one Heritage tree removed during this time.
There were no permits applied for or received by the RWQCB, Fish and Game or the Town of Atherton for any of this work. This work has taken place inside an area being maintained by
the Town for natural habitat restoration per agreement from a previous project within the waters.
The homeowner and contractor were directed to cease and desist all work pending an investigation. Thursday (12/15/2016) the Public Works Department made a visit to the site. We have
contacted the RWQCB to determine how best to move forward from here. Our resident who performed this work will be needing guidance on how to move forward. Most of the project has already been completed. We will be pursuing the property owner for construction
permits and tree removal issues; but the RWQCB and Fish & Game also have jurisdictional authority.
"Happy Holidays! We hope that you and your family will be enjoying some good time together in the coming weeks. We have a week of school left and then campus will be free of students
from December 16-January 4. I hope that the reduction in traffic during a busy season is helpful to you as you attend all of the wonderful activities that make this season enjoyable.
I write today to give you an update and to ask for your input. In terms of an update, the construction on our new cafeteria and technology center continues to go well. We are still on
schedule to complete these projects in August of 2017. I am confident that some of the construction noise has reached your fences (you would not believe the slabs of concrete we’ve found under the areas surrounding Stent Family Hall, which have led to more
jackhammering than anyone would have wished for!). I want to thank you for your patience and support during this time because these new facilities will change the way our students experience the School in profound ways.
The feedback I seek is only tangentially related to our construction. You may know that every spring for the last 21 years we have run our spring musical outdoors under the stars. This
tradition started on the grass, in the main loop in front of Stent Hall, as an effort to produce larger scale productions that could accommodate more students than we have room for in Florence Moore Auditorium. In 2009, the productions moved to the Upper School
Quad. This has become a wonderful community experience for our kids, families, and members of the community. This year, due to construction, we are exploring moving these performances to the Middle School Quad. Before I approach the Town of Atherton, I thought
I would start by opening a dialog with each of you to explore what this means for you and to find out how you feel about it.
Here are some logistics that might be helpful: the show, How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying, runs over two weekends with performances
May 19-21 and May 26-27. Each performance begins at 8:00 pm and ends no later than 10:00 pm. Additionally, rehearsals would take place from May 9-18 between 5:30-9:30 pm. We expect the sound will be buffered by the Middle School buildings but due to the single
story buildings on our shared fence line we suspect that you will likely hear some singing, reading of lines, and, of course, the enthusiastic support coming from the audiences at each show.
I live in a house directly behind our Upper School Quad (admittedly behind a two story building) and I can hear music and cheers during performances in the spring, though just barely
and only if I am standing out in our back yard. Because we have not done this before I can’t predict, in all candor, whether my experience will translate to yours.
Here is what I can promise: this is a one-time only request as we look forward to moving the performance back to our Upper School Quad in the spring of 2018. I can also promise unlimited,
free, front row tickets to your family for the duration of the run. We would love to host you, your family and friends for an evening under the stars.
I wanted to get this to you early so we have time to discuss what this might mean and what concerns you might have. We can communicate by telephone or in person if you prefer. Please
think this over and let me know when you might like to talk further. Ideally, I would like get a sense of where you stand by January 6, 2017, so we can begin the planning process."
The Planning Commission, at its December 7, 2016, took the following action:
The next meeting is scheduled for January 25, 2016.
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