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Jun 16

That's A Wrap! - June 15, 2022

Posted to City Manager's Blog by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap

Council Meeting Date: June 15, 2022
Video Link:
Details of each item can be found via the links to Staff Reports within the narrative.

The City Council met for the May Meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at 6 pm via Hybrid - (Zoom and In-Person) pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order. Following the Roll Call the Council began moving through the Agenda beginning with PresentationsThe Council introduced and swore in new Atherton Police Officer Bobby Magami. Following presentations, the Council moved to Public Comments.  The Mayor advised that Item No. 17 related to the Housing Element would be heard by the Council prior to the Public Hearings. This Report will note the item in the Agenda during its regular order but it was heard out of order at the meeting. 

ReportFollowing Public Comments and a Report out of Closed Session, the Council moved to the City Manager's Report (~6:05 pm). 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. Council made comments related to the Housing Element schedule, City Council Subcommittee Reports, and the Police Activity Report. 

Consent_AgendaFollowing the City Manager's Report, the Council moved to the Consent Agenda consisting of Items 7 through 10 (~6:10 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, Certification of the Continuing COVID-19 Emergency and acceptance of work for the lighting in Holbrook Palmer Park.  Staff removed the minutes of May 18 and May 24 for further edits and will return them to the Council for consideration in July. With that removal, the Council approved all remaining items on 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 five (5) Public Hearings on the June Agenda.

Item No. 11, Public Hearing for Vacation of a Portion of Madrone Road (~7:20 pm). Following a staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing providing opportunity for public comment by the applicant and other parties. Upon close of the Public Hearing the Council discussed the proposed vacation asking clarifying questions related to current and future use of the space as well as the disposition of the space upon vacation by the Town. Following discussion, the Council adopted the required Resolutions to vacate a portion of Madrone Road. 

Item No. 12, Public Hearing for Appeal of a Planning Commission decision to deny a Variance at 25 Isabella Drive for a fence/wall to exceed 6' in height and a retaining wall to be located less than 5 feet from the property line (~7:29 pm). Following a staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing providing opportunity for public comment by the applicant and other parties. The Council asked questions of the applicant and other parties related to height of the wall, size of the retaining wall, available planting area(s), timing of permits, timing of grading, permits obtained or not obtained, communication between property owners, surveys to neighbors, and design. Upon close of the Public Hearing the Council discussed the various issues related to the project and potential solutions involving Town permitting or applications and negotiated agreements between the property owners. Following discussion, the Council continued the Variance Hearing to the September 21 Regular Meeting of the City Council and directed the property owners to meet and confer in the intervening time to attempt to work out a mutually agreeable solution. 

Item No. 13, Public Hearing to Introduce Ordinance Amendments related to Landscape Screening under Chapter 17.50 of the Atherton Municipal Code (~8:48 pm). Following a staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing providing opportunity for public comment. Upon close of the Public Hearing the Council discussed issues related to tree size and screening of accessory dwelling units. Following discussion, the Council introduced the Ordinance, as amended, to provide flexibility for the Town Arborist to work with property owners on tree size requirements. 

Item No. 14, Public Hearing to Introduce Ordinance approving a Policy for the Use and Acquisition of Military Equipment under AB 481, Law Enforcement (~9:10 pm). Following a staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing providing opportunity for public comment. Upon close of the Public Hearing, the Council discussed application of the policy. Following discussion, the Council introduced the Ordinance.

Item No. 15, Public Hearing to Adopt the FY 2022/23 Budget, Salary and Benefit Resolutions, GANN Limit, and Fee Resolution (~9:12 pm). Following a staff report, the Council conducted the Public Hearing providing opportunity for public comment. Upon close of the Public Hearing, the Council congratulated staff on a well prepared Budget. The Council also discussed amendments to the Fee Schedule to remove the fee for Solar Permits and made amendments to the fees for Park facility use. Following discussion, the Council removed the fee for solar permits and directed that the Park fees be amended as follows: 

Main House (M-F)$125$200
Main House (S&S)$350$450
Outdoor Area$150$200
Carriage House$125$200
Jennings Pavilion (Friday Day/M-Th)$250$400
Jennings Pavilion (Friday Night/S&S)$750$1,000
Day Use 13-25$100$150
Day Use 26-50$175$300

Regular_Agenda_ImageNext up was the Regular Agenda (~9:15 pm).

Item No. 16, Consideration of and Appointments To Various Town Committees and Planning Commission. Following a staff report and public comment, the Council discussed the various appointments and vacancies. The Council discussed the status of the Rail Committee as a Town Committee. Following discussion, the Council appointed all applicants to the various committees selecting particular terms for the Environmental Committee appointments and selecting the incumbent for reappointment to the Rail Committee. The Council directed that the Rail Committee discuss the possibility of a change in status to a Designated Group versus a formal Town Committee at their next Rail Committee meeting and report back to the City Council. 

Item No. 17, Discussion of Community Feedback Regarding Housing Element Updates (~6:12 pm). (This item was heard earlier in the meeting than as noted on the Agenda) Staff provided the Council with an overview of the current status of the Housing Element and noted that after several public meetings and strategy sessions, the City Council authorized the release of the current Draft Housing Element for its 30-day public comment period. Staff advised that while the element is out for public comment, it should not be amended. Staff noted that all public comment received in writing via email or otherwise has been recorded as part of the public record for this process - even comments received prior to the initiation of the 30-day comment period. Staff noted that the public comment period will conclude on July 11 and the City Council must consider public comments received over the course of 10-business days before making a recommendation on a Draft Housing Element to submit to the State’s Housing and Community Development Department. Staff advised that during the 30-day public comment period, there is the item on the June 15 Agenda as well as a Planning Commission Hearing on June 23. Both meetings are intended for public comment only - by the Council, Commission and general public. On July 20, the Council will hold another public meeting to review public comments received. At that meeting, it is anticipated that staff may make some corrective recommendations to the Draft Element as well as the Council itself can make changes. One of the recommended changes that staff will recommend on July 20 will be removal of 290 Polhemus as a potential overlay zone candidate. Provided the Council does not make material additions to the housing strategies, the Council will hold another Special Meeting at the end of July to submit the draft element to the State. If there are material additions, the Town will have to further extend the delay in submittal through another 30-day public comment period and 10-business day review. 

Policy and Land Use strategies in the Housing Element to meet the State Mandate of 348 Housing Units at the 4 disparate income categories over the 8-year cycle are detailed in the Housing Element itself and include land use strategies that focus on Accessory Dwelling Unit production, SB 9 lot splits, development of vacant land, development of school and faculty housing at schools and Bear Gulch. In addition, the land use strategies include the use of strategic Overlay Zones for identified properties that allow for opportunity of higher density development but don’t require it or alter the underlying single-family zoning. These overlay zones would have higher and more defined land use controls than are provided under SB 9 and even the Town’s underlying single-family zoning, to the point of being similar to very restrictive design review addressing height, setbacks, parking and other aesthetics. Those development standards have yet to be developed.   

None of the housing strategies included in the Draft Housing Element are set in stone, they are all draft strategies designed as a plan to meet the State’s mandate that have been set out for public review and comment. Staff anticipates that review of the Housing Element will be an interactive process with the State before the Town eventually receives approval from the State of a compliant Housing Element. That process could take months or even a year or more to complete. Staff advised that it is important that the Town respond proactively and obtain a compliant Housing Element as jurisdictions face significant exposure to liability for non-compliant housing elements. Courts may impose fines of up to $100,000 per month; but worse, courts may also revoke a local government’s land use and planning authority relegating such control to the State without regard to local general plan guidance. Staff advised that jurisdictions in Southern California are about 15 months ahead of northern California in the State’s process for the 6th Housing Cycle so we will have some indication of the seriousness of the State with respect to imposing penalties and compliance measures. As of today, of the 124 jurisdictions in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, only 8 have been found in compliance and the remainder continue in the interactive HCD review and approval process. At this time, while there may be timing compliance measures imposed and other minor compliance requirements, to my knowledge there have not yet been monetary or land use penalties imposed. That said, this level of pressure and exhausting engagement by the State in the 6th Cycle process is, to use an unfortunate word, unprecedented. The California Attorney General has already called out communities that attempt to flaunt the mandates. 

Following the staff presentation the Council discussed issues related to the draft Housing Element including, but not limited to, the Town's process in selection of housing strategies, challenges faced by the Town, available sites, public engagement, other community experiences, accessory dwelling units, overlay zones, aggregation of property, school sites, faculty housing, emergency service worker housing, funding needs, and overall perspectives on the State's role and housing production. The Council also took public comment from the public. Members of the public addressed the Town's General Plan, specific property overlays, other housing opportunities, General Plan Land Use Committee, traffic, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, crime, and public engagement. 

Item No. 18, City Manager Performance Evaluation and Approval of Amended to City Manager Employment Agreement (~9:25 pm). Following a staff report and public comment, the City Attorney read the proposed amendments for the record. Following discussion, the Council approved the amendments as presented. 

Item No. 19, City Attorney Performance Evaluation and Approval of Amendment to Legal Services Agreement (~9:28 pm). Following a staff report and public comment, the City Manager read the proposed amendments for the record. Following discussion, the Council approved the amendments as presented. 

Having cleared the entire Agenda, at approximately 9:30 pm, that as they say - was a wrap!

The next meeting of the City Council will be a Study Session on July 6 at 4 pm. At this time there are no scheduled items for the meeting and the meeting may be cancelled. If cancelled, a Notice of Cancellation will be posted. 

GeorgeThanks for reading!
 George Rodericks
 City Manager
Town of Atherton

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Jun 05

Town Center Update - June 5, 2020

Posted to Town Center Project Activity Blog by grodericks grodericks

Atherton Town Center - Project Activity

Construction continues in earnest on both City Hall and the Library. Floors have been poured for the new City Hall - both 1st and 2nd floor. Work continues now on installation of the utility systems, roofing systems, and fire systems. On the Library, most of the work is dedicated to the new rammed earth walls. 

Live webcams for Library
and City Hall/PD Building are active on the Town's website. There is also a project progress photo gallery

Naming and Donation Opportunities

New_RoadConstruction funding for City Hall, Police Building and Site Improvements ($28.7 million) consists largely of donations and the Town's General Funds. To assist with cash flow during the project's construction timeline, the Town issued a Certificate of Participation (COP). COPs are a short-term funding tools for projects and are used mainly for large, multi-year infrastructure projects. The Town would like to retire this short-term debt sooner than it would be obligated to do so (10-years). To do so, additional donations toward the project would be required.  

Recently, the City Council mailed a Naming and Donation Opportunities letter to all Atherton residents - this is available online as well. The Council invites the community to become a part of Atherton's history by donating with a Naming Opportunity. The Council identified unique Naming Opportunities connected to the project - some of which have already been selected but there are plenty more opportunities! The City Council considers awards of naming opportunities at their regular meetings as donations are received. 

Donations will assist the Town in reducing or eliminating the need for a short-term COP to bridge the revenue flow gap during construction. The opportunities for naming have various ranges with the most significant being the ability to name a new road that will connect Fair Oaks Lane to Ashfield Road and run next to the new Town Center. 

It is very exciting to see this long-awaited new Town Center and Library come to life. The projected opening is Fall 2021, absent delay associated with COVID-19. For more details on naming opportunities and donations and how to enhance your current donation or become a part of history by making a new one, visit the donation website.

City Hall and Police Building

The image below is from today as interior utility work continues on the City Hall Building. The Building is taking clear shape.   
City Hall June 2020

On the right of the image is the single-story Council Chambers portion of the Building. The Council Chambers also serves as the Town's Emergency Operations Center and connects directly to the Police Building. The second floor of the Police Building is set back from the first floor and includes the break room, training room, locker rooms and offices. The lower floor of the Police Building includes the briefing room, interview rooms, and evidence storage. 

Along the left side of the image on the lower floor is the lobby area and on the second floor is the walkway across the lobby to Community Development (Building, Planning and Public Works Offices). Administration is on the lower floor on the left. 

In the near portion of the image, you can see vehicles in the temporary Police Parking Lot. This area will eventually become the Civic Court of the new facility. 
Below is a Site Plan for the full project. 


Historic Town Hall

Historic Town Hall InteriorMost of the interior work of the Historic Town Hall building is further down in the project timeline. There is currently no activity on the Historic Town Hall.

This building will ultimately become a part of the new Library connected via a deck and french doors that spill out from the side of the building onto the new deck. 

Library Building

The image below is from this week. Work this week focused on the forming of the new rammed earth walls for the Building.
Library Shotcrete  

Site Work

Site work continues for utilities and other required site improvements. 

Here's a view of the new entrance to City Hall coming in off of Fair Oaks Lane. Administration Offices are on the right. The first floor will be Town Administration and the Post Office. The second floor is the Building, Planning, and Public Works Departments. The bottom and top floors on the left are the Police Department. Secure Parking Lot entry is off to the left of the main building. 

The Look Ahead

Work Areas for the Week of June 8
  • Installation of Fire Service and Water Lines
  • Installation of Power and Communication Conduits
  • Exterior Wall Layout/Deflection Clips
  • Install Steel at Mechanical Platforms
  • Installation of Utility Ductwork 
  • Installation of Overhead Plumbing and Piping
  • Rough-in Fire Protection
  • Install Stair 2-3
  • Place Forms and Shotcrete for Rammed Earth Walls
Work Areas for the Week of June 15
  • Exterior Wall Layouts
  • Installation of Utilities, Plumbing and Piping
  • Form Interior Curbs
  • Frame Coordinated Walls
  • Install Door Frames (Ancillary Building)
  • Place Forms and Shotcrete for Rammed Earth Walls

Project Financials

 Payment Request Period Town Share Library Share Total
Payment Request #1 June 2019 $983,533 $538,622 $1,522,155
Payment Request #2 July 2019 $540,673 $587,037 $1,127,711
Payment Request #3 August 2019 $605,478 $972,754 $1,578,232
Payment Request #4 September 2019 $997,235 $638,317 $1,635,551
Payment Request #5 October 2019 $969,456 $252,633 $1,222,089
Payment Request #6 November 2019 $1,318,002 $341,692 $1,659,694
Payment Request #7 December 2019 $1,346,738 $555,978 $1,902,716
Payment Request #8
January 2020
$1,289,498 $480,925 $1,770,423
Payment Request #9 February 2020 $1,042,792  $342,867 $1,385,659
Payment Request #10 March 2020 $1,242,721 $440,645 $1,683,366
Payment Request #11
April 2020
$309,292  $248,412 $557,694
Payment Request #12
May 2020
$1,391,401  $713,524 $2,104,924
Totals   $12,036,809 $6,113,406 $18,150,215
Initial Project Bid   $28,701,034 $18,375,966 $47,077,000
Net Change Orders   $41,168 $73,803 $114,971
Updated Project Cost   $28,742,202 $18,449,769 $47,191,971
% Complete based on $   42% 33% 38%
Target Based on 25-Month Schedule   48%

At 38% completion, approved change orders for the project are at 0.24% - $114,971 of $47.1 million. 

George Rodericks
City Manager