Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Upcoming Council Meeting 12.3.19

There are a couple significant items on the agenda for the next meeting:

  • Informational item regarding a 2.7% rate increase (90% of Consumer Price Index [CPI] increase of 3%) from Republic Services for trash and recycling services.  This is consistent with the city's agreement with Republic Services.
  • Annual reorganization of the Council.  We will conduct an election among the Council to choose a new Mayor and Vice Mayor.

If you have any thoughts or questions about any of these items please comment or contact me and I'll do my best to respond or find out more and report back.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

11.19.19 Meeting Summary

Two significant items were discussed at tonight's meeting:
  1. On the consent calendar, the second reading of an ordinance legalizing the keeping of hens.  There are some guidelines that need to be followed, but 30 days after tonight the ordinance will be in effect and chickens will be allowed in Clayton.
  2. We also discussed updating the Town Center Specific Plan.  This was added to the city's goals earlier this year and I continue to think it's an important task to ensure that the plan aligns with the goals of the community.  Right now, the plan that was drafted in 1990 still reflects zoning and plans that are likely at odds with what the majority of the community would desire.

    The proper way to address these changing priorities is to amend the plan - starting with a process of community outreach.  The process will likely cost a significant amount of money and we will be working to prioritize this along with other goals of the city at the next goal setting session.  This will take place after the new city manager comes on board, and shortly after the new year.

    The full council agreed that this should remain a one of our goals.  We will need to establish scope, process, and ultimately allocate the resources to make this happen.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Upcoming Council Meeting 11.19.19

A few significant items are on the agenda for the next meeting:
  • 2nd reading of ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens (hens) with some limitations.  Given this is the second reading and the first was passed unanimously, this is being placed on the consent calendar.
  • Consideration of establishment of ad-hoc committee to work on updating Town Center Specific Plan.  This would consist of approving RFPs to go out to various vendors.  Revisiting the Town Center Specific Plan for potential updates was one of the Council goals for 2019.  While an RFP does not result in any cash outlays, if we were to move forward on any actual updates there would likely be a significant cost.
To clarify a bit on the second item, the Town Center Specific Plan is a specific plan that covers primarily the downtown area. A specific plan has many elements, including land use, design, municipal services, etc. The most current plan was developed in 1990, and amended several times since then to address various items. Here's a link to the previous document: 

Because updates to the plan happen so infrequently and there are a great many laws that govern what can and cannot be included in a plan like this, the city is not staffed to handle this type of work with existing resources. As a result, if the City wishes to update this plan, it will likely have to engage in outside consultants who have professional expertise in this area. 

To engage outside vendors for a project of this nature, we would send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) which gives guidelines and asks respondents to propose services to the city.   Upon reviewing the responses, the level of services offered and an approximate price, the city may make a decision on whether or not to engage those services. 

It would be a long process and involve significant staff time and public input and discussion. Doing something like this could be the first step in collectively deciding what the vision for our downtown will be. I was glad to be a voice advocating for this to be included as one of the Council goals this year.

If you have any thoughts or questions about any of these items please comment or contact me and I'll do my best to respond or find out more and report back.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First Land Use Sub Committee Meeting - Accessory Dwelling Units

I'm a bit late in my summary of a meeting held late last month.  I mentioned this in my Council report at last night's meeting, but wanted to write a bit more on it.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) were the topic of the first Land Use Sub Committee meeting that was held on October 29.  The Sub Committee was formed at the 8.20.19 meeting for the purpose of providing feedback to staff in a less formal environment to assist in drafting policy and to give feedback to developers interested in projects within the city.  Myself and Mayor Catalano serve on the sub committee along with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Planning Commission.

Here is what we learned:

In 2019, AB 881, SB 13, and AB 68 were passed.  These three laws significantly change the ADU environment:
  • AB 881 prohibits minimum lot size for ADUs, makes maximum side and rear setback requirements four feet, and limits reasons for restricting ADUs to only adequacy of water and sewer services and traffic flow.  It also voids any parking requirement for ADUs if located within 1/2 mile of public transit like a bus stop.
  • SB 13 prohibits any maximum size on ADUs less than 850 sqft, or 1,000 sqft if the ADU has more than one bedroom.  No limits are allowed based on lot coverage, floor are ratio, open space, etc. if they would prohibit at least an 800 sqft ADU that is at least 16 feet tall with 4 feet setbacks.  This bill also allows for 5 year delay of fixing code violations as long as the violation is not jeopardizing health and safety.
  • AB 68 allows any place that has one ADU, to have a second junior ADU.  This means that every property in CA can now have up to three individual residential units placed upon them, even if they are zoned for single family use.
Together, these bills make it much easier for people to build ADUs.  Because ADUs would be authorized in all single family zoning, the effect of these bills is to eliminate single family zoning in all of California.  People would be able to build at least two ADUs per lot, as close as 4 feet from the fence line, with a 16 foot tall structure - everywhere.

The city has very limited options in any type of restrictions that apply to ADUs.  Clayton could adopt a local ADU ordinance regarding the architectural, landscaping, zoning, and development standards of ADUs.  These standards would need to be objective in nature and are subject to review by HCD.

This is another step in the tearing down of local control that folks like State Senator Scott Weiner and State Assemblyman David Chiu continue to push.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

11.5.19 Meeting Summary

Tonight there were a few significant items discussed:

  • The Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance to allow the keeping of chickens within the City of Clayton.  This applies to hens only - no roosters.  There are various limitations, like a maximum number based on lot size up to a total of 10, and restrictions on the placement of coops, and the height of coops.  This was the first reading of the ordinance so after approval of the 2nd reading and the requisite amount of time, chickens will be permissible to keep in Clayton.
  • The Council also approved a proclamation declaring November 17 through November 23 as United Against Hate Week.  This is in conjunction with other municipalities in the Bay Area as a step towards bridging divisions, building inclusivity, and strengthening our community.
  • The Council also approved an employment agreement to fill the position of City Manager.  Ikani Taumoepeau will join the City of Clayton as its next City Manager beginning December 9.  The process for selecting candidates, interviewing, and ultimately selecting Mr. Taumoepeau was conducted in closed session as appropriate.  It was a rigorous process with spirited discussion from the entire Council.  I think we made the right choice and am excited to have Mr. Taumoepeau join the City of Clayton.