Tuesday, January 19, 2021

1.19.21 Meeting Summary

At tonight's meeting there was one significant item on the agenda and that was what actions to take regarding pedestrian and traffic safety at Kelok Way.  There were a number of items discussed as I wrote about last week.  In addition, Police Chief Warren also mentioned two additional suggestions to consider including a Mosquito unit which acts a sonic repellant broadcasting a high pitched noise at a frequency only younger folks could hear.  The other item was a motion activated light that would illuminate the area if movement was detected.

One thing that did appear to be having an impact is making the entire area red zone no parking.  As a result of this, police have been able to issue 40+ citations the month or so since the curb was painted.  Police have to prioritize their activity so they aren't able to respond to calls right away all the time.  Hopefully over time making the area no parking will have the effect of reducing traffic to the end of Kelok Way. 

There was an ad hoc Public Safety Subcommittee meeting held to discuss this matter as well, but that was a few months ago and it appeared that not all interested parties were able to participate.  As such, the Council sent the matter back to the Public Safety Subcommittee to discuss with residents further and report back on recommendations.  When that is scheduled it will be communicated out so that all who are interested in participating will be able to do so.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Upcoming Council Meeting 1.19.21

 There is one significant item on the agenda the next meeting and that is to discuss traffic and pedestrian safety around Kelok Way.  Recently there was a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident and there have long been concerns from residents in the area regarding vehicle speeds and inappropriate conduct at the top of Kelok Way that impact quality of life and overall safety.

The staff report discusses 11potential items for discussion:
  1. A fence to lower the the draw to the area as a view spot
  2. Continue with the red painted curb to dissuade parking at the location in question
  3. Install physical barricades to prevent vehicles from gathering in the location in question
  4. Install speed bumps along Keller Ridge and Kelok Way to discourage excessive speed
  5. Install speed limit radar feedback signs
  6. Install flashing stop signs where stop signs already exist
  7. A permit parking program on Kelok Way
  8. A gate on Keller Ridge Dr to restrict access
  9. An ordinance prohibiting loitering
  10. Radar speed cameras similar to red light cameras to issue citations
  11. Surveillance and/or license plate readers
Staff was neutral on items 1-6, and would not recommend options 7-11.  Each may be discussed at the next council meeting.

If you have questions or thoughts on any of the above, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

1.5.21 Meeting Summary

Last night there were two significant actions taken.  The first was whether to send a letter I had drafted regarding RHNA overestimation.  Based on evidence documented by the Embarcadero Group and Freddie Mac, it appears that there were significant deficiencies in the methodology used to determine the housing allocation figures across the state.  The result is that the allocation to the Bay Area is likely significantly greater than is supportable.  This letter is to express concern regarding the housing figure, and to ask that HCD reconsider the number of housing units allocated in light of the new evidence.

This is part of a larger effort by many local cities and regional bodies who are taking similar action.  The hope is to contribute to that effort and lend our support as a city.

After discussion, there were some minor wordsmithing updates made and a change to specifically direct the letter to HCD, while copying other agencies including ABAG and the Contra Costa County Mayors' Conference.  We unanimously agreed to send this letter.

The second item we took action on what Councilmember Cloven's request to get more information on new housing legislation.  Staff offered two possible courses of action - Either staff could spend time assembling information, or we could engage an outside consultant to provide such services.  Councilmember Cloven clarified his request with more specificity and asked to table the matter based on the refined request.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Upcoming Council Meeting 1.5.21

The agenda for the next meeting in January is being published a bit early due to the upcoming holidays.  There are two significant items on the agenda for the next Council meeting on 1.5.21:

  • A request I made previously to discuss sending a letter regarding RHNA overestimation.  It is obvious that there are flaws in the RHNA allocation in the latest cycle and this letter will express the City's position on the methodology employed.  This will be a part of a larger effort being pushed by groups of local elected officials in an effort to reexamine the RHNA figures that were handed down by California HCD and ABAG.
  • Consider hiring consultant to educate staff and Council on new housing related legislation.

If you have  thoughts or questions on any of these items please let me know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

12.15.20 Meeting Summary

Tonight the Council took action on several items:
  • We were going to consider executing a consulting contract with Climatec to assess areas throughout the city where there may be opportunity for various energy conservation improvements.  Our intent was to piggyback off of the contract negotiations being conducted by the City of Concord.  By doing this, we leverage the legwork done by our neighboring city while engaging with vendors to do similar work at the same rates.  The City of Concord had some delays in their contract negotiation so we tabled this matter until such time that Concord finalizes their agreement with Climatec.
  • We agreed to submit a grant application for $250K to go towards park infrastructure.
  • We gave direction to staff to submit plans under a different park grant previously approved to replace certain playground equipment and play surfaces at the Community Park that is in need of infrastructure improvements.
  • We awarded a consulting agreement to MIG to facilitate community engagement in regard to the open city owned downtown lot.  The firm will be doing a multi channel approach to community engagement in order to form a recommendation on what should be done with the space.
  • We approved the 2021 Council Committee assignments chosen by the Mayor.  I raised a concern that the committee assignments should be made up of Councilmembers, and only in the event that there is no Councilmember willing or able to serve on a given committee should the selection then be advanced to the public.  These committees are ways that elected representatives who are accountable to the people engage in external functions representing the city.  Mayor Wolfe disagreed and proceeded with his selection of former Councilmember Haydon.  The vote was 4-1 with myself voting no.

Public comment was lively at tonight's meeting. Several people commented about the mayoral selection at the previous meeting. Councilmember Diaz read into the record nearly 30 letters from residents who requested it. Their comments reflected substantial dissatisfaction with the  mayoral selection from the prior Council meeting.

In my Council report, I made the following statement:

There has been quite a bit of discussion recently about the mayoral vote that occurred at the last meeting. I want to thank the people who have called and written to show their support for myself, and a respect for the process that the Council has adhered to over the last several decades. Apparently this view was not held by a majority on this Council. In explaining his decision, Mr. Cloven stated that he would not reward any person who supported the campaign of his opponents.

Well, I supported Frank Gavidia. His views and my own aligned on many issues that impact the people of Clayton. Frank fell short of earning a place on this Council. Even still, I applaud his willingness to step up and try to represent those who were concerned about the direction this Council has been going in recent years. And because I supported Frank, Mr. Cloven would not support me, and in turn, all the other nearly three thousand people that supported Frank.

Even though members of this Council have stated they want to heal the divide in this community, I suspect these actions will serve to only galvanize this divide and that is unfortunate.

There has been rumblings about re-doing the mayoral selection. While I appreciate the support, I think it best for this community that we move past this. My fellow Councilmembers have made their choice, and notwithstanding the abandonment of protocol, Mr. Wolfe is serving as our Mayor. Regardless, I will continue to do what I have done since joining this Council in representing the interests of our community, seeking and welcoming input from everyone, and clearly communicating the actions of our city.

I also requested two items be added to future agendas:
  1. To discuss changing our municipal code to require any residential development greater than 10 units to require architectural drawings and renderings at multiple street level angles from various distances, and aerial renderings within context of the surrounding area.

  2. To discuss changing the order of the agenda such that public comment be taken earlier before the consent calendar in order to make engaging in discussion by the public more accessible.  Currently public comment comes after the consent calendar and council reports and recognitions.  Often times these can take an hour or more, and often occur at irregular intervals and people interested in making comments may get discouraged having to wait before they are invited to speak.

Friday, December 11, 2020

RHNA Double Counting and Overestimation of California's Future Housing Needs

At the 12.1.20 Council meeting, I made two requests for future items.  The first was to send a letter calling out the errors of the latest RHNA statewide allocation.  The second was to consider reducing the zoning density around downtown.  Both were not included in the next meeting agenda on 12.15.20 but I thought it important to elaborate on why I think these are important matters that should be considered.

California HCD determines the number of housing units that will need to be planned for in future years, and distributes these to regional bodies throughout the state.  The regional body that is responsible for allocating these units to cities in the Bay Area is the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).   Normally, after the units are divvied up by ABAG to the local cities, there is an appeal process.  The appeal process however does not address the fundamental problems with the latest allocation.  This is because upon appeal, ABAG can shift units from one municipality to another, but the total number of units region wide would be unchanged.

Based on the latest information however, it appears that the total number was arrived at based on faulty methodology.  Below is the letter that I drafted:

In southern California, they are slightly ahead of us so many of their local governments have already raised this complaint.  Here is a letter signed by 32 cities in Orange County raising the same concerns.  It is time for us as northern California cities to join their efforts in raising these concerns in hopes that the total housing figure could be reexamined.  I hope to get support from the Council to send this on behalf of the city.

The letter references certain attachments.  Report on double countingFreddie Mac report on total CA housing need.

Reducing Zoning Density Around Downtown

At the 12.1.20 Council meeting, I made two requests for future items.  The first was to send a letter calling out the errors of the latest RHNA statewide allocation.  The second was to consider reducing the zoning density around downtown.  Both were not included in the next meeting agenda on 12.15.20 but I thought it important to elaborate on why I think these are important matters that should be considered.

Given community interest in reducing traffic, preserving neighborhood character, and reducing environmental impacts, it's important to note that the zoning that underlies the Olivia project is the same in nearby properties.  I suggested that we as a Council look at these properties and consider whether the zoning is consistent with what our community expects.

Here is what I was considering in making my request to discuss this item:

As we can see, under the current zoning, nearby parcels to the Olivia could be developed to approximately 69 additional units.  I am requesting that we as a Council consider this and whether this is consistent with what our community wants.  State law requires that any reduction of density be done contemporaneously with an increase in units zoned elsewhere such that there is no net loss in overall housing units.  We would need to answer the first question - is this something we want to pursue - then we'd get to the second one of where we'd shift the units.

It's important that this be discussed soon because if a developer were to submit a complete application for these properties, the zoning at the time of applying is locked in even if it is changed at a future date.  Delays in considering this request could result in the option to reduce zoning density being taken away.