Council Meeting Date: March 18, 2020
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 March Regular Meeting on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 pm via teleconference pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order No. 25-20. The meeting agenda was limited to the Consent Agenda and essential Regular Agenda Action Items. Following Roll Call, the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with Public Comments.
Staff read several public comments into the record related to active construction activity in the Town and the Town's allowance of private construction projects to continue under COVID-19 circumstances. Other public comment was taken via teleconference attendees.
Following Public Comment, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report. The City Manager's Report is prepared monthly as part of the City Council's Regular Agenda. In addition to current reports from the City Manager, it includes departmental updates on the various happenings around Town such as reports from Administration, Community Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. The Council received Oral Reports from the City Manager and staff on various issues contained within the City Manager's Report. Staff answered questions related to the ongoing conversations with Caltrain on the Station Closure and the deployment of public safety resources in response to COVID-19.
Following the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 7 and 14. Items on the Consent Agenda are considered routine in nature and are generally considered in one motion and adopted by a single vote of the Council. Included in this month's Consent Agenda were bills and claims, 2nd Reading and Adoption of Ordinances related to Alarm Systems and Construction Hours, Approval of the Annual Report on the Town's General Plan, Adoption of an Amendment to the Cable JPA, approval of an amendment to the Agreement with R3 Consulting, and an award of contract for Street Patching. Item No. 9, Approval of a Debt Policy was continued to the April Regular Meeting.
Next up was the Regular Agenda.
The first item on the Regular Agenda was Item No. 15, a Resolution of the CIty Council confirming the Town's Proclamation of Local Emergency due to COVID-19. Following public comment and discussion, the City Council ultimately adopted the Resolution confirming the existence of the local emergency in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Council also provided the City Manager with feedback regarding the handling of some of the exceptions under the Shelter-in-Place Order.
Construction Activity - The City Council discussed various concerns related to the continuation of private residential construction. Ultimately, the Council decided that it was in the best interest of the safety of the community, staff, and workers on the sites to prohibit the continuation of non-emergency private residential construction. The Council directed that staff work with contractors to shut down and "make safe" construction sites for the duration of the Shelter-in-Place Order. All projects will be allowed to work on Saturday, March 21 in furtherance of this mandate to facilitate a timely shut down of the project. Projects that need additional time will work with the Building Official to arrange for work the week of March 23, but all sites will be shut down with maximum urgency. The Council directed that the shut down of construction also apply to the Town Center Construction Project. All sites will be encouraged to employ rotating shifts of site security or video security as the Atherton Police Department will be unable to patrol all sites proactively. The City Council will re-evaluate this mandate periodically moving forward and will seek to relax the mandate as quickly as possible as COVID-19 conditions positively evolve.
Interpretations of Activity Under the Shelter-in-Place Order - The City Council discussed some of the provisions of the Order, to include the provision of personal services such as home cleaning services, landscaping services, and other personal care services. The Council advised that the Order was specific with respect to what was or was not an essential service in many areas; but some areas were not identified or not clear. Home cleaning services and home care services (child and adult) were identified as an essential service related to the care of the home and family members. Landscaping services were not identified as an essential service. Emergency services related to construction activity, such as the need to repair a water heater, plumbing leaks, electrical issues, and other emergent needs would continue to be allowed in the interest of maintaining a safe residence. If these items require a permit, those could be obtained electronically via the Town's Building Department. The Council asked that staff incorporate a set of FAQs onto the Town's COVID-19 website, in addition to those provided by the County that will assist our residents moving forward.
Enforcement - Resources of the Town are not sufficient to proactively enforce all of the provisions of the Shelter-in-Place Order. Emergency response personnel will address issues as they see them in the field employing maximum safety through social distancing protocols. Flyers will be created that can be left on vehicles of contractors and landscape service personnel that are identified in the field advising each that work is not allowed. There will be limited in-person contact unless such contact is possible through technology options and social distancing protocols. Residents are encouraged to self regulate all non-essential services to their home. These services include non-essential construction or renovation activity (house painters, field design work, flooring replacement, minor interior remodels, etc.), landscaping or gardening services, window washing services, etc.
The Town has two primary online resources for local information related to COVID-19.
- Town News Flash - Message from the City Manager - COVID-19
- Town COVID-19 Webpage
The County has two primary pages for resources on COVID-19
- San Mateo County General Webpage with COVD-19 Links and FAQs
- San Mateo County Health Officer COVID-19 Webpage
Next was Item No. 16, approval of and authorization to execute a Notice of Intent to Withdraw from the South Bayside Waste Management Authority. Following a staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the issuance of a letter and pending negotiations with Greenwaste Recovery. Following discussion, the Council approved the issuance of the Notice of Intent.
Following Council Reports and Final Public Comments, having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:16 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!
Audio of the teleconference will be posted to the Town's website as soon as it is available.
The next Regularly Scheduled meeting of the City Council will be April 15. It is likely that there may be Special Meetings of the City Council between now and April 15 to report and evaluate on the local emergency and the imposition of mandates under the Order. These meetings will be teleconference meetings. Pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order, staff will not open public facilities for access. All meeting participants are encouraged to participate virtually.