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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.

Aug 02

July 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on August 2, 2017 at 9:18 AM by George Rodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - July 2017

Monthly-report.pngThe 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. 

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 directly via email or phone.

My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday.

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George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

July 28, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

Of Note:

The Almanac articles concerning the Fire District had comments on the online posts. These comments have since been removed. One of the comments was from John Ullom. Mr. Ullom subsequently sent an email to the full Council noting: 

"I hope this information finds you well. I am the citizen that filed the PRA requests that have Mr. Carpenter's panties in a bunch. Here is the backstory. In 2015, Virginia Chang Kiraly made some assertions that sounded like BS. I filed a PRA with the MPFPD. The results proved that VCK was indeed slinging cow poop. They also revealed that both Virginia and Peter use their personal email addresses to do public business. I tried to obtain those emails but was denied. Recently a judge decided that folks like VCK and Peter should not be able to hide public business done using personal resources. I filed again for asking for all District related emails that involved the use of personal email addresses. Peter Carpenter tossed a tizzy worthy of the tangerine tinged tyrant in DC. First, Carpenter sent me an email declaring he never used his personal email address for fire district business. I informed Carpenter via the MPFPD lawyer that I already was in possession of emails that proved his claim was false. Peter changed his tune. Then Peter Carpenter sent me an email whining about having to search through 12 years of personal emails in order to confirm that he never ever used his personal email to public business. In that email, Carpenter made what could be construed as a threat. He cryptically stated that I would be held to account. I do not know what he meant by that. I'll pretend he didn't mean any kind of violence or such. As you are probably aware of, Peter Carpenter is a kind of prickly fella. Your observation about his PRA hypocrisy was far more accurate than I think you knew. Now you know. If you want the proof, I have his emails. Good luck dealing with him”

2. Interest in the EPC

Brian Keifendem responded to the Council’s request for consideration of appointment to the Environmental Programs Committee. We will circle back with Brian to get his completed letter/application of interest and return this to the Council for consideration of appointment in September. 

As the Council may recall, Brian was one of the applicants for the Planning Commission. 

3. Action Items - Timing

As the Civic Center Project moves to bid in early 2018, there will be a number of issues that will need to move quickly. To accommodate, we will be adding quick action items to the Study Session Agendas as needed to keep the project on track. Over the next 6 months, you may see items for the project appear on both the Regular Agenda and Study Session Agenda as necessary. 

4. Kudos to the Building Department

I received the following email providing kudos to the Town’s Building Department: 

"This note is to appreciate the extraordinary service provided by the Building Department of Atherton under the leadership of Mr. Mike Greenlee. In the past two years I had a major house remodeling with a wonderful experience with the Atherton Building Department. Remodeling is known to be a difficult and sometimes painful process. However, their service and help made the process as smooth and less painful as one could hope for. They strictly followed the government rules and regulations while proactively providing constructive advice for us to get the jobs done to our satisfaction. They were very responsible and responsive – always on top of things. They were highly professional and courteous. The remarks I heard from the contractors were also very positive. They praised the Building Department staff as the most efficient and responsive government employees they had ever encountered. They felt that they were treated with dignity and respect. I often had conversations with other Atherton residents and exchanged the “woe” of remodeling in different ways. However, there was one thing in common: we were all pleased with the service by the Building Department. Finally, I want to thank you for supporting and managing this unique organization for serving our town’s needs. Indeed, it is a role model of public service organizations."

5. Planning Commission Meeting - July 26, 2017

The Planning Commission took the following action at the July 26 Meeting:

- Continued (per request of applicant to allow time to work with Town Arborist) the request of 124 Austin Avenue for a Heritage Tree Removal Permit to allow the removal of one heritage Norway spruce tree for consideration at the August 23, 2017 meeting.
- Continued (per request of applicant to allow time to work with Town Arborist) the request of 264 Bay Road for a Special Structures Permit to allow a habitable basement under an accessory building and a Variance to allow a detached garage to be located in the required front yard setback for consideration at the August 23, 2017 meeting.
- Continued the request of 172 Tuscaloosa Avenue  to allow the relocation of two heritage oak trees.  The Commission directed the project applicant to continue to work with the adjacent neighbor to address tree screening concerns for consideration at the August 23, 2017 meeting.
- Approved the request of 55 Camino Por Los Arboles for a Special Structures Permit to allow portions of the vertical sidewalls of the main residence to exceed 22 feet (up to 23.5 feet) and portions of the main residence to exceed 30 feet (up to 33 feet).
- Approved the request of 58 Mulberry Lane for a Heritage Tree Removal Permit to allow for the removal of one heritage palm tree and a Variance to allow a detached garage to be located in the required front yard setback.
- Continued discussion on potential revisions to the Atherton Municipal Code Heritage Tree Ordinance.  The Commission directed staff to come back for an additional study session with more qualitative/quantitative data as feasible regarding the different distance alternatives considered for a Tree Protection Zone (TPZ), and to further address means of Town enforcement regarding projects that do not comply with tree protection measures prior to and during the construction process.
- Reappointed Eric Lane as Planning Commission Chair and Randy Lamb as Planning Commission Vice Chair.

6. AT&T Wireless Application(s) - Node Sites

AT&T is about to submit 25 separate node site applications for wireless facilities. These facilities are not the typical AT&T site and are restricted to small pole attachments (no ground-mount equipment) and pole-top canister extensions on existing PG&E poles. Most of the sites are unobtrusive and screened in or near existing tree lines. The standard application process will be applied to each site and public meetings will be conducted pursuant to the requirements in the ordinance. There are numerous existing similar sites around Town installed by T-Mobile and Verizon. 

7. County “Road Diet” Project(s) - Sand Hill & Santa Cruz

Staff is researching a County project on Alameda de las Pulgas that would reconfigure the intersection of Sand Hill and Alameda de las Pulgas and Santa Cruz. Staff will be asking for any existing traffic studies and other information that can elucidate the project’s impact on Atherton (if any). 
8. Council of Cities Dinner - SAVE THE DATE - October 27

The Town is hosting the Council of Cities dinner meeting on October 27. Additional details and invitations will be sent in September. 

9. Working Draft - Parcel Tax Ballot Argument

The Subcommittee continues work on the Parcel Tax Ballot Argument set to be reviewed and approved by the Council at the Special Meeting on Tuesday, August 1 at 9 am. The final draft will be presented to the Council at the meeting for any final word-smithing before approval. 

10. Bayfront Canal Project Meeting/MOU

Staff attended a Bayfront Canal/Atherton Channel Flood Protection Project meeting this week. The County is taking the lead role in drafting the MOU and the MOU language has the County continuing in this role throughout the project. Section 4, Responsibility of the Collaborative, was discussed and revised to allow the County Land Department to negotiate all temporary and permanent land and easements for the Collaborative. The final land transfers will still go to the respective jurisdictions.
The RFP for design services has been sent out to three firms and proposals are due on August 1st. The review period for these proposals is expected to be about one to two weeks. The County mentioned they would like to finalize the MOU as soon as possible as they will not be able to execute the contract for design services until the MOU has been approved and executed.  Staff reminded the County that as a condition to consideration of partnership in the Collaborative, Atherton wants the opportunity to independently verify the Jurisdictional Flow Contributions in Table 1 - Exhibit A and that this independent review will take some time. The County mentioned that any delay in the execution of the MOU and contract for design services could potentially put the Collaborative at risk of not being in a position to pursue several grants that could help offset future construction costs. The County asked for a timeline for this independent review. Staff agreed to provide an approximate time line for this review and asked the County to provide information about these grants to help gain perspective on the urgency of executing the MOU.  

Staff advised the County that there are still many outstanding items that need discussion that will take time to explore including pursuing alternative funding and allocation strategies. Staff mentioned that Atherton would like to look at the overall cost share strategy for the entire project through construction, not just design, to gain a better perspective on how all costs will be shared or credited for future projects, grant contributions etc. Staff also asked Collaborative members to consider the use of Development Impact Fees and financial participation from major stakeholders such as Stanford to reduce costs and mentioned that this would also take some time. The County and other Collaborative members agreed to consider exploring these options including Impact Fees and add language to the MOU and Exhibit A that will show how future costs/revenue will be allocated/credited to each member. Staff advised the County that the MOU will need to be revised as discussed and all of Atherton’s conditions to participate in the Collaborative must still be met. The following discussion occurred regarding these conditions:
- all other affected agencies are at the table in equal measure (Woodside, Portola Valley, Stanford, Menlo, RWC, County, etc.);
All members of the Collaborative, County of San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park and Town of Atherton were at the meeting. The Town of Woodside was not present nor were any stake holders. The group was told that the Town of Woodside informed the County that they will not be a part of this MOU. This may certainly impact the Town’s considered participation. Woodside will not be attending any meetings and all phone calls and correspondence to the Town of Woodside related to this MOU should be sent directly to the Town Manager. Given Atherton’s condition that all agencies be at the table in equal measure, staff asked that the Town of Atherton not take on any additional cost and that the County of San Mateo, Redwood City and Menlo Park consider splitting the Town of Woodside’s cost amongst themselves.
- All improvements in and along the Atherton Channel are taken into consideration (Marsh Road, Las Lomitas, etc.) for credit - plus any future improvements that the Town seeks or needs to do to improve the channel are incorporated into the MOU as a cost share amongst the participating agencies;
As noted above all of the members agreed further discussion needs to take place regarding the MOU and Exhibit A to show how future costs from projects will be allocated/credited to each member.
- Given the size of Atherton's potential share, any anticipated payments will need to be done over multiple fiscal years;
The County agreed to this if the payments are part of a separate “loan” agreement between the County and the Town. Staff proposed a 0% loan and all agreed that this will require further discussion.
- Atherton has the opportunity to independently verify the Jurisdictional Flow Contributions in Table 1 - Exhibit A; and 
As noted above the County is concerned in any delay in the execution of the MOU and contract for design services that could potentially put the Collaborative at risk of not being in a position to pursue several grants that could help offset future construction costs. The County asked for a timeline for this independent review. Staff agreed to provide an approximate time line for this review and asked the County to provide information about these grants to help gain perspective on the urgency of executing the MOU.
- Atherton staff time and/or consultant costs associated with the Bayfront Canal Project are considered credit toward our share.
The County is currently absorbing all of their staffing costs and mentioned that this condition would be detrimental to all members of the Collaborative as the County’s staffing costs will be extremely large in proportion to other members. To gain perspective, staff asked the County to share their current staffing costs to date with the members. The County agreed to provide this information for our review and consideration.
The next meeting to discuss the MOU was not scheduled. County staff will be contacting members next week regarding the review of the RFP. Staff is holding the line with respect to this project and has been clear that the Town is not a party to the MOU unless and until the City Council approves the MOU. Staff anticipates returning the MOU to the Council for consideration in September/October. 

11. Menlo Horse Show - August 8-13

As the Council is aware, all Town costs related to the Horse Show are reimbursed via an entrance collection fee. The fee is adjusted each year based on prior year costs. The 2017 Menlo Horse Show operates from August 8 to August 13.  Setup begins on Sunday, August 6 when participants arrive and set up camp on the Circus Club polo field. 
The security detail for the show will be similar to what has occurred in past years. The Circus Club handles security inside the event, with the exception of one plain clothes detail. The Town manages patrol outside of the event. The Town’s role is divided into three areas:  dayshift patrol, nightshift patrol, and a plain clothes assignment. 

Dayshift Patrol- calls for service allowing, units will be visible in the area of the Circus Club. We’ve had good success the past couple years not having any auto burglaries/thefts from vehicles; however, auto thefts/burglaries have occurred in the past. The most vulnerable vehicles will be those parked around the perimeter of the show (Park, Elena, Isabella, and Faxon). 
Nightshift Patrol- calls for service allowing, units will conduct perimeter patrol at night. Officers will also walk in and around the horse stalls.  The northeast corner of the circus club lot, where many of the ranch hands will be staying, has been noisy in the past so periodic stops will be beneficial. 
Plain Clothes Detail - There will be two plain clothes officers inside the event on special assignment from 8 am to 5 pm each day. The responsibility for this detail will be to remain on site, walk around the show, communicate regularly with the inside security/horse show staff and report any suspicious activity.

12. EWG Water Quality Database - Information from Cal Water

I received the below directly from Cal Water.

"You may have seen some reports about the release of a new water quality database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Because there is a significant amount of information included in the database that may be confusing to those outside of the water utility industry, we wanted to take this opportunity to make sure you have accurate information about the safety of the drinking water we at California Water Service (Cal Water) provide to our customers.
Most importantly, the information released by EWG confirms that the treated water we provide to customers is “in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.”  To ensure our customers are aware of the quality of the water we provide to them, we prepare an annual Water Quality Report that explains the steps we take to protect public health and safety.    You can find our annual Water Quality Reports here:

Where our customers may get confused is that the EWG database also includes information about the quality of raw water, or water that has not been treated prior to being supplied to customers.  While knowing what constituents may be present in raw water is important – it is how we know what water treatment systems we need to use – it is not, in and of itself, an indicator of the safety of the water we provide to customers after we rigorously test and treat it for regulated constituents.  The regulatory standards with which we are required to comply are known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCLs, which are set by state and federal public health experts, including California’s State Water Resources Control Board.
Our Customers may also be confused by the fact that the EWG database includes information about public health goals (PHG).  Unlike MCLs, PHGs are not regulatory standards, and are “not a boundary line between a ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ level of a contaminant.”  PHGs are set without any consideration of the cost or availability of detection and treatment technologies.  In some cases, the technology may not even exist to achieve the PHG.  California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the agency responsible for setting PHGs, has explained that as “long as drinking water complies with all MCLs, it is considered safe to drink, even if some contaminants exceed PHG levels.”
Our absolute highest priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers and we go to great lengths to ensure that the water we provide to them meets all state and federal water quality standards.  If you ever have any questions about water quality, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dawn Smithson, Cal Water’s District Manager, by email at dsmithson@calwater.com or me by email at smcgovern@calwater.com.”

13. Recology Franchise Discussions

Staff and the Council Subcommittee met with Recology and the SBWMA to begin initial discussions on the Revised and Restated Model Franchise Agreement. The meeting went well and covered a lot of issues. Next steps from the meeting:

- Recology will make changes to the Franchise Agreement attachments to reflect the Town of Atherton versus language within the Model Franchise and will roll forward any Atherton-specific provisions. Once complete, the revised documents will be sent to the Town for review and edit. 
- Recology will ensure that the Town’s existing $25 base rate is rolled forward.
- Recology will review the agreement for specific provisions that do not apply to the Town - such as multi-family or commercial collections. These will be removed from the base document (reserving the paragraph) and moved to an Appendix section so that they may be incorporated later if/when they ever apply to the Town. In this way, the document will become more readable. 
- Recology will review the Agreement and where it says “SBWMA and Agency” incorporate “Town of Atherton”
- Recology will investigate any provisions that can be “a la carte” and return to the Town with a review/recommendation. 
- Recology will review current operations for commercial recycling (i.e. Circus Club and Schools) and produce data on compliance with diversion identifying what works and what does not. 
- Recology confirmed that the Town’s allocation is 2.5% of the total SBWMA Agreement for compensation under the Franchise. This percentage will not adjust upward based on growth indicators in other communities. 
- Recology will evaluate current operations for areas where a post-7 am collection occurs and where pre-7 am collections occur. Where areas can be efficiently moved to post-7 am, this will be recommended. 
- Recology will investigate ways to improve service delivery in cul-de-sacs. 
- Recology will take more proactive steps to educate the community about overages and bulky-item collections.
- The Town will assist with educating the community about labeling containers with addresses. 
- Recology will clarify in the contract attachments that the Town will have at least 1 collection event per year for compost, e-waste, and shred. Hazmat will be added where possible. 

Special Event Permits - as of July 28, 2017

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 
  • July 28, 2017 - Guidewire Company Picnic - Menlo College - 11 am to 5 pm
  • July 29, 2017 - Guidewire Company Picnic - Menlo College - 8 am to 5 pm
  • August 5, 2017 - Riverbed Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 11 am - 3 pm
  • August 6, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 8-14, 2017 - Horse Show - Circus Club 
  • August 11, 2017 - Menlo Charity Gala - Circus Club - 7 pm - 10:30 pm
  • August 11, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 12, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 12, 2017 - Family Wedding - James Avenue - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • August 19, 2017 - Tour de Menlo - 7:30 am - 9:30 am
  • September 3 & 10, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • September 4, 2017 - Labor Day BBQ - Circus Club - 5 pm - 9 pm
  • October 26, 2017 - Halloween Party - Circus Club - 7 pm - 9 pm
  • October 27, 2017 - Football Under the Lights - Sacred Heart - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • October 2018 - Menlo Circus Club - Palo Alto Elks Concours d'EleganceCar Show

July 21, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Fire Director Email

3. Las Lomitas Water Capture Facility and Bayfront Canal Project

I have been engaged in an email exchange and conversations with a couple members of the Council on these topics since the Council meeting on Wednesday. Linked here are a couple of reference documents: 

Memorandum on the Bayfront Canal Project - provides a summary of the project and flow data along the Atherton Channel.
Atherton Drainage Master Plan - a link to the Town’s Drainage Master Plan (same consultants used on the Bayfront Canal Project). Page 16-17 of the PDF is a map and percentages of the watershed. The Bayfront Canal Project divides the contributions by flow not watershed area as the area for Atherton is quite large. Our Drainage Master Plan shows the watershed areas as Menlo Park at 36%, Woodside at around 13% and Atherton at 51%. More calculations would need to be done to change these calculations to flow versus watershed. 
Bayfront Canal Project - Internal Draft RFP (Not Publicly Released - Working Draft (32MB file))

Before bringing the RFP to the City Council for consideration, staff advised the County group that the following conditions must be met: 

- 1) all other affected agencies are at the table in equal measure (Woodside, Portola Valley, Stanford, Menlo, RWC, County, etc.);  
- 2) All improvements in and along the Atherton Channel are taken into consideration (Marsh Road, Las Lomitas, etc.) for credit - plus any future improvements that the Town seeks or needs to do to improve the channel are incorporated into the MOU as a cost share amongst the participating agencies;  
- 3) Given the size of Atherton's potential share, any anticipated payments will need to be done over multiple fiscal years; 
- 4) Atherton has the opportunity to independently verify the Jurisdictional Flow Contributions in Table 1 - Exhibit A; and 
- 5) Atherton staff time and/or consultant costs associated with the Bayfront Canal Project are considered credit toward our share.

There is a staff-level meeting next week with the group to discuss the above and other suggested changes from other jurisdictions. Added to this staff-level discussion will be the exploration of some recent possibilities that have evolved as I noted above from some one-on-one conversations with the Council. This includes the possibility of pursuing alternative funding and allocation strategies. Discussed was the possibility of pushing the use of developer impact fees from other agencies (County, MP, RWC) to the project as the primary funding source together with any private agency funding (Stanford, Facebook, etc.) before tagging local agencies for their shares based on a formulaic approach. 

As an aside, I noted that the Town may at some point consider whether it is time again to review and possibly expand the Atherton Channel District to incorporate an assessment on the District membership for drainage impacts. Approximately 1/2 of the Town’s residential properties drain to the Channel. If the Channel District incorporated approximately 1,000 properties and the Town assessed those properties for that impact, that would provide a dedicated funding stream for the Town’s share. The Town could issue a Certificate of Participation against the revenue stream. For example, if the Town were to borrow $3,000,000, the debt service on that would be approximately $290,000. Spread over 10 or 15 years and 1,000 properties, that’s a $290 a year assessment (simplified). This is the manner in which cities like Menlo Park and Redwood City, as well as the County, fund these sorts of developments. Drainage and sewer projects are expensive capital outlays. Incidentally, this is also the manner in which we could fund the annual maintenance/operations of the Water Capture Facility. Jurisdictions either save for them or use a funding stream to borrow against. While I may use arguments with adjacent jurisdictions in early negotiation that the cost is too high, or the Town cannot afford it, or it’s half our budget - every City Manager in that room to include me, knows that that is not how it works. Projects are not getting cheaper, jurisdictions collect impact fees and must use them legally where there is a legal nexus, and one jurisdiction cannot legally penalize another for their land use and zoning decisions. The Town’s share of regional mitigation projects will soon become a reality as we are forced to address them by the State - just like other jurisdictions.

On many issues, we can choose to be forward thinking with a strategy and play the long game or draw a red line and fight. While there are certainly issues with development in these communities that surround us, at the end of the day, we do need their cooperation and collaboration. We may get short term benefit from pressing issues such as this or not playing as an equal partner acknowledging our community impact, but we will lose good will at the table and that good will could be more helpful to us in the long term. These communities have the potential to impact us far more detrimentally than we can impact them. We are fiscally handicapped by being primarily residential in nature. That’s a choice this community made. That’s a choice that means that our residents will typically pay more for the same services, programs, and projects that are seemingly less expensive in other communities. 

Earlier this week I also sent an email to the Council discussing the Maintenance, Operations and Capital MOU with Woodside, Menlo Park, and the County for our Water Capture Facility Project. I noted that if the City Council’s of Woodside and Menlo Park and the County elect not sign on to our MOU for this project, they cannot expect us to sign on to the larger regional project (the Bayfront Project). However, the same will be true in the reverse. If the three agencies sign on to our MOU, we will be expected to participate downstream. The flood control benefits of this project will reduce that downstream obligation. Drainage obligations are being recognized at the Regional Water Quality Control Board level and the time will come when agencies must manage their flow and be responsible for impacts downstream. Inherent in that is the reality, that it’s the flip side of the MOU that needs to be considered. IF we engage MP, the County, and Woodside in the MOU I would almost guarantee that they are going to want the same downstream credit that we want for our Water Capture Project in proportion to their flow contribution. We may be in a better position fiscally, depending on the actual maintenance costs, to forgo any MOU in order for the Town to receive full downstream credit. That’s a cost benefit analysis when we get to the 50% design level and have more detail on maintenance cost. That does not mean that we do not participate downstream. 

All that said - at the end of the day, it is each of you as policy makers that set the ultimate strategy, approach and make the ultimate decision on policy issues. The Council is not involved in the details of every project and every issue and is often not aware of the entire chess board. You simply cannot be expected to. It is part of my role to advise you of as many of the issues as I see them and to press the perspective of the entire Council when we move forward. 
With respect to the Water Capture Facility, linked here is a PR Video from TetraTech about the Lakewood Project. While it is a PR video, it does provide some insight into the magnitude and operation of the Southern California project. Ours is nowhere near the size and we would not have any active pump systems; but, it does provide a good overview (brief) of the technology and its application. 

4. 398 Walsh Road - Private Bridge Access

I was contacted by the property owner at 398 Walsh Road regarding the repair of their private bridge access across the Atherton Channel. The property owner was expressing concern that their contractor had approached the Building Department for a permit to make repairs and there were requirements imposed could delay the repair. The bridge was their only access to the property. We connected with the Building Official and arranged an emergency inspection and authorization to conduct emergency repairs with the risk to be borne by the property owner for the ultimate required repairs and corrective measures for the bridge. The property owner agreed. 

Following this authorization, the Building Official, Menlo Fire, and Inspector met the contractor in the field. The repairs needed are far more extensive than simple replacement like-for-like. The Fire District determined that the contractor needs to submit plans to the District in order to meet their requirements. The bridge will have to have a 16’ clear unobstructed width, 14’ unobstructed height and meet their structural load requirements of 45,000 lbs. There are heritage trees present that will prevent the property owner from meeting these requirements. The plans submitted by the property owner show a proposed design load of 24,000 lbs. This will be insufficient and they will have to resubmit structural calculations and drawings to meet the 45,000 lb requirement of the Fire District. No evaluation was done by the structural engineer of the footings and upon field inspection, the existing footings will be inadequate to support the new bridge. Further, since the footings are in the Atherton Channel, before any foundation work may begin it will trigger review by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and an application for a Grading and Drainage Permit. 

The contractor is going to continue building the bridge knowing that any repairs will be temporary to allow the owners to access and exit their property. The contractor and property owner are completely aware that they are proceeding at their own risk and will take full responsibility if the bridge must be retroactively removed/repaired to comply with all requirements and approved plans. 

5. Bicycle Lanes on Middlefield

As the Council is aware, the City Council Liaisons to the Fire District (Council Member Widmer and Vice Mayor Wiest) met with the Fire District Liaisons (Director Chang-Kiraly and Board President Carpenter) and staff on June 5 for the mid-year meeting. An outcome of that meeting was interest in a County project on Middlefield at 5th that involved the narrowing of the roadway, reconfiguration of parking, and the installation of a bicycle lane. Council Member Widmer arranged a follow-up meeting with Supervisor Sloccum and staff (together with the Town and Fire District) to discuss the project and provide feedback to the County. 

This follow-up meeting occurred on July 17 at Fire District Offices. In attendance was staff, the Town’s Council Liaisons (Widmer/Wiest) and representatives from the Fire District (Vice President Silano and President Carpenter). The change in Board Member participants for this topic raised and discussed at the Liaison Meeting was at the discretion of the Fire District.

During the meeting, the County described the project as reducing the lanes of travel on Middlefield to one lane in each direction, with a center turn lane, bicycle lanes on each side and parallel parking on each side. This was described in a Daily Post article linked above. Of the issues raised regarding emergency response concerns, parking, congestion, and safety, the Town also raised an issue related to continuation of the County’s bicycle lane to connect with Atherton’s existing lanes on Middlefield at the Town boundary. During the meeting I sent Jim Porter, County Public Works Director, an email photo of the Town’s bicycle lanes at the border. He followed up with an email advising that he looked at the transition following the meeting. The Town’s boundary is about a 1/4-mile from the project boundary; however, he committed to adding bicycle lanes between the northern Town limit to the limits of their Middlefield Road project once the project is in place. 

6. Fence Replacement - Park

As mentioned prior, staff will be returning to the Council in October to discuss next steps for private gate entries into the Park. Recently, the property owner on Sussex (not the one with the Town’s fence) replaced their private property fence and gate entirely on their own property. The fence did not trigger any requirement for a permit. 
7. Public versus Private Meetings - Jim Lewis & Newspaper Articles

Over the last 7 days I have had several email exchanges with Palo Alto resident Jim Lewis regarding public participation in non-public meetings. Meetings included the Ad Hoc IT Subcommittee Meeting, the School Summit Meeting (staff only), all Town Committee and Commission, Ad Hoc Committees of the Council, and Regional Meetings with partner agencies. I advised Jim that the Brown Act applies to the legislative bodies of local agencies. It defines “legislative body” broadly to include just about every type of decision-making body of a local agency. If a body is subject to the Brown Act it will have a posted agenda and the meetings will be public. Bodies subject to the Brown Act are the governing body (i.e. a quorum of the City Council), appointed bodies (no member of the IT Ad Hoc Subcommittee was appointed by the Council), and Standing Committees (a body that has a continuing subject matter jurisdiction or a meeting schedule fixed by charter, ordinance, resolution or formal action of a legislative body - not so for the IT Ad Hoc Subcommittee). 

What is NOT a legislative body includes a temporary advisory committee composed of less than a quorum of the legislative body that serves a limited or single purpose, that is not perpetual, and will be dissolved once its specific task is complete - not subject to the Brown Act. Examples of such committees include less than a quorum of the Council to interview candidates for a vacant position or to meet with representatives of other entities to exchange information on a matter of concern to the agency, such as traffic congestion. 

A prudent presumption is that an advisory committee or task force is subject to the Brown Act. Even if one clearly is not, it may want to comply with the Brown Act. Public meetings may reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and controversy. 

With respect to the IT Ad Hoc Subcommittee, if there are any future meetings that occur they usually occur on the 3rd Tuesdays at 4 pm. If there are any in the future, I advised that I would tell him and that he could attend. I also advised that it is unlikely that there will be any future meetings. I also advised that as these meetings are not subject to the Brown Act there are no agendas, minutes or public comment periods. The meetings are informal and serve as update meetings from Atherton Fiber/Open Fiber/Paxio on the progress of their project. 

With respect to the regional meeting with Menlo Park and Redwood City. These agencies chose who to send to the meeting - the Town did not. The Town sent myself, Jim McLauglin (resident serving on the Town’s Transportation Committee) and the Mayor (the Vice Mayor attended at the last minute on the Mayor’s behalf since the Mayor was out of Town). Since it involves only one member of the Council and was an ad hoc arrangement it is not a public meeting subject to the Brown Act. However, if there are future meetings that involve a subcommittee of the Council (Mayor/Vice Mayor) and the meetings become regularly scheduled (twice per year) - these will be public meetings with a posted agenda, minutes, and public comment. 

July 14, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Subcommittee Meeting with Redwood City and Menlo Park

The Subcommittee of Vice Mayor Wiest and TC Chair Jim McLaughlin met with representatives from Menlo Park and Redwood City. Attendees from MP and RWC were the Mayor and Vice Mayor, together with the City Managers and Assistant City Managers. 

Vice Mayor Wiest opened the meeting with a discussion of regional projects and how they impact the Town followed by an updated on several Town projects - ECR Complete Streets Project, ECR Drainage Study, Las Lomitas Water Capture Facility, and the Civic Center Project. In addition to these items, the group also discussed the County’s Bayfront Canal Project. Redwood City emphasized the importance of this project as it hopes to remedy significant local flooding of the Atherton Channel into Redwood City properties. Both agencies supported the project and want Atherton to join the MOU to address drainage issues up and down the Atherton Channel from Woodside (at the table) to the Bay. 

In addition to this project, the group discussed Caltrans projects along ECR such as the HAWK Beacon projects and any current or future planning for bicycle and pedestrian improvements along the corridor. Neither agency has any immediate plans for bicycle improvements along the corridor; however, both expressed that ultimately this would be something that would need to be addressed. 

The group had a limited discussion about the possibility of grade separations in Menlo Park.

The group discussed the use of roundabouts on local streets and both indicated that they were studying and implementing roundabouts within their jurisdictions. However, it was made clear that these were more appropriately designed as traffic circles and used with the intent of traffic calming not throughput of traffic. 

Lastly, two outcomes from the meeting were a suggestion from Redwood City that a project matrix be created and maintained amongst the three agencies to share information on current and future project planning. Menlo Park volunteered to take the lead on the preparing the document. Menlo Park suggested that these meetings be held at least twice a year. All agreed that that would be beneficial. 

3. Quad Gates @ Watkins

HSR is still working through some project definition items for the San Francisco to San Jose section. As a result, the preliminary engineering plans have been delayed to allow for resolution of these items. They currently do not have a definitive timeline on a submittal date for engineering plans but it is likely to be several months out. 

We are waiting on the HSR acceptable design specifications for Quad Gates before returning this issue to the Council for next steps. 

4. Atherton Now Funding

Most of the working parties with Atherton Now are out of town. Didi Fisher and Jim Levison have advised that we should use the April 30 2017 Atherton Now Report indicating that there have been no significant changes since that time. 

5. Informal Survey of Park Gates

Staff has completed their informal survey of private gates into the Park. There are a total of 21 private residences that border the Park - 4 houses in Atherton and 17 houses in Menlo Park. There are private gates from 2 Atherton homes and private gates from 15 Menlo Park homes. 

We will be preparing a report with recommendations for Council consideration at a future meeting. 

6. San Carlos Airport - Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Planning Advisory Committee

As the Council may recall, I serve on the San Carlos Airport Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Planning Advisory Committee. They neglected to advise me of the first meeting so I missed it; but the second meeting is set for August 2. 
Since the last meeting on April 20, 2017, much work on the Plan has been accomplished, including an inventory of the Airport’s facilities, area noise and land use regulations, and preparation of current and future noise contours. The material to be discussed at the PAC meeting will be in the form of three draft working papers, as follows:

Chapter One: Inventory
Chapter Two: Aviation Noise
Chapter Three: Noise Impacts
I will receive these documents prior to the meeting for review. A public workshop has also been scheduled for later that evening, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. also at the Hiller Aviation Museum.

7. Las Lomitas Water Capture Project - Tree Removal

Staff is meeting with representatives from the School District regarding tree removal requests along the Camino al Lago parking area next week.There are a couple of heritage sized trees that will be impacted by the project in the Town’s right-of-way. The MOU provides an easement to the School District for the project. Once approved, discretion on removal of the trees as part of a school project (on school property) would be exempt from Town discretion. However, the District wants to discuss the issue with the Town and hopes that a solution can be found. They will be prepared to discuss this issue if raised at Wednesday’s Council Meeting. 

8. Police Chief - City Manager Workshop

The Chief and I will be attending a workshop together at the end of September. 

9. Donor Wall - Inside Administration Lobby

We received a design scope from WRNS to work on a donor wall inside of the new Civic Center. The cost is quite a bit more than anticipated. Staff is reaching out to Atherton Now to discuss the possibility of not doing a donor wall as part of the project but instead, designating the space and doing it post-project. 

10. Annual M-ALL Meeting

Staff is setting the annual M-ALL Meeting (as required by the Agreement) for the end of July. Steve and I will be attending. 

11. Public Records Act Requests - Peter Carpenter

As you know, the Town receives public records act requests for various bits of information. Annually, we receive requests from transparency websites (numerous ones) for salary and benefit information for staff. We also regularly receive public records requests from contractors or others seeking data on bid awards, Town contractors, or others. Then, there are the records requests that related to current or ongoing disagreements or disputes - such as the Fire Services Fiscal Review. 

We are currently responding to several requests for salary and benefit information (that time of year) and to three specific requests from Peter Carpenter. 

The first (applies to the Council): 

1 - Correspondence after Dec 31, 2013 of any Town Council Member, the Town Manager and the Town Counsel regarding 1) the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, 2) the Fire Services Fiscal Review  including but not limited to any communications with Matrix Consulting Group and including but not limited to any communications between George Rodericks and Alex McIntyre regarding either the Fire District, the Fire District’s proposed Impact fees or the Fire Services Fiscal Review."
2 - Including communications on private computers that fall within the limits of this request,

And to specifically exclude:

1 - Client confidential communications from or from you or your fellow lawyers and the Town 
2 - Any documents which have already been publicly posted as part of a Council or Committee agenda
3 - Any communications which were sent to the Fire District and or the Fire Board

The second (responding by staff): 

This is a Public Records request for the dates and agendas for any and all of the joint meetings that the Town Council has had with other governing bodies since Dec 31 2013 including each of the school districts, the Harbor District, the Hospital District, adjacent communities, the Sanitary District, the County Supervisors, your State Senator and State Representative and your Federal Senator and Congresswoman.

The third (responding by staff):

This is a Public Records Request for:

 Please indicate for each of the following entities if the Town has requested from them:

 A - tax revenues that the entity obtained from Atherton residents and if so what is the amount?
 B - the amount of expenditures that the entity spent serving Atherton residents and if so what is the amount?
 C - the date on which the Town has or will commence a Fiscal Review of that entity

Entities to be covered:

 1 - Menlo Park City School District
 2 - Los Lomitas School District,
 3 - Redwood City School District
 4 - Sequoia Union High School District
 5 - Harbor District
 6 - Sequoia Hospital District
 7 - Mosquito and Vector Control District 
  8 - West Bay Sanitary District
 9 -  Santa Clara County
 10 - the State of California
 11 - The Federal government

The Town is governed by law on how to respond to PRAs. Linked here is a pamphlet (76 pages) from the League of California Cities that discusses the California Public Records Act and provides a framework for local agencies. In general, the PRA provides two rights of access - right to inspect and the right to prompt availability of copies of public records. There are numerous exemptions and the City Attorney vets all releases prior to their release. We can establish “reasonable” policies for the inspection and copying of public records such that they are generally open to inspection during office hours. Further, in lieu of providing inspection access, we can post the requested public record on the website and direct a member of the public to the website - unless that member is unable to access the record - in that case, we must provide a copy. 

If there are no responsive records (which is the case with some of Peter’s recent request), we must inform him that no records exist to satisfy his request. If we have responsive records, we must either disclose them or withhold/disclose in redacted form (as allowed by law). 

Peter’s initial request was not a public records act request. Therefore, I provided him with specific links to where he could get the information he sought. That was certainly not “unresponsive” to his request. His initial request was for “a list of joint meetings” of the Town Council. The Town does not have a list other than the one on our website. I provided Peter with a link to that list where every “joint meeting” is labeled as such with the respective agency or entity. You can scroll down the page and count that there were 9 Joint Meetings during the time frame. Each is labeled. To my knowledge, there were no other “joint meetings” of the City Council. Not sure what more he wants. 

Peter also asked about tax information that the Town has gathered from other agencies. I pointed him directly to the Local Municipal Services webpage where there is a list of all of the agencies for which the Town has requested tax information and a spreadsheet that lists the taxes from each (http://www.ci.atherton.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=374). Here’s a direct link to that spreadsheet - http://www.ci.atherton.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/3626

He asked about any fiscal reviews and I pointed him to the Fire Services Fiscal Review webpage (http://www.ci.atherton.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=460) and told him that that any fiscal review that the Town undertook would be located there. There is only the Fire Services Fiscal Review. 

Not sure what else to provide but I just wanted you to know that I was not “unresponsive” to Peter’s request nor did we “force him” to recategorize his request as a public records act request. He is also seeking to have the Fire Chief provide the Board with a total cost impact for their response to the Fire Services Fiscal Review.

I think it should be clear that the information that the Town is seeking is not a fiscal review of the Fire District or a critique of the quality of services provided. It is a fiscal review of fire services specifically to Atherton in an effort to compare what Atherton residents pay for fire services versus what the cost of those services are and for comparison, what the cost would be if the Town were to have to provide fire services independent of the Fire District. 

12. Caltrain Tree Mitigation - Electrification Project

Mike Kashiwagi spoke with Stacey Cocke at Caltrain. She will be checking in with her technical team to determine the issues regarding center pole alignment along Holbrook Palmer Park. We hope to have further details prior to the Council meeting. Stacey understands the benefits of avoiding any tree removals on Town of Atherton property.  

Mike advises that the Town ultimately has some options if Caltrain needs to access City property to remove trees. The Town could grant Caltrain a Permission to Enter to perform tree removal activities and the Town could accept tree mitigation per the Final EIR.  Or, the Town could require a Temporary Construction Easement.  This option will require an appraisal and would require condemnation if there is a dispute in value between Caltrain and the Town. Determining value for this type of acquisition is very difficult since “value” in this case will primarily be the value of the trees which must be removed.   

July 7, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Civic Center RFQ Responses

We received 8 responses to the contractor RFQ for the Civic Center Project. The respondent proposals can be found online here via this link. These are big files and will take a bit to download. Responses from BHM, Midstate, and Amoroso will likely be deemed non-responsive. The remaining 5 are being reviewed by the PMC and staff this afternoon. 

3. Caltrain Tree Mitigation - Electrification

As mentioned last week, staff met with Caltrain to ascertain the tree removals to take place along the fence line in the Park. In total, Caltrain intends to remove 9 park trees and 3 trees along their ROW corridor between the Watkins Avenue crossing and the Felton Gables Gate. Even though 3 of the trees are on Caltrain ROW, all 12 trees provide a buffer to the Park along the rail line. The 3 trees Caltrain wants to remove on their ROW have their trunk in the ROW but the tree itself has grown into the Park. Part of that meeting also discussed the centerline pole alignment issue and why the pole alignment was side track instead of centerline along the Park. Caltrain will be addressing the tree issue and the centerline issue at the Council meeting on July 19. Staff hopes to have an answer to the pole alignment prior to the meeting. 

4. Park Fence - Felton Gables

Staff is completing an informal survey of private gates into the Park. A recent walk of the Park revealed about 15 entrances from private property (to include the Felton Gables Gate). The majority of the gates appear to be east of Knox Preschool. It may be advantageous for the Town to consider conducting a formal lot line survey of the Park ($$) to determine what fences/walls are on Town property and which are on private property. The survey will also assist in clarifying trees/lot lines along the Caltrain ROW. 

5. Meeting with Recology - Negotiations

Staff is working to setup a meeting during the last week of July with Recology to begin Franchise Negotiations around the Draft Amended and Restated Model Franchise Agreement. Recology is culling together all of the Atherton-specific provisions that currently exist prior to the meeting. 

6. EPC Meeting - July 20

The EPC Meeting for July 20 has been cancelled. Th next meeting is scheduled for September 21 at 1:30 pm. 

7. Park Events and Revenue Log

Linked here is the FY 2016/2017 Park Revenue Log and the June Park Events Log

8. Atherton Annual Report - June 2017

This is a new Annual Report prepared in collaboration with all departments and put together by Interwest. A printed version of this report will be put out on glossy paper and bound - provided to all members of the Council and Committees. An electronic version will be released on the Town’s website. 

9. M-ALL Tournament

We followed up with M-ALL regarding the tournament. Mostly, all went well during the tournament. The field and follow-up (trash cans, etc.) were all in excellent condition throughout the tournament. However, there were issues during the final game related to parking and use of the loud speaker. These will be addressed with M-ALL in a wrap up meeting. Next year - if permitted again - use of the loud speaker for announcements of players at the end of each inning will need to be expressly permitted. Parking next year will be an issue since the Civic Center will be under construction. Shuttle from an offsite location will need to be addressed if approved. 

The outfield fence will be taken down and stored next week. 

10.Street Saver Report

At some point in the future, staff will provide the Council with an in-depth review of the Town’s Streets Program and the Street Saver Report. Linked here is a Dashboard from MTC Street Saver Program  In general, the Town has 53.8 centerline miles of streets. This equates to approximately 105.8 lane miles. Our current Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is 78. For a peer agency comparative, the PCI for similar sized agencies is 74. 

Jul 20

That's A Wrap! - July 19, 2017

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 8:24 AM by George Rodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: July 19, 2017
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. (video malfunctioned just prior to the last item on the Agenda)

The City Council met for the July Study Session and Regular Council meeting on Wednesday, July 19, beginning at approximately 6:15 pm. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Council moved to Presentations where recognition was given to Commander Joe Wade and Sergeant Sherman Hall for their above and beyond work while the Town recruited for its new Police Chief. The Council also recognized John Mattes upon his retirement for his years of service to the Town. Lastly, the Town recognized Officer Dan Larsen for his service as the Town's School Resource Officer and hosted his promotion to Sergeant. Following presentations, the Council heard an annual report on the Mosquito and Vector Control District from the appointed representative.   

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. 

After the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 8 through 16. 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 minutes, bills, authorization for the purchase/surplus of police vehicles, appointment of voting delegates to the League of California Cities Conference, certification of the June 6 Election, adoption of Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 506th of the 101st Airborne, acceptance of work and notice of completion for the 2017 Cape Seal and Overlay Projects, and Rejection of Claim of Cyrus S. Safai. Item No. 16, Rejection of Claim, was pulled form consent and upon hearing from the claimant, the Council continued the item to their next regular meeting in September 2017.  Following discussion, the Council approved the balance of the Consent Agenda.

Next up was Public Hearings. The first item was Item No. 17, a Public Hearing amending fees and charges related to activity at Holbrook Palmer Park and Authorization for Waiver of Permit Fees for Dead Trees. The Council heard the staff report and discussed issues related to the cost of dead tree inspections, the public purpose associated with encouraging residents to take action regarding dead trees, and the subsidy required by the Town if the fees were waived. Following public comment and discussion, the Council adopted the Resolution increasing the fee for specific events at the Carriage House, enacting a Drone Fee of $150 per day in the Park, and authorizing the City Manager to waive fees associated with the inspection and permitting of removal of dead trees. 

Item No. 18, a Public Hearing to adopt an Ordinance to expedite processing for electric vehicle charging stations was up next. The Council heard the staff report. Following public comment and brief discussion, the Council introduced the ordinance for first reading and scheduled the 2nd reading for September 2017. 

Item No. 19 was a Public Hearing to adopt a Tentative Parcel Map to create two lots at 336 Walsh Road. The Council heard the staff report and discussed issues related to site development, channel improvements, and the protection of heritage trees. Following public comment and discussion, the Council approved the Tentative Parcel Map authorizing the subdivision. 

Next up was Item No. 20, an ordinance to call the special election for the Special Parcel Tax for November 7, 2017. The Council heard the staff report and discussed issues related to the length of the parcel tax measure and annual review of revenues and expenditures related thereto. Following public comment and discussion, the Council adopted the ordinance calling the election making modifications to the measure to correct a typographical error and setting the term to 3 years instead of 4, all other components of the tax to remain the same. 

Next up was the Regular Agenda. The first item on the Regular Agenda was Item No. 21. Here, the Council heard the companion item to Item No. 20. This item set the priorities for written arguments, rebuttal arguments, crafting of the arguments, authorized signatories, and the appropriations limit. The Council heard the staff report and discussed issues related to the establishment of a Council subcommittee to craft the primary argument, expressed support for all members of the Council signing the argument and selected a date for a possible Special Meeting to approve the Argument as July 28 at 8 am. Following public comment and discussion, the Council adopted the Resolution, the Mayor selected Council Member Lewis to serve as a member of a Subcommittee with himself to craft the primary argument, and authorized rebuttal arguments to be filed for the Measure. 

Item No. 22, Civic Center Report was up next on the Agenda. Staff provided a brief staff report outlining scopes of work for the project architect related to deductive alternates for the project, temporary staging for the Library, approval of a Letter of Intent with the SFPUC, and approval of the Statements of Qualifications for 5 General Contractors that will be authorized to bid on the project. The Council discussed issues related to the general contractors and expressed support to limit the list to the 5 selected, discussed whether to include or exclude the potential deferral of the historic council chambers remodel, and discussed the deal points related to the SFPUC. Following discussion, the Council approved staff recommendations. 

Item No. 23 was a review of the Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project Tree Avoidance Minimization and Replacement Plan. Here, representatives from Caltrain made a presentation noting most significantly that they had found a way to use centerline pole alignment for the majority of the route through Atherton. By doing so, Caltrain significantly reduced the tree removal impact to the Town resulting in 0 trees being set for removal on private property and 2 trees on public property (Holbrook Palmer Park). Caltrain discussed their tree replacement and pruning plan. It is anticipated that work in Atherton will not begin until Fall 2017. A copy of the Caltrain Presentation can be found here. The information in the Presentation provides more current impact information than is presented in the Staff Report since Caltrain was able to confirm centerline pole alignment just prior to the meeting.  

Item No. 24, Authorization for the City Manager to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with Las Lomitas School District for a proposed Water Capture Facility was up next. Staff provided a staff report and the Council discussed issues related to Town benefits of the project for flood control, regional benefits related to water quality, regional opportunities for project credit (financial and flow-related) up and down stream, regional projects that the Town could be participating in at some future date and how this project interplays, how the collaborative $13.6 million Caltrans funding operates, public outreach related to the proposed traffic signal past and future, traffic control and parking plans for the school project, ingress and egress on the site after development, safe routes to school and the need and benefits of the proposed traffic signal, benefits to the school district for the project, necessary tree removal, long term maintenance obligations and the potential for cost share partners, and ultimately the District financial ask to the Town of $750,000. Following public comment and discussion, the Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding returning it back to the School District with a counter-offer reducing the Town's proposed financial contribution to $500,000 over 5 years, reinforcing the need for extended public outreach related to the proposed traffic signal, and reinforcing the desire for more specific information related to future maintenance costs and a commitment from other agencies for participation.

The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 25, authorization for the City manager to negotiate a lease agreement and easement with Atherton Fiber for a hub location and easements at the Civic Center. Staff provided a brief staff report. Following public comment and discussion, the Council expressed support for the project and authorized staff to negotiate the lease and easement agreements.
Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 11:16 pm, that, as they say - was a wrap!

The Council will hold its next Study Session meeting on September 6 at 4 pm. A tentative Special Meeting for the Parcel Tax Primary Argument has tentatively been scheduled for July 28. The Mayor will set the Agenda and call the Special Meeting prior to that date. The Council is DARK for the month of August. 

George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton


Jul 17

June 2017 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 11:51 AM by George Rodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - June 2017

Monthly-report.pngThe 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. 

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 directly via email or phone.

My weekly email to the City Council typically goes out every Friday.

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George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

June 30, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Civic Center RFQ Responses

We received 8 responses to the contractor RFQ for the Civic Center Project. The respondent proposals can be found online here via this link. These are big files and will take a bit to download. The Project Management Subcommittee (Rose Hau, Clive Merredew, and Steve Dostart) together with staff will be reviewing the proposals and rating each for recommendation to the City Council. Respondents were:

* BHM Construction, Inc.
* Hensel Phelps
* Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc.
* Midstate Construction Corporation
* Overaa Construction
* S.J. Amoroso Construction Co., Inc.
* Swinerton Builders
* XL Construction

3. Planning Commission Actions - June 28, 2017 Meeting

At the June 28 Meeting, the Commission took the following action: 

- Accepted the report on the 2017 Annual Master Plan Update and TDM Monitoring Plan at 150 Valparaiso - Sacred Heart Schools
- Approved the Special Structures Permit at 94 Cebalo Lane to allow a 1st floor addition to the main residence with a legal non-conforming sideboard setback. 
- Approved the Special Structures Permit at 168 Elena Avenue to allow a garage basement under an accessory building.
- Approved the Special Structures Permit at 88 Reservoir Road to allow portions of the vertical sidewalls of the main residence to exceed 22 feet. 
- Recommended the City Council approve the Tentative Parcel Map at 336 Walsh Road to subdivide the parcel into 2 lots (Public Hearing Scheduled for City Council - July 19).

Next meeting of the Commission is July 26, 2017. 

4. Bayfront Canal MOU

Staff responded to recent County inquiries regarding the Town’s participation in the MOU. Staff response was as follows - in order for the Town to consider signing on to the MOU: 

  • all other affected agencies are at the table in equal measure (Woodside, Portola Valley, Stanford, Menlo, RWC, County, etc.);  - All improvements in and along the Atherton Channel are taken into consideration (Marsh Road, Las Lomitas, etc.) for credit - plus any future improvements that the Town seeks or needs to do to improve the channel are incorporated into the MOU as a cost share amongst the participating agencies;  
  • Given the size of Atherton's potential share, any anticipated payments will need to be done over multiple fiscal years; 
  • Atherton has the opportunity to independently verify the Jurisdictional Flow Contributions in Table 1 - Exhibit A; and 
  • Atherton staff time and/or consultant costs associated with the Bayfront Canal Project are considered credit toward our share.
These are starting points for continued conversation around the project. 

5. Before/After Hours Work Exemptions

Staff created a permit exemption site on the Town’s website that will be updated whenever an exemption permit is issued. With the website now active, the Commander distributed the following to staff as an update to the existing process:

What is an Exemption Permit?
An Exemption Permit, also referred to as an “after hours construction permit,” allows certain types of work to be done outside the normal M-F, 8am-5pm time frame.  The intent is to allow for emergency work to be done (tree fallen through a house and needs to be removed) or for continuous work such as a large concrete pour (this is the one we get 90% of the time).
What an exemption permit is not…
A permit to do construction work after hours or on weekends because the “project needs to be finished.” A permit to do construction work after hours or on weekends because of scheduling issues, “that’s the only time my contractor can finish the work.”  While these examples are definitely inconveniences for the homeowner, they do not meet the criteria for an exemption permit, and therefore you should not issue a permit for these reasons.
How do I issue an exemption permit?
First, ask the requestor what the permit is for, because often times the type of work to be done does not qualify for an Exemption Permit.  Once you determine that the work does qualify for an Exemption Permit, then do the following:
  • Gather all the information needed on the Construction Exemption Application and Permit form and make sure the applicant understands that there is a 72 hour requirement to notice surrounding residents before performing the exempted work (when it’s applicable…emergency situations that require immediate work don’t have to notice the neighbors).
  • Send the applicant to the Town side (Post Office) and tell them to pay the required fee of $62 per day for the Exemption Permit.
  • Instruct the applicant to bring their receipt of payment back to the Police Department.
  • After both you and the applicant have signed the permit, make a copy of the permit (to be posted in dispatch) and then scan a copy of the permit and send it to your email.  
  • Issue the original signed permit to the applicant and give the copy to the dispatcher.
  • Send a scanned copy of the Exemption Permit via email to Police Management, Dispatchers, Monica Diaz, Mike Greenlee, and George Rodericks.

Dispatchers- There is now a section on the Town website that will allow viewers to see who has a valid exemption permit.  When the applicant pays the $62 Exemption Permit fee, someone from the Town side (Judi or Helen) will post that information on the website.  When the work has been completed, please notify the Town side and let them know the work has been done so that they can remove the permit info from the website.

6. Local Building Comment

Staff received the following unsolicited comment from a local builder that does work in Menlo Park, Woodside, Hillsborough, etc.:

“...Atherton is the only jurisdiction that works with the contractor to move things forward, and that he prefers to work in Atherton because our staff is clear, professional, efficient, and collaborative.”

7. Leash Law in the Park

We received a comment from a resident regarding the recent placement of the speed sign in the Park. As the Council is aware, this sign is often placed a street locations where speeding occurs, cyclist stops, vehicle stops, and in the Park. When in the Park, the sign rotates from speed awareness to the leash law. Verbiage alternates for current topics of concern. Off-leash complaints is the highest park complaint received. Speeding in the Park is a close second. 

The Police do conduct proactive patrols in the park for enforcement to gain compliance (warnings then tickets). We did recently receive a concern from a parent of an autistic child. The child is very afraid of being approached by off leash dogs at the Park. That is what prompted the recent reader board deployment. 

In the last 12 months, the PD has responded to 30 off leash complaints in the Park. One involved a dog bite to a person. There may be a need for more highly visible signage in the Park. Staff is working toward identifying good locations for such signage. 

8. Police Chief Meeting with Police Activities League/Neighborhood Watch

The Chief recently met (as a group) with representatives from the Police Activities League and Neighborhood Watch. He provided the following to them as follow-up from their conversations and topics covered:

"I enjoyed meeting all of you this morning and I am really looking forward to working on important issues with you in the future to keep Atherton a great place to live and raise a family.  I have attached links for the dog walker community security program and the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) programs that I spoke about this morning for increased community engagement opportunities.  My hope is to get these established and moving forward this early Fall.  I have also included the Atherton crime rate information and Atherton false alarm response information I spoke about this morning.
Atherton Crime Rates

Our officers and professional staff are always vigilant and work extremely hard to keep our residents and our town safe and secure.  According to the annual crime data collected by the FBI, the crime rate in Atherton is 59% lower than the average of the whole of the State of California, and 57% lower than the national average.  When looking at violent crimes, Atherton has a 90% lower violent crime rate than the California average, and 89% lower than the national average.  The outstanding low crime rate in Atherton is the direct result of the proactive community engagement and the effective partnership between our police department team and our residents.  Our “No Call Too Small” policing philosophy drives every aspect of our internal and external law enforcement and community oriented policing operations. 
The link below for Area Vibes gives Atherton an A for quality of life related to low rates of crime.
Atherton PD False Alarm Responses

In 2016 officers respond to 600 false alarms.  False alarm responses require at least 2 officers to respond with a minimum of 30 min patrol time for each officer or 1 hour of patrol time for each alarm response.  One a very low end time estimate, the 600 false alarm responses equal 600 patrol hours.  This is almost 4 months of one full time FTE doing nothing but responding to false alarms at an approximate cost of over $35,000.  In the last 16 years, our officers responded to 22 alarms which were true alarms resulting in a burglary investigation.  The last real alarm we responded to was in July 2015.  I have attached a link to an article form the National Center for Community Problem Oriented Policing on the issue of false alarms.  We will be working on developing a community education and outreach program to start the false alarm response mitigation and reduction plan.
I have provided the link below to the Federal study on the real problem and costs to law enforcement operations related to false alarm responses.
9. BPAC Statistics

On Tuesday, June 27, the Chief attended the Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Committee meeting. To get a sense of the car/bicycle and car/pedestrian collision picture and history in Town, he conducted a detailed review of these collisions from January 2012 to December 2016.  This 5 year review revealed the following statistics:
Car/Bicycle Collisions
- A total of 30 collisions in the last 5 years for an average of 6 collision per year.
- Of the 30, 12 were caused by the bicycle rider.
- Of the 30, 3 were non injury, 25 were minor injury, 2 were serious injury, 0 were fatal.
- The majority of the collisions occurred on El Camino Real and Middlefield Road.
Car/Pedestrian Collisions
- A total of 13 collisions in the last 5 years for an average of 2.6 collisions per year.
- Of the 13, 2 were caused by the pedestrian.
- Of the 13, 1 was non injury, 7 were minor injury, 4 were serious injury (1 caused by the pedestrian), 1 was a fatality (caused by the pedestrian).
- The majority of the collisions occurred on El Camino Real and Middlefield Road.
Analysis/Formulated Response

In my opinion and past experience, with the high level of car/bicycle/pedestrian traffic in the identified areas and throughout town, the number of car/bicycle and car/pedestrian collisions is very low.

However, I would continue to like to drive this number down with the goal being 0 collisions of this type per year.
Commander Wade will be working with the Patrol Sergeants to develop strategic enforcement emphasis and targeted patrols in identified areas/times/days of the week.  An important part of this plan will also include community outreach and education efforts.

10. Caltrain Tree Mitigation - Electrification

Staff met with Caltrain this week to ascertain the tree removals to take place along the fence line in the Park. In total, Caltrain intends to remove 9 park trees and 3 trees along their ROW corridor between the Watkins Avenue crossing and the Felton Gables Gate. Even though 3 of the trees are on Caltrain ROW, all 12 trees provide a buffer to the Park along the rail line. The 3 trees Caltrain wants to remove on their ROW have their trunk in the ROW but the tree itself has grown into the Park. 

There are three types of work proposed to the trees in the area - light pruning (<25%), heavy pruning (>25%) and removals. To assist with visualizing, the trees are marked with different colored ribbon to illustrate the plan. 

Yellow Ribbon - Tree to remain after a <25% pruning. No mitigation required.
Orange Ribbon - Tree to remain after a >25% pruning. Mitigation is 1 new tree planted for each tree pruned.
Pink Ribbon - Tree suggested for removal. Mitigation is 3 new trees for each tree removed. 

11. Park Fence - Felton Gables

Staff met with the neighbors regarding fence replacement. The City Attorney is working on the Encroachment Agreement for the concrete fence. At this time, the property owner bordering the Park with the concrete fence has not made a decision with respect to next steps. The Town is conducting an inspection of the fence condition and will make a recommendation on next steps to the City Council at a future meeting. Mitigation/repair may mean replacement of the entire fence line. The Town is also conducting an initial visual inspection of the entire Park boundary for the existence of gates. These will be located and an  informal assessment made of whether they are on Town property or private property. A full report will be presented to the Council for next steps - which will include a recommendation of whether we should conduct a formal survey of the Park. 

The property owner with the wood fence is moving forward with replacement of the wood fence entirely on their private property without encroachment on the Town’s property. They have been advised that if they require an encroachment permit or if the fence is located on Town property (or a joint property line) - no gates will be permitted. Staff will be reaching out to Menlo Park to advise that we do not permit private gates opening onto the public park. If Menlo Park choose to enforce our requirement, no gate will be allowed. If not, the Town would have to take action from its side to either blockade or adopt an ordinance making it unlawful to cross into the park from a private gate. 

Special Event Permits - as of June 30, 2017

This is a list of upcoming Special Event Permits approved or under review. 
  • July 2, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • July 4, 2017 - 4th of July BBQ - Circus Club - 4 pm - 9 pm
  • July 8, 2017 - Private Wedding Reception - Lloyden Drive - 2 pm - 8 pm
  • July 9, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • July 16, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • July 21, 2017 - Market Inc. Family Picnic - Menlo College - 8 am to 7 pm
  • July 22, 2017 - Wedding Reception - 148 Greenoaks Drive - 4:30 pm to 11 pm
  • July 22, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • July 28, 2017 - Guidewire Company Picnic - Menlo College - 11 am to 5 pm
  • July 29, 2017 - Guidewire Company Picnic - Menlo College - 8 am to 5 pm
  • August 6, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 8-14, 2017 - Horse Show - Circus Club 
  • August 11, 2017 - Menlo Charity Gala - Circus Club - 7 pm - 10:30 pm
  • August 11, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 12, 2017 - Company Picnic - Menlo College Quad - 9 am - 4 pm
  • August 12, 2017 - Family Wedding - James Avenue - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • September 3 & 10, 2017 - Polo Matches - Circus Club - 10 am - 7 pm
  • September 4, 2017 - Labor Day BBQ - Circus Club - 5 pm - 9 pm
  • October 26, 2017 - Halloween Party - Circus Club - 7 pm - 9 pm
  • October 27, 2017 - Football Under the Lights - Sacred Heart - 4 pm - 10:30 pm
  • October 2018 - Menlo Circus Club - Palo Alto Elks Concours d'EleganceCar Show

June 23, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. SVWMA Board of Directors Meeting

I attended the Board of Directors Meeting for the SBWMA on Thursday. Council Member Widmer was present as a member of the Board. Here is a link to the Board Packet for the meeting. The Board discussed the Amended and Restated Draft Model Franchise Agreement. No changes were made to the Agreement. The Board discussed various issues related to the Agreement to include compensation. The Board approved the Agreement with Council Member Widmer voting no (agreeing to the Agreement but disagreeing with respect to vendor compensation - contract cost). The process for continued negotiation at the local agency level was clarified as well as a few of the items that the agencies can negotiate specifically. I will be connecting with Recology to setup an initial meeting and get a “roll up” of all existing programs and services. 

3. ABAG PLAN Meeting

Today I am attending the ABAG PLAN Meeting. I serve on the Board. The Town is a member of ABAG PLAN for General Liability. One of the primary issues of discussion by the Board is what to do with respect to the ABAG/MTC Merger and its impact, if any, on ABAG PLAN. The Board is seeking to ensure that PLAN maintains a stable and cost efficient risk sharing organizational operation that continues in the best interest of all member agencies. ABAG PLAN will maintain an integral part of the ABAG organization. However, PLAN is compelled to evaluate alternatives to the administration of the program given the circumstances (merger) and other uncertainties associated with consolidation into the MTC. The Board will be reviewing responses to the issued RFP at today’s meeting. 

4. Las Lomitas Water Capture Facility Maintenance MOU

Staff is working with all parties on this issue. All have now responded in one fashion or another (Woodside and Menlo Park). 

5. Trees adjacent to Historic Town Hall

The property owner adjacent to Town Hall is desirous of trimming or removing the trees along the Town’s property bordering their own (debris, safety, etc.). Staff is looking into the details of the Civic Center Landscape Plan to determine what trees are staying or being removed and will work with the property owner to trim and/or advance removal where identified. 

6. Special Olympics Torch Run

On Friday, June 16, members of the Police Department participated in the torch run to support the Northern California Chapter of Special Olympics. Our portion of the run was the 2-mile stretch of El Camino Real from Encinal Avenue to 5th Avenue. The final destination of the torch was San Francisco. Since 1981, as part of an initiative of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, law enforcement agencies have been very engaged supporters of Special Olympian athletes and events. 

7. WAZE - “No Through Traffic

There was a recent Daily Post article regarding the Town of Los Altos Hills’ success with WAZE by using “No Through Traffic” signs to lessen the impact of through traffic - limiting WAZE’s algorithm. While staff used this method heavily during the Marsh Road Project it required constant communication with WAZE to reapply the algorithm every few days. Los Altos Hills’ appears to have managed a root change in the algorithm (at Waze’s discretion). We will be in contact with WAZE to see how this could be applied locally to streets like Polhemus, Camino al Lago, and others. It would help new users, but for those that have already learned a short cut or know the area - not so much. 

8. Jim Lewis - Volunteer Work

Jim Lewis will be doing some volunteer work on Saturday at the corner of Marsh and Middlefield from about 8 am to 12 pm. He will be repainting the yellow bollards on the corner and possibly the fire hydrant as well. He has executed a volunteer waiver form, attended a tailgate safety meeting regarding job site hazards, been issued safety vest and eyeglasses to be worn at all times on the site, been issued some traffic cones and “work ahead” signage and been issued some of our standard colored paint for the project. 

PD has been notified. All materials and PPE (personal protective equipment) will be returned to the Town on Monday. 

9. Rail Committee - Recognition of Rosemary Maulbetsch

The Rail Committee will be making a recommendation to the City Council to recognize Rosemary in some manner within the Civic Center Project at or near the rail station with some sort of plaque. Once they make the recommendation, it will move to the Council for ratification/authorization. Staff would then incorporate something within the project.

10. Workplace Civility

During the Chief’s initial meetings with members of the PD, many expressed dissatisfaction and concern at the level of workplace gossip and negative work attitudes that impacted morale and caused other workplace issues. The Chief followed up with discussion around a “Workplace Civility” policy similar to what he had implemented in other agencies. He also advised that he has zero tolerance for destructive workplace gossip and counterproductive negative attitudes. He developed and circulated an internal Lexipol Policy on workplace civility amongst the department that was well received.  

11. Menlo College/Menlo School - Bus Parking/Parking Lot

The College and School will be making improvements (maintenance and rehabilitation) to Cartan Field. Part of those improvements will be a safety fence/net between the ball field and the tennis courts. The improvements have been reviewed by Planning and comply with local requirements as well as applicable Conditional Use Permits. However, because there remained one issue of non-compliance at the College with respect to another Conditional Use Permit related to the driveway/parking lot at the rear of the Cafeteria and issues related to bus parking on Alejandra, staff required that a solution for this issue be found before we would allow the other to move forward. 

The College stepped up and with the School worked out a bus parking and turn-around solution as well as parking improvements in an attempt to solve the issues. Permits for both have been pulled. Staff will require that the bus parking/turn around and parking lot be finaled by the Building Department before final permit sign-off for the Cartan Field improvements. 

12. Council Letter to County Board of Supervisors

Judi is working on finalizing the letter to the County Board of Supervisors from the Council. Please stop into City Hall today to sign the letter. Wally Sleeth has also drafted a letter (his signature) which will be attached to the Town’s letter. Letters will be emailed and mailed today. I will be hand-delivering a copy of the letter to the Board of Supervisors on Monday. 

13. Mason Brustchy - Mosquito Abatement District Report

Mason apologized for missing Wednesday’s meeting and plans to attend the July Meeting to provide a brief report. 

14. Park Fence - Felton Gables

Steve Tyler is reaching out to the neighbors in Felton Gables regarding the fence replacement and the agreement being drafted by the City Attorney for encroachment and liability. The property owner is a bit overheated on the response by the Town and regrets raising the issue. Steve will be meeting with the property owner on Tuesday to attempt to navigate a solution. Steve will also be assessing the integrity of the existing fence and will be conducting a visual survey to document all fences along the Park (public/private) and the location/existence of private gates. 

I did not receive specific direction to craft an urgency ordinance related to fences but when we return to the Council with findings of existing fences and gates the Council can discuss that possibility further. Steve did relay that at one time (years ago) there was a chain link fence along the entire border of the Park negating any private entry points. The Council debated the issue and directed that the fencing be removed in favor of being good neighbors to the private property owners adjacent to the Park. The Town could reinstall chain link blockades to these private property gates on Town property. 

There are a couple of options related to the existing fence. If Steve’s assessment reveals it is in safe condition, the issue will rest with the property owner for moving forward. This is unlikely - there are numerous areas of the fence where the posts are deteriorating and that could lead to failure at some point in the future - when is anyone’s guess. The Town could move forward with replacing the concrete slats with wood slats. These are less heavy and could be installed in a manner to lessen the load on the posts and their deterioration - the posts may also be reinforced. The Town could remove and replace the entire fence at our cost. The property owner could move forward with replacement as discussed by Council - property owner cost. Given the discussion at the Council meeting - I do not believe we have the option of doing nothing. 

June 16, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. SVWMA Board of Directors Meeting

This is a link to the June 22, 2017 SBWMA Board of Directors Meeting. Item 9A is a discussion of the Recology Amended and Restated Model Franchise Agreement. 

3. Regional Agency Meeting - July 12

The meeting has been set for July 12 at 5:30 pm. Attendees from Atherton are Mayor Lempres, Chair McLaughlin, and myself. From Redwood City are Mayor John Seybert, Vice Mayor Ian Bain, City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz, and Assistant City Manager Aaron Aknin. From Menlo Park, Mayor Kirsten Keith, Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki, City Manager Alex McIntyre, and Assistant City Manager Chip Taylor. 

4. All Schools Summit Meeting

The Police Chief is setting up an “all school admin staff” summit meeting. This is planned for October and will be continued annual. This will be part of the pre-planning for the active shooter exercise in the Spring. 

5. PG&E Pole Replacement Program

Last year, PG&E completed a Pole Test and Treat Program wherein every 10 years, PG&E inspects more than 67,000 wood utility poles in cities and unincorporated areas in San Mateo County. Based on the inspection, a number of poles are scheduled to be replaced in Atherton. Over the next 6 months, PG&E will be replacing 13 poles in Atherton. They will be obtaining a singular encroachment permit for the replacements. They will typically place a temporary pole and then follow with the permanent pole closely behind. Resident notification will be done by PG&E’s Outreach Team. 

As the activity draws closer, the Town will assist with public notifications. 

6. Encinal Elementary School Picnic

The Encinal Graduation Event at the Park was on Thursday. They employed a loudspeaker at the event. Shortly after it started up, I received a couple of complaints. We notified Catering by Dana and Park staff. The event organizers were immediately contacted and ceased its use. I suspect that the system could have been used at a lower decibel level and/or with less repetitive voice - the complaints were that the speaker was loud and repetitive. 

7. Almanac Release of Building Permits

The Almanac has been providing a summary of building permits issued in Menlo Park by address with a brief description of the permit and its valuation. They will be gathering publicly available information from Atherton and expect to do the same in the coming months. 

8. Animal Care Shelter Update

As you may be aware, the County is in the midst of their “design-build” project for the Animal Care Shelter. Linked here is an update from the County on the project. The project is approximately 32,890 square feet plus outdoor space for play and kennels. Design costs for the project were $1.2 million and construction is estimated at $19 million for a total cost of $20,200,000. This is approximately $614/SF. 

The current estimate for the new City Hall is $613.24/SF. 

9. Special Parcel Tax Webpage

I created a Special Parcel Tax webpage on the Town’s website. It is currently live, but not linked off the main page. Once complete, it will be linked off the main page and promoted. I am still gathering some historical information about the Parcel Tax. The website provides information on the Tax, what it funds, who pays it, how much do they pay, how it’s collected, and how the revenue compares to the Town’s basic property tax and overall budget. 

June 9, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Building Fee/Capital Facilities Reserve Fund - CORRECTION

At the Council Meeting on Wednesday (June 7) I was asked if the $505,000 Facilities Reserve (from old building fees) was included in the $2.9m Construction Facilities Fund. I think my answer was NO. If so, that is incorrect and I misspoke. The Construction Facilities Fund originally had $2.1m in it but was augmented by the $505,000 and an Construction Time Limit Penalties to come to $2.9m. 

3. Dispatcher Alternative Workweek

As the Council is aware, when the Town was in the midst of a CalPERS Audit, the Auditors identified that the Dispatchers were working an alternative workweek as their “normal schedule” and did not have a Government Code exemption (commonly referred to as a 7k exemption) like Police Officers for Overtime. As such, any “regular schedule” - which may include overtime hours - is pensionable. 

The Dispatchers work the traditional 12 hours shift consistent with the shifts worked by Police Officers. Their alternative workweeks were in force, but not defined in detail within the MOU. Therefore, CalPERS required the Town to fix both of those discrepancies. 

This occurred with the last MOU. Dispatchers continue to work their 12 hour shifts. One calendar week they will work 48 hours and the next calendar week they will work 36 hours. However, as a defined alternative work week, their standard work week expires mid-shift on one of the days - meaning - they work 36 plus 6 for one week and 36 plus 6 for the next week. This is identical to how a 9/80 schedule works under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This was CalPERS’ point. 

This has been fixed but we have been trying for the last few months to devise a software fix to allow the Dispatchers to code their hours properly from one pay period to the next. This has now also been fixed. 

There is no change operationally. 

4. SBWMA TAC Meeting - June 8

On Thursday, June 8 I attended the SBWMA Technical Advisory Committee Meeting (TAC) where I serve as Vice Chair. We discussed FY 17/18 SBWMA Projects, Fire Suppression Action Plans/Insurance, status of Franchise Negotiations, and heard an Annual CalRECYCLE Report.

It was also mentioned that the Negotiation Committee and SBWMA Board will be meeting with Recology to hammer out an additional detail in the Model Amended Franchise - Cost. This is largely related to their proposed General Administration Cost Allocation. It is anticipated that the Model Amended Franchise may be moved out to a July SBWMA Board Meeting as opposed to review/approval at their June Meeting. 

Staff will be bringing a next steps memorandum to the Council for our June 21 Council Meeting to outline the current status and recommended next steps for Atherton. This will include a recommendation that the Council authorize the Subcommittee of Widmer/Wiest (together with staff) to negotiate with Recology for Atherton-specific issues as part of the model franchise recommended by the SBWMA. Some parts of the model franchise cannot be adjusted (basic cost and term), but there are Atherton-specific issues that must be rolled forward from the existing franchise and the opportunity to additional tweaks in the amended franchise. 

5. Trauma Kits

Atherton Police Cars will be outfitted with Vehicle Mounted Trauma Kits. The Trauma Kits are advanced first-aid kits with life-saving technology developed for wound sealing. The advanced hemostatic gauze sticks to wet tissue, forms an adhesive gel that seals wounds to stop bleeding. 

6. Fire District Purchase of 28 Almendral (adjacent to Fire Station No. 3)

As the Council is aware, via public agenda posting, staff became aware of a Closed Session item on the May 31 Fire Board Agenda contemplating the purchase of 28 Almendral - residential property east of Fire Station No. 3. Last night I was asked by the Mayor if I had heard anything about the purchase, so I circled back with the Fire Chief regarding the potential purchase and asked if he could advise as to the status. He responded around midnight that he was not authorized to share anything. 

I received a call from a Council Member this morning advising that they had received several calls from reporters last night about the purchase and advising that indeed the District was the highest bidder (approx. $4.5m) and the reporters were asking for the Town’s position on the purchase. I circled back again with the Chief advising him of the press reports and the amount of sale - and my disappointment that my Council were being caught blind by reporters. He responded that “That was his direction, which has now obviously changed” - he asked that Council members refer reporters to the District. 

In anticipation of the District’s successful purchase, staff outlined what would be asked for from a land use perspective. The District would be exempt from Town land use requirements, but, we would ask the District to merge the two properties via Lot Line Adjustment process.  We would also recommend they request a Zoning Map Amendment to zone the site PFS which is the zoning designation of the existing fire property on Almendral and allows public facilities.

The Liaison Subcommittee met on Monday afternoon at 3 pm and discussed a wide variety of issues. These included: 

- Regional Traffic, Traffic Mitigation, and Emergency Response - Marsh Road, Lindenwood, ECR, Middlefield
- Residential Development and Land Use - Emergency Response, Home Square Footage, Uses
- Schools and Community Emergency Response (Active Shooter Exercise, Assembly Points)
- Community Engagement (Council Goals)
- CityGate Report and Standards of Cover (Station #3 - Land Acquisition) 
- Matrix Study Update (Status)

A couple of follow-up items came from the meeting. These include:

- Staff will connect with Stanford regarding their offer of “offset” for traffic impacts
- Town and District will connect with County to discuss impacts of the County’s Middlefield Road project in Fair Oaks
- Chief’s will connect on courtesy home security inspections
- Chief’s will connect on the Town’s planned Active Shooter Exercise in the Spring

7. Las Lomitas Memorandum of Understanding (Town/District) (UPDATE)

Staff continues work with the District on hammering out the MOU for the Project. As mentioned prior, the District is seeking permission to make improvements along Camino Al Lago to assist with parking and drop-off within the Town’s right-of-way as well as a traffic signal at Walsh Road to facilitate the new parking lot design and traffic pattern.The District “ask” is that the Town consider paying the cost of the signal and associated improvements. In exchange, the District is not asking for any long-term lease obligation for the water capture facility on their property. The initial estimate for a full signal with improvements is between $500,000 and $750,000. 

The District is asking for 5 things within the MOU:

- Contribution to “campus improvements” over a period of years - initial ask is $750,000 paid out to the District over a 3-year period. Staff has countered at $500,000 paid out over a 5-year period. The District has informally accepted a 5-year pay out BUT desires the full $750,000.  
- Permission for the District to install the signal (paid for by the Town’s contribution)
- Easement for right-of-way improvements along Camino Al Lago (school cost)
- Town ownership/maintenance of existing culvert (currently ours anyway)
- Town support on future SR2S Grants (non-financial)

This will be coming to the Council at the July 19 Meeting. 

8. CCAC Membership - Clive Merredew

As the Council may be aware, CCAC Member Clive Merredew may be relocating in the early fall. He would like to remain on the CCAC until his relocation (out of Town). After relocating, he would like to continue on as an ex-officio member of the CCAC and continue on to assist the Project Management Committee. 

Clive has been a valuable asset to the team and staff welcomes his continued participation. The Council may or may not need an additional appointee to the CCAC. If its continuing efforts are needed as a group, the Council may consider a replacement appointee even with Clive continuing as an ex-officio member. 

9. Project Management Committee (PMC) - Deduct Memorandum

The CCAC’s PMC Committee has been working with staff to identify potential design deducts that can be added to the design and bid documents. The PMC targeted a deduct of approximately 10%. While there will be value-engineering opportunities after award of contract, deduct options can be built into the design and bid documents to allow a reduction in scope prior to award of the construction contract. 

The full report will be provided for the June 21 Council Meeting. In brief, the PMC has identified the following for the Admin/PD/Public Works portion of the Project:

- Deferral of the Corporation Yard
- Deferral of the Council Chambers
- Replacement of Clay Tile Roof with Asphalt Shingle
- Replace CMU Fencing with Chain Link
- Simplify/Reduce Interior Finishes
- Change Traction Elevator to Slower Hydraulic Elevator
- Hydroseed in-lieu of planting

These represent potential cost savings of $2.7 million.

In brief, the PMC has identified the following for the Library portion of the Project:

- Defer Town Hall Renovation
- Remove selected custom built furnishings
- Replace Rammed Earth Exterior Walls
- Simplify/Reduce Interior Finishes
- Replace Wood Window Framing with Aluminum 
- Hydro-Seed in-lieu of Planting

These represent potential cost savings of $2 million.

Staff reviewed and concurs with the recommendations of the PMC. The PMC is not recommending that the project be altered to incorporate these changes; rather, that it is worth investing the extra design fees so that these alternatives can be designed and included as deductive alternates in the bid package to allow the Town to make deductive design decisions should the bid cost for the project exceed available funding projections. 

The PMC believes that the current design is reflective of the years of work by the community, Civic Center Advisory Committee, Council and staff to design a functional and attractive Town Center that provides space for the Town’s needs while simultaneously providing a welcoming environment for residents to conduct Town business. 

Lastly, it should be noted that the recommendations by the PMC are that if a deduct is selected for the Project, such as the Council Chambers or Historic Town Hall. Renovations, those deducts should not be eliminated or deleted, but rather should be considered for a future phase of development. 

10. Measure A Election Results

The County has released election results and continues to release updated counts until certification on June 26. The latest result is from June 8 at 4:30 pm. Another update will be released on June 13 at 4:30 pm and then on Friday, June 16 at 4:30 pm. 

Measure A increased from 1808 votes to 1928 votes. The turnout changed from 36.87% to 39.31%. The YES changed from 61.14% to 61.41%. 

11. Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP)

CalMOD has sent staff a memorandum on their Tree Avoidance Minimization and Replacement Plan. The memorandum is the beginning of the conversation regarding tree impacts and replacement for the Project. Staff and a subcommittee of the Rail Committee are reviewing the document. In the past, I mentioned that the Caltrain PCEP EIR (2014) provided a comment about tree removals noting that the Draft EIR identified tree impacts in Atherton of 142 trees to be removed and 206 trees pruned. A combination of portals, two-track cantilevers, center poles and offset insulator side poles could reduce impacts to only 7 trees removed and 274 pruned. This alternative pole design could eliminate the ROW encroachment for the Electrification Safety Zone (ESZ) on private property in Atherton and could reduce the ROW encroachment for ESZ in the Park. 

However, further design refinement has not borne this out. The current assessment provides that Caltrain assessed 332 trees in Atherton. Of the 332 trees, 71 are on the Caltrain Joint Powers Board ROW, 27 are on public property, and 234 are on private property. Of the total 332 trees, 106 will not be impacted, 140 are to be pruned less than 25%, 57 will be pruned more than 25%, and 29 are slated for removal - most along the HPP corridor. Caltrain is slated to comply with the Town’s permit requirements for removal or damage (to include pruning) of any heritage tree on private or public property. Based on the tree impacts, 10 tree permits are anticipated for removal of 4 heritage trees and pruning of greater than 25% for 6 heritage trees. Per requirements, a total of 94 trees will be planted to mitigate for 86 trees removed or tuned greater than 25%. 

Of the 71 trees on Caltrain’s ROW, 22 will be preserved, 19 removed, 8 pruned more than 25%, and 22 pruned less than 25%. Of the trees on private property (234), 82 are preserved, 1 non-heritage will be removed, 6 heritage pruned more than 25%, and 38 non-heritage pruned more than 25%. The remaining 27 trees are on public property - 2 preserved, 4 heritage slated for removal, 5 non-heritage slated for removal, 5 non-heritage slated for pruning greater than 25%. 

Staff is researching and reviewing with the Rail Subcommittee. Part of that research involves validating the location of the trees, noted ROW, and permitting requirements.  

June 2, 2017 Weekly Council Notes

1. Articles of Interest

2. Menlo Park, Redwood City, & Atherton - Meeting

Judi Herren is working to setup a meeting with Mayor Lempres, TC Chair McLaughlin, and myself together with representatives from Menlo Park and Redwood City. The City Managers of both communities have indicated a desire to meet to discuss regional projects, but specifically transportation related issues/mitigation and drainage. 

Arrangements for this meeting are still in progress. Staff anticipates that the meeting will occur toward the end of June - likely an evening meeting. 

3. Community Development Block Grant Cooperation Agreement

In 1996, the Town and County entered into a cooperation agreement whereby Atherton, would not be eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds on our own but rather cooperate and participate in the County Urban County Program to access CDBG Funding. This agreement automatically renews every three years and has in place since 1996. The current agreement expires on June 30 and will automatically renew through June 30, 2020. 

The Town does not receive enough funds to conduct housing programs locally and has chosen to participate (and get credit for participation) regionally as part of the Town’s Housing Element commitment to Affordable Housing Projects and Programs. 

4. BAAQMD Call for Projects - June 2017

The BAAQMD is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Bicycle Facilities Grant Program. The program offers funding to support the construction of new bicycle facilities, including bikeways and secure parking. The Grant has strings and criteria, but staff will investigate for applicability to local projects.

5. New Police Officer

The Town has made a conditional offer of employment to Officer Candidate Gina Dutta. 

6. Update on the Fire Services Fiscal Review

Matrix Consulting met with myself and the Subcommittee to ensure that they understood the background and scope of the project as well as potential issues. They followed that meeting with a long meeting with the Chief, Deputy Chief and Board member from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.  The purpose of that meeting was to introduce the study scope directly to them, Matrix's role in the project as well as develop a plan to meet with staff and collect data. Matrix will be there the first week of June to begin the interviews with District staff.

Matrix also met with Martha Poyatos, San Mateo County LAFCO Executive Director in an initial meeting on background and to discuss LAFCO processes in general. Note - this is not a part of the Town’s study, but merely background information. Matrix has other studies that involve LAFCO. Matrix will be making contact with the County Assessor’s Office for meetings there in the next couple of weeks.

They reported that the working relationship with the District is very positive and they are making their staff and data available. They have already started providing the data in advance of meetings next week.

7. Park Revenue and Event Log

Linked here is the Park Revenue Log and May Park Events

8. Police Chief 

The Police Chief is making rounds in the community and has met with several community representatives. The Chief is conducting a full administrative and personnel review of the PD, to include an inventory and assessment of current policies and practices. He has also established a connection to the local media.