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.

Sep 16

That's A Wrap! - September 15, 2021

Posted on September 16, 2021 at 8:17 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

 Council Meeting Date: September 15, 2021
 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. Approximate times are provided in each item so that you can find the item in the Video Presentation. 

The City Council met for the September Regular Meeting on Wednesday, September 15 at 6 pm via Zoom Teleconference pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order. Following the Roll Call the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with Presentations and Public Comments.   

ReportFollowing Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is typically prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it typically includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works.   
Consent_AgendaFollowing the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 6 through 12 (~6:04 pm). Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were bills and claims, minutes, approval of voting delegates to the League Conference, 2nd Amendment to the Agreement for Tennis Facility Management Services, Acceptance of Donation Naming Requests, Treasurer's Report and 3rd Amendment to Lease Agreement with CINGULAR WIRELESS PCS. Following a correction to the donation naming requests and comments regarding the Tennis Facility Management Services Agreement, the Council approved the Consent Agenda. The Tennis Facility Management Services item was pulled from the Consent Agenda for comments and was taken up as the last item on the Regular Agenda. The item was ultimately approved as presented.  

Public_Hearing_ImageNext was Public Hearings. (6:08 pm)
 
Public Hearings are typically held for Ordinances, Budget Adoption, Fee Adoption, and Land Use approvals. 
 
Item No. 13, Introduction for 1st Reading and Waive Further Reading of an Ordinance Amending Chapter 2.08.010 Regarding Posting Places. Following a brief staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing. Following public comment, the Council introduced for 1st Reading and Waived Further Reading an Ordinance amending Chapter 2.08.010, Posting Places. The Council directed that staff connect with the Lindenwood Homeowner's Association regarding the bulletin boards within their area to determine if the Association would like to take ownership of those boards for Association use. 

Regular_Agenda_Image
Next up was the Regular Agenda. (~6:20 pm)

Item No. 14 was review and consideration of revisions to the Resolution Governing Town Committees and Commissions to reduce members on the Rail Committee and merging the Bicycle and Pedestrian and Transportation Committees. After a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the items. The Council supported a reduction in size of the Rail Committee from 9 members to 7 members and ultimately adopted a Resolution to do so. However, after discussion, the Council opted not to make any changes to the Bicycle and Pedestrian and Transportation Committees. The Council discussed issues related to issue focus, issue overlap, community engagement, committee membership and participation, and information sharing. The Council directed that staff consider Joint Meetings of the two committees at least twice per year to facilitate improved communication between the two committees on issues of common concern. 

Item No. 15, modification of the hours for the right-turn on red restrictions at the Middlefield Road/Oak Grove Avenue Intersection. (6:55 pm) Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to school schedule timing, pedestrian and bicycle users of the intersection, signal timing, engineering adjustments to the intersection, hours of restrictions, type of signage, and neighborhood impacts. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff conduct a survey of the users of the intersection for type of user and timing over the period of a week, evaluate the possibility of alternate signage to include an analysis of using "When Pedestrians are Present" versus hourly restrictions, and evaluate the potential engineering changes to the intersection to include signal synchronization improvements along the corridor and the use of red arrows to allow turning movements. Once this has been evaluated, the Council asked the the item return to the Council for reconsideration.

Next up was Item No. 16, discussion and direction regarding median street tree replacement options for Mt. Vernon Lane and Tuscaloosa Avenue. (7:30 pm) Following a staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to size of trees, options for replacement, cost, impacts on roadway safety and design, as well as tree type and condition. Following discussion, the Council directed that the Town replace the Mt. Vernon Lane tree with the tree type selected by the adjacent neighborhood at the 60" box size, purchased pursuant to the Town's purchasing policy requirements. The neighborhood will be provided with the option to increase the size of the tree for the space. The Town Arborist was directed to work with the neighbors to facilitate the purchase, potential upsizing, and installation of the tree. The Council directed that with respect to the replacement options on Tuscaloosa that staff investigate the potential to widen the roadway around the tree by encroaching into the adjacent rights-of-way and engage the neighbors in the discussion. Staff was directed to investigate the widening in order to accommodate more width around the base of the tree with the need for median installation as well as to allow the neighborhood to consider upsizing the tree at their cost. Following this investigation, staff was directed to return to Council for reconsideration of the installation.  

Item No. 17 was consideration of a preliminary budget for the Town Center Grand Opening. (8:22 pm). Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to project timing, size of event, potential dates, separation of the events into a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening, and postponing the Grand Opening until the Spring for better weather and project maturity. The Council provided general feedback to the City Council Ad Hoc Subcommittee and approved a preliminary budget of $25,000.  

The next item on the Agenda was Item No. 18, Town Center Project Update (~8:36 pm). Staff provided a brief report and the Council provided opportunity for public comment. There was no action for this item.

The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 19, City Manager Performance Evaluation and Approval of Amendment to the City Manager Employment Agreement. (~8:36 pm) Following a brief report and public comment, the Council discussed the timing and mechanics of the City Manager Performance Evaluation process. Following discussion, the Council approved the amendment to agreement.

Following this item, the Council took up the postponed 
Item No. 9 from the Consent Agenda regarding the Tennis Facility Management Services. Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the potential for adjusting the agreement after its initial two-year term for an increase in revenue to the Town for the use. Following discussion, the Council approved the Agreement.

Having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 8:53 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!


The next meeting of the City Council will be a Special Meeting/Study Session on October 6 at 4 pm. The October 6 tentative Agenda includes a final review and approval of the Donor Wall Materials and Design, a Discussion of a Public Safety Ingress/Egress Easement in Lindenwood (via the CalWater easement), a Discussion of a Report from the EPC and City Council Subcommittee on the Leaf Blower Ordinance, a Review of the RFP for Landscape Maintenance Services, and Recommendations from the Transportation Committee on the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan.
 
GeorgeThanks for reading!
 
 George Rodericks
 City Manager

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



Jul 22

That's A Wrap! - July 21, 2021

Posted on July 22, 2021 at 3:51 PM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

 Council Meeting Date: July 21, 2021
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured
Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative.

The City Council met for the July Regular Meeting on Wednesday, July 21 at 6 pm via Zoom Teleconference pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order. Following the Roll Call the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with Presentations and Public Comments.  There were Public Comments related to Undergrounding of Utilities on Walsh Road. (For more information about Utility Underground Projects, please visit the Town's Website for an FAQ).

ReportFollowing Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is typically prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it typically includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. The Council asked questions regarding CitizenRIMS. 

CitizenRIMS is an online resource for the public to learn more about public safety response services in Town. You can access CitizenRIMS here.  

CitizenRIMS2

Consent_AgendaFollowing the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 6 through 10 (~6:07 pm). Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were bills and claims, Acceptance of Work and Notice of Completion for the James avenue Overlay Project, Approval of an MOU with the County for SB 1383 Edible Food Recovery Monitoring, and Approval of an Agreement with the County for Operational Area Emergency Services.

Public_Hearing_ImageNext was Public Hearings.

Public Hearings are typically held for Ordinances, Budget Adoption, Fee Adoption, and Land Use approvals. 

 There were no Public Hearings scheduled for the July 21 Council meeting.


Regular_Agenda_Image
Next up was the Regular Agenda (~6:09 pm).

Item No. 11 was Certification of Continuing Emergency and Ratification of Such Rules and Regulations Enacted by the Director of Emergency Services in Response to COVID-19. Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the continuing declaration of emergency, specific powers and authorities, a return to in-person meetings, requirements for face coverings, and vaccinations. Following discussion, the Council supported a return to in-person meetings beginning in October 2021, depending on the state of affairs with respect to COVID-19. In addition, the Council supported the current practice of requiring face coverings for all non-vaccinated public and staff in all Town facilities; however, also asked the City Manager to continue to follow the County Health Guidance with respect to face coverings inside facilities for all personnel, vaccinated or not. The Council expressed a strong commitment in support of vaccinations for the community and staff. The City Manager advised that approximately 4-5 personnel were not vaccinated (contract and/or in-house staff); approximately 92% of the Town staff are vaccinated. The Council supported making a public statement in favor of vaccination with strong encouragement to the community and all staff to get vaccinated.  

BookFrogNext up was Item No. 12, Consideration of Acceptance of a Sculpture Donation for the Library Deck from the Friends of the Atherton Community Library (~6:45 pm). Following a brief report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed the proposed sculpture for the Library Deck. Following discussion, the Council moved acceptance of the sculpture donation. 

Item No. 13 was Consideration of Extension of Construction Time Limit for Residential Project located at 55 Camino Por Los Arboles and Interpretation of Construction Time Limit Enforcement (~6:53 pm). Following a staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the Construction Time Limit Ordinance, including, but not limited to, impact on neighbors, purpose of the ordinance, excusable delays, penalties associated with delays, timing for appeals, delays within the control of the property owner, and COVID-19 impacts. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff return with suggestions to modify the Construction Time Limit Ordinance to address the issue of excusable delays - including a critical path analysis for such delays, evaluate the possibility of additional COVID-19 delay applicable to all projects, include an opportunity for property owners to appeal imposition of penalties as they arise; and, Council denied the appeal related to 55 Camino Por Los Arboles finding that the complexity of design was a significant factor in construction delay and that that was within the control of the property owner.

DonorWallItem No. 14 was Consideration of Responses to the Request for Proposal for Donor Wall Design, Construction, and Installation; Providing Staff with Direction on Next Steps (~7:38 pm). Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the two proposals received and alternatives. Following discussion, the Council rejected all bids and directed staff to connect with the Project Architect for a Scope of Work to work with the City Council Subcommittee on a donor wall design. 

Next was Item No. 15, an Amendment to Agreement with Knox Playschool for an additional year term (~7:47 pm). Following a staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the cost impact, COVID-19 restrictions, and continued services. Following discussion, the Council approved the Amendment as proposed. 

Item No. 16 was a Review of Battery-Operated Leaf Blower Pilot Program in Holbrook Palmer Park (~7:52 pm). Following a staff report, comparative video and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to noise, functionality, impact on residential versus commercial, particulate matter, banning of types of gas blowers, Spare the Air Days, effectiveness, and cost. Following discussion, the Council directed staff to work with the Environmental Programs Committee and a City Council Subcommittee to develop a refined ordinance for consideration by the Council as well as an educational campaign for outreach.

Next was Item No. 17, Consideration of Acceptance of a $21,000 donation in support of the purchase of additional automated license plate readers (ALPRs) on El Camino Real (~8:15 pm). Following a staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to placement and efficacy of the cameras. Following discussion, the Council moved to accept the donation and placement of the additional cameras. 

FairOaksThe last item on the Agenda was Item No. 18, Town Center Project Update (~8:25 pm). Following a brief staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council supported reaching out to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District to discuss financial partnership related to the Emergency Responder Radio Coverage requirements.

Having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 8:43 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!


The City Council is DARK for the month of August. The next meeting of the City Council will be a Special Meeting/Study Session on September 1 at 4 pm. The September 1 meeting will include a Report on the efficacy of ALPR Cameras and a Report on Burglaries in Town; and, a Discussion of the Financial Projection Spreadsheet. 
 
GeorgeThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
 City Manager

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



Jun 17

That's A Wrap! - June 16, 2021

Posted on June 17, 2021 at 8:22 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

Council Meeting Date: June 16, 2021
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TownOfAtherton/featured
Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative. 

The City Council met for the May Regular Meeting on Wednesday, June 16 at 6 pm via Zoom Teleconference pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order. Following the Roll Call the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with Presentations. The Council heard a presentation from PG&E on Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) events and Fire Safety as well as an Annual Report from the Park & Recreation Committee. Following presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments.  There were no Public Comments. 

ReportFollowing Public Comment and a Report out of Closed Session, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is typically prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it typically includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, PlanningPolice, and Public Works. The Council asked questions regarding the Friends of the Library Art Donation as well as information regarding recent burglary activity in Town.re were no questions regarding the City Manager's Written Report. 

Consent_AgendaFollowing the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 6 through 15 (~6:39 pm). Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were minutes of various meetings, bills and claims, award of contract for Park lighting, certification of continuing emergency, acceptance of work for Patching and Overlay Projects, approval of a SB 1 Road Maintenance Resolution, approval of a Funding Agreement with Caltrain/JPB, approval of an agreement with Turbo Data Systems, and authorization of the purchase of a police vehicle. Following questions regarding the continuation of local emergency due to COVID-19, the Council approved the Consent Agenda.

Public_Hearing_ImageNext was Public Hearings.

Public Hearings are typically held for Ordinances, Budget Adoption, Fee Adoption, and Land Use approvals. 

There were no Public Hearings scheduled for the June 16 Council meeting.


Regular_Agenda_ImageNext up was the Regular Agenda (~6:44 pm).

Item No. 16 was Consideration of Appointments to Various Town Committees and the Planning Commission. Following a brief staff report and presentations by considered candidates, the Council moved through each appointment. The City Council appointed the following individuals:

- Audit & Finance Committee: Devika Patil, Ann Yvonne Walker
- Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee: Steve Baloff, Betsey Bradford
- Environmental Programs Committee: Stacy Holland, Gregory Loew
- Park & Recreation Committee: Taylor Henkel, Walter Robinson
- Planning Commission: Gabia Konce
- Rail Committee: Greg Conlon, Jim Massey
- Transportation Committee: Joseph Davis

Next, was Item No. 17, Updates on the Town Center Project, Consideration of an Encroachment Permit to Caltrans, and Feedback and Direction on the City Hall Fair Oaks Fountain and Donor Brick Pathway. (~7:20 pm) Following a staff report on each portion of the item, the Council heard public comment and considered the issues. With respect to the Encroachment Permit to Caltrans, the Council discussed issues related to liability, cost, maintenance work, alternatives during school hours, timing, potential for access through the construction site, and private solutions. Following discussion, the Council directed that staff connect with Caltrans and ask that they provide for a safe path of travel along El Camino Real from Ashfield Road to Maple Avenue pursuant to the requirements of the California Vehicle Code and further, that Caltrans clean up the shoulder along that section of roadway. The Council asked that staff report back to the Council as soon as Caltrans responds so that the Council can consider possible next steps. 

Next, the Council reviewed the Donor Brick Pathway and Fair Oaks Fountain and provided direction to staff. The Council directed that the edge of the pathway along the planter bed/seat wall be widened to a minimum of 3 feet in width. The Council further directed the Fountain Subcommittee provide staff with the final recommendations with respect to the Fountain placement and design without the expenditure of additional funds.

Item No. 18 was feedback and direction regarding a proposal for a community garden in Holbrook-Palmer Park (~8:27 pm). Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the possibility of outreach in support of a community garden in the Park. The Council discussed issues related to operation of the garden, size, number of plots, concepts of a victory garden and master gardener classes, and gathering community support or identification of community need. Following discussion, the Council advised that a this time, the idea needs to be vetted further by its proponent and the Council was not in favor of expending Town resources for outreach. 

Item No. 19 was consideration of award of contract for Event Management Services at the Park (~8:45 pm). Following a staff report and opportunity for public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the provision of food, quality of the food, ability to try the food, term of the contract, expanding events in the Park, other potential bidders and a rebid of the proposal, exclusivity of services, and a requirement that the food services stay competitive. Following discussion, the Council directed that the item be returned for consideration at the July 7 or July 21 meeting and that in the interim, staff organize visits to the Catered Too facility in East Palo Alto for sampling of services and food. 

The next item on the Agenda was Item No. 20, Request from the Atherton Tree Committee for a Tree Walk Brochure, Signage and Community Event (~9:03 pm). Following a staff report and public comment, the Council discussed issues related to the types of display cases, the map of the Park, inclusion of additional trees, and the history of trees placed in the Park. Following discussion, the Council approved the project and directed that staff provide funding and support. 

Item No. 21 was authorization to contract with Douglas Kim & Associates for Sustainability Coordinator Consulting Services (~9:12 pm). Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council authorized a contract with Douglas Kim & Associates. 

The last item on the Agenda was Item No. 22, adoption of the FY 2021/22 Budget and related items. (~9:15 pm) Following a brief staff report and public comment, the Council adopted all items associated with the FY 2021/22 Budget.

Having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:18 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!


The next meeting of the City Council will be a Special Meeting/Study Session on July 7 at 4 pm. The July 7 meeting will include a discussion of the City Council Goals, the Park Circulation Plan, and potentially, approval of the Event Management Services contract. The City Council will meet for the July 21 Regular Meeting but will be DARK for the month of August. 

GeorgeThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager

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