Wednesday, May 8, 2019

5.7.19 Meeting Summary

Last night there were actually three significant items discussed, not the two that I had previously indicated.  The discussion around small cell wireless units was more involved than I had previously thought.

  • The Council approved an urgency ordinance (takes effect immediately) adopting local design regulations and standards for small cell wireless equipment in the public right of ways.  These devices would support new wireless 5G broadband networks.  This technology would be a great benefit to the residents of Clayton and we are trying to balance the desire to have this available with general health and safety, and aesthetic concerns.
  • The Council took comments, questions, and suggestions regarding traffic and pedestrian safety around our schools.  Overall there were a lot of ideas and we asked Staff to look at each and return with information about cost, feasibility, and viability of each.  Staff will also look into ways they may find to assist with overall safety.  We'll continue to have this discussion at future meetings as I'm sure there are things that are easier than others.
  • The Council reviewed the draft letter that I had prepared regarding the CASA Compact.  Overall the draft was received favorably.  There were some slight modifications suggested, the largest of which was to omit the attachment that undertook a detailed assessment of each of the 10 CASA elements.  Because legislation is fast moving, it did not seem productive to hash out our differences over specific items within the attachment.  Overall the general principles as described in the letter were agreeable to all and that will move forward.

Opening day of he Farmer's Market in downtown Clayton is scheduled this Saturday, May 11th from 9am - 1pm.

More detailed thoughts below:

Small Cell Wireless
I think 5G technology will be a great benefit to our residents so I want to balance any regulation we impose against the desire to see the technology move forward.  When I first reviewed the proposal I had thought it too strict, and I didn't want to run afoul of rules to that effect.  However there are provisions included in our ordinance that allow for waiver of any provision should it be determined they conflict with applicable law so that assuaged my concern that the city could be at risk.  As a result, I was in favor of adopting the urgency ordinance so that we would have some standards established should we receive an application for these utility devices.

We simultaneously adopted a regular ordinance that requires a second reading.  At that time, I expect a more robust discussion with greater detail around sizing, locations, and other detailed questions that we didn't get to at this meeting.

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety:
I really appreciated everyone coming out and sharing their experiences.  Those comments help ground the discussion in what is my top priority - public safety.  There were a lot of ideas shared and ultimately we asked the City Engineer and Traffic Engineer to look at them and report back to the Council.  Some of the areas of focus included:
  • The marginal cost of additional crossing guards and potential locations
  • The cost of an additional "no pedestrian crossing" barrier to replace the one that is missing at the Four Oaks and Mitchell Canyon intersection
  • Painting the intersection to make the prohibition on crossing more visible
  • Restricting west bound turns onto Four Oaks similar to how currently east bound turns are restricted
  • Sidewalks around the elementary school in frequent transit paths where currently there are no sidewalks
  • Some kind of traffic calming immediately north of the stop sign for south bound Mitchell Canyon Traffic at Pine Hollow
  • Logistics of restricting traffic flow onto Pine Hollow as a commuter route
  • Making the intersection in front of Diablo View Middle (Clayton Rd. and Marsh Creek Rd.) an "all ways" pedestrian crossing intersection, including adding signage for no right turns on red facing all directions, painting the diagonal cross walks, etc.
  • Adding some kind of visible indicator of the traffic light at that same intersection in front of the middle school when traveling east bound
  • The general cost of adding pedestrian beacons at various crosswalks
  • Increasing police presence at peak times in certain areas.
Ultimately the goal of this was to seek larger input to determine if there are options available that we haven't considered or should reconsider.  These are just some of the ideas that were proffered and we also asked staff to make their own assessment.  I look forward to hearing back after Staff has done their diligence so we can discuss what is the best way to ensure the overall safety of our residents.

CASA Compact Letter:
I prepared a drafted a letter in response to the CASA Compact and it was included in the agenda packet.  The draft reflected the sentiment expressed by each of us at the last meeting – voicing concerns over a loss of local control, the one size fits all approach, and the lack of attention to infrastructure like transportation, education, and city services that goes hand in hand with housing. 

I also drafted principles of a preferred approach when crafting housing legislation – that approaches should be made holistically considering housing, jobs, transportation, and infrastructure together.  That local control is critical and that legislation should differentiate between what may work in some cities and not others due to local context.  I also included comments about avoiding net losses of local funding, as well as cautioning against actions that would crowd out a city’s capacity to utilize local tools to fund services and infrastructure.

There was also an attachment that detailed specific discussion about each of the 10 elements of the CASA compact.  Of course there have been changes to the legislation packages as they move through the various machinations – like SB4 being combined with SB50, or the site identifying parts of Clayton as a High Opportunity Area – but that emphasizes the importance of focusing on general principles rather than detailed specifics that could be mooted at the next legislative revision.  As such, the Council was hesitant to include the attachment that detailed specific objections to the ten CASA Compact elements.  

Because I think time is of the essence and the sooner we are able to take a position the more impact it will have, I thought it was fine to omit the attachment and focus on the overall principles as described in the body of the letter.  I will make the minor suggested edits and the letter will be sent on behalf of the City.