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.

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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:
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.  


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.

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