Wednesday, September 21, 2022

9.20.22 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council discussed several significant items:

- On the consent calendar was a resolution to update traffic patterns during school pickup and drop off hours near Mt. Diablo Elementary on Four Oaks Ln.  There has been issues with vehicles making U-Turns on this street causing unsafe conditions during school pickup and drop off times.  As a result, the city will be restricting U-Turns on that street at certain times.  We also were aware of the confusing nature of the signs and will be updating them for clarity and conformity.

- We formed a new Community Facilities District (CFD) in order to facilitate the HOA creation and fee collection for certain city services at the new Diablo Meadows development at the southern end of Mitchell Canyon Rd.  The rules require a vote of the landowners for this type of action, but as the developer is the only landowner of those parcels, the vote was unanimous.  

In addition to the creation of that CFD, the action taken by the Council also created a future annexation overlay for almost the whole city.  This was done to facilitate potential future developments entry into the CFD and allow them to piggyback off the process we just undertook.  Creating a CFD is a complex, prescribed process that takes several separate meetings and creating this additional overlay could make less administratively burdensome for future developments to pay for city services.  I was concerned this could make it easier to levy taxes, however after in depth questioning all the safeguards in place including the voter approval threshold would still be in place should any property outside of the Diablo Meadows development wished to participate in the CFD.

This development is scheduled to start selling within the next few weeks.

- We approved the placement of plaques in memory of Braden Fahey at the Grove Park and the Clayton Community Park.

- We discussed the preliminary design concept for the Complete Streets Feasibility Study on Pine Hollow Rd as a joint project with the City of Concord.  The initial draft called for improved sidewalk access and connectivity in several areas, two way bike lanes in certain areas, raised crosswalks and better lighting, overall improved signage and crossing areas, and certain curbs to be extended called "bulbouts" which reduce the distance that pedestrians need to cross and narrow the passing of turning vehicles to reduce speeds.

The city approved the feasibility study to move forward.  From there, more detailed work to flesh out specific design and overall cost, as well as potential funding sources, will be presented as a deliverable of the feasibility study.

- We discussed what feedback to provide to Councilmember Cloven as the city's representative to TRANSPAC related to the designation of Marsh Creek and Clayton Road as Routs of Regional Significance.  The benefit of such a designation would be notification and communication regarding projects in other areas of the county that could impact traffic or related issues in Clayton.  Cloven and Wolfe used the familiar refrain that they wanted to have a seat at the table rather than be on the menu.

Upon questioning however, it was clear from the permissive and conditional language used by representatives from CCTA and TRANSPAC, that any such discussion that may be had as a result of the Route of Regional Significance was simply that - discussion.  Nothing required other agencies or jurisdictions to take action based on the desire of the City of Clayton.  In fact, since all of these bodies and jurisdictions are subject to the Brown Act and aren't conducting their business in secret, the benefit of being part of the discussion can be had with or without accepting this designation.

I questioned whether any funding is jeopardized by not accepting the designation and there was no potential loss of funds or access to funds described.  Even if future funding was conditioned upon such a designation, the City could take up the discussion anew when more information was available.

My concern was that such a designation and the publicization of such a designation could lead to increased traffic through Clayton to and from East County.  Even things like publicizing a hiking trail on a website lead to areas within Clayton being inundated with traffic and congestion beyond what was reasonable. In addition, while the proposed designation doesn't require any specific action right now, we've seen how certain designations can be incorporated into other laws like "opportunity areas" that were defined and then incorporated into housing laws taking away local control.  This was also included in the staff report:

Because there was no tangible benefit, and only potential negative outcomes, I conveyed my opposition to designating Clayton Rd. and Marsh Creek Rd a Route of Regional Significance.  There was clear disagreement with the regular majority on the Council and Cloven as the representative to TRANSPAC is able to speak on behalf of the City as he sees fit.

- We were set to discuss a letter of support for the CEMEX Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment, however a representative from CEMEX was unable to attend and asked that the matter be tabled so this items was closed without any action taken.

In addition to the above items, I requested future discussion regarding two items:

- I received a message from a concerned citizen regarding a family member that resides in Diamond Terrace.  The allegation was that the facility was adjusting fees in a way that may be contrary to the requirement for low income housing that the city monitors.  I requested a future agenda item to discuss what information was available and what potential action the City could take on behalf of the residents.

- I requested a future discussion item about the quality of recent pavement work, how the work scoped, performed, and accepted given the concerns of many residents.

ETA: I removed mention of Tillman in making the comment about "having a seat at the table".  While the majority clearly felt differently than I, it was only the two that made that specific comment.