The Weekly Roundup
June 8, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
Measure L Results: Rezoning of Deer Hill to be Discussed at June 11 Council Meeting
We truly appreciate the voters’ participation and engagement in the Measure L ballot measure. We recognize the commitment made by both sides in this matter. While many viewpoints emerged during the run-up to the election, one thing is clear: The future of our city is important to all of us.
Through an inclusive democratic process, the residents of Lafayette made their decision concerning Measure L. While some ballots are still being counted, the results of the election will likely not change and No on L will prevail. As a result, the zoning designation for the property remains APO (Administrative and Professional Offices). The City Council will discuss at the June 11 meeting how to rezone the property to a designation consistent with the General Plan, which allows up to two dwelling units per acre. You may find a copy of the staff report here.
So long as it is consistent with the General Plan Land Use designation, the City Council may choose from one of several eligible zoning districts that may be appropriate for the parcel. The densities of these various options range from two-houses-per-acre to one-house-per-ten-acres. The Council, however, will not adopt a new zoning designation for the property until after the election is certified by the County, which we expect will occur in early July. Any questions concerning the developer’s future plans should be directed to him. The City will process any compliant application concerning the property. In reviewing any such applications, the City will encourage public input prior to making a decision.
Public discussion regarding how you think the parcel should be rezoned is encouraged at this and subsequent meetings. You may attend Council meetings or make your comments on Lafayette Listens here. The City would like to again thank our voters for engaging in a lively, open process that, once more, demonstrates how important democracy and open government are in guiding future development in the City of Lafayette.
City’s Annual Proposed Budget on the Agenda for Monday
At Monday night’s Lafayette City Council meeting, the Council Members will review the City’s proposed Annual Budget for FY 2018-19. (See meeting details below.)
The Proposed Budget projects a General Fund reserve of $10.1M (64%), which is $691K over the 60% target set by the City. The Budget is balanced with a $22K surplus. It includes General Fund expenditures and transfers of $16.5M including $1.65M for the 2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
Budget policy issues for consideration include:
- The City’s Stormwater Pollution Fund has used up all of its reserve and will be $150K in the red by the end of FY18/19.
- The Core Area Maintenance District continues to be in deficit, with the City now covering $246K of total downtown maintenance expenses.
- The purchase option for the Police Station will likely trigger sometime – no one knows when – during the next decade, and will require funding of $1.7M.
- Given the lessons learned from the devastating fires in N. California last year, staff suggests the Council consider increasing the reserve standard from 60% to 100% over the next 5 years.
Other changes in the Proposed Budget:
- Communications expenses are now in a separate General Fund program (11-545).
- $236K in savings from the Police Offices construction budget was used to fund a new sinking fund (11-343.7) for future capital maintenance on the building.
- The restriction of an additional $105K to accelerate sinking fund allocations for the Community Center roof replacement project expected to occur in 5-7 years with a total cost of $500K.
You can review the City’s Annual Proposed Budget here. There is also an interactive Open Government tool here where you can explore the budget in detail. If you would like to make comments about the FY 2018-19 budget and cannot attend Monday’s Council meeting, please make your comments here by noon, Monday, June 11, and we will provide them to the Council Members.
Park Improvements in the City Budget
Speaking of the Proposed Budget, Fund 12, or the Park Facilities Fees section of the Budget, represents money that can only be spent on park and recreation facilities. This fund is supported by impact fees that are collected when there is new development in town. Pending receipt of revenue from fees associated with several large developments such as Lennar and Woodbury 2, the budget includes an ambitious improvement plan that includes: new playground equipment for Brook Street, the Community Center Tot Lot and Leigh Creekside ($630,000), updated Community Center bathrooms ($450,000), ($150,000) as well as improvements to assorted trails ($100,000). These allocations represent recommendations by the Parks & Recreation Commission but individual projects will require additional Council approval before any funds are spent. The only Fund 12 money that staff is requesting final approval for is an additional $16,500 to complete the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Leigh Creekside Park Amended Master Plan Project that will include a Biological Resource Assessment (BRA). You can find the staff report on this here and for more information about the Leigh Creekside Park Amended Master Plan, click here.
Meet Emily Carroll, Planning Technician
Emily has been a part of the Planning Department team for two years. Emily started as an intern and now serves in the Planning Technician role. As a Planning Technician, Emily assists the public with planning and land use-related questions and reviews development applications. Emily has a B.A. in History from Smith College, where she also minored in Landscape Studies. Emily enjoys serving the public and acting as the Environmental Task Force staff liaison.
Join the SUMMER FUN at the Lafayette Community Center
Looking for some awesome activities for summer? Look no further! The Lafayette Community Center (LCC) has a wide range of activities for kids ages 3 1/2 to 11. For the younger kids, our Tiny Tots program has 5 weeks of themed weeks including cooking, under the sea and bugs. Camp Awesome is running through the WHOLE summer. Each day is filled with awesome activities which include Legos, watching the summer show, playing at the Community Park, tie-dye and a carnival-themed day. Kids ages 4-11 can come join in any day from 9am-2pm ($40) and/or 2-5pm ($25). Is your child into Legos? We are offering Lego camps with themed weeks from Super Heroes, to Pokémon and everything in between. Are sports your jam? The LCC is hosting soccer camp, cheerleading camp, flag football and more. Does your child love art or dance? Then they would enjoy the Critters and Clay Camp, Unicorn Camp, and Gymnastics camp. Let the Lafayette Community Center help you and your kids have an Awesome Summer! To register, go to www.lovelafayette.org/rec, or call the LCC at (925)284-2232.
Orange Vest (Mini) Report
In addition to other on-going projects, the City has been working on some pathway paving along Reliez Station Road this week (see attached pictures). The pathway paving will continue next week and we will also perform some large patch paving on southbound Pleasant Hill Road between Rancho View Drive and Deer Hill Road starting on Monday.
AB 2923, a Transit-Oriented Development Bill, Would Give BART Land Use and Zoning Controls Within One-Half Mile of the Lafayette BART Station
Assembly Bill 2923, sponsored by Assembly Members David Chiu and Timothy Grayson, will remove a city’s zoning and land use authority on BART-owned land within ½ mile of a transit station and hand it over to the BART Board. The bill, which will affect Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, requires BART to adopt transit-oriented development (TOD) standards that establish minimum development regulations for the land that it currently owns, or may own in the future. You can read AB 2923 here. Although this is a statewide bill, it only affects three Bay Area counties. Cities in these counties would have their local zoning authority abolished on BART-owned land within a 1/2 mile buffer zone around station entrances wherein BART could develop projects under its own standards for density and height. You can see a parcel map of Lafayette with BART's proposed 1/2 mile radius here.
BART currently owns the commuter parking lots on the north side of Highway 24 in Lafayette. BART’s current TOD standards for the Lafayette station are a minimum height of five stories and a minimum density of 75 housing units per acre. You can read BART’s full TOD guidelines here. The current zoning for the BART-owned parcels in Lafayette is R-10, which permits single-family homes on ¼ acre lots. In the downtown located south of the freeway, Lafayette allows multifamily housing at a maximum density of 35 housing units an acre and a maximum height of three stories. The City Council has sent a letter to Sacramento objecting to the loss of local control over land use. You can read that letter here. The City of Lafayette would like to hear your views on Assembly Bill 2923. Should BART decide local land use and development issues or should these decisions be made by city governments through their local zoning pocesses? Please provide your opinion on this important matter here.
The bill has already been approved by the State Assembly and will next be considered by the State Senate. If you would like to make your views known to the co-authors and Lafayette’s representatives in the Legislature, Assembly Member Baker and Senator Glazer, you can email them at the following addresses:
- Assembly Member David Chiu: Email him here.
- Assembly Member Timothy Grayson: Email him here.
- Senator Steven Glazer: Email him here.
- Assembly Member Catharine Baker: Email her here.
It Sure Was a Night to Remember at the Library!
A Night at the Library crowd of 300 kicked off the summer on June 2, at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center’s annual fundraiser. Foundation Board Member Carrie Barlow and community volunteer Carey Starn co-chaired the event committee. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, guests enjoyed food and drinks from The Wine Thieves, Barranco, Postino, Metro, American Kitchen, Fraiche Catering, Amphora, Morgan Territory Brewing, and others. The evening concluded on the Library patio with stargazing, dancing, a whiskey bar, and desserts. Night at the Library proceeds will provide for improvements to the children’s area, allowing the Library to meet the changing needs of the thousands of children who visit the library each year. To learn about Library programs sign up for the Library weekly newsletter here.
It’s the Lamorinda Spirit Van: We Need Your Help
Did you ride the Lamorinda Spirit Van at any of these community events?
- Lafayette Art and Wine Festival in September 2017
- Lafayette Little League Opening Sunday game on March 4, 2018
- Lafayette Artful Garden Tour on May 12, 2018, in Orinda
If so, and you are age 60+, please call us at 925-283-3534. Why? The Lamorinda Spirit Van is funded by several grants and is required to document rides delivered to seniors. Since every ride counts when it comes to renewing grant funding, please reach out to us to provide some quick information. For more information, email Mary Bruns, Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CoCoCo Clerk-Recorder Now Offers “Records Within Reach”
Contra Costa County residents will now be able to purchase certified copies of vital records including birth, death and marriage certificates at locations throughout the county. The “Records Within Reach” program debuted today at Pittsburg’s Buchanan Park. The Clerk-Recorder Office plans to offer services in different geographic regions of the county on a quarterly basis. Residents should note that they will have to pay for documents at the off-site locations by cash or check. For more information about the program and future off-site service locations, go here.
Topic of the Week: PG&E Concerns
During the past few years and months, a number of issues related to PG&E and its provision of service in Lafayette have arisen as topics of robust public conversation and concern including:
- PG&E’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative (CPSI), in which the utility proposes to remove and replace at least 113 trees along public trails and city streets located in Lafayette that the utility claims pose a safety concern;
- PG&E’s unexpected and sudden replacement of 6,000 linear feet of gas pipeline on St. Mary’s Road during Summer 2018, which work will have notable traffic and congestion impacts and also necessitate the removal of certain trees and vegetation; the city was first notified of this project only on March 29;
- PG&E safety concerns, including but not limited to the need for automatic shut off valves; exposed segments of gas pipeline that should be repaired; PG&E expenditure priorities; and PG&E’s representation of facts related to pipeline integrity testing; and
- New State rule changes related to tree limb trimming that will require more aggressive tree trims this summer and in the future, and which work may be conflated with the other issues listed above.
Members of the local public have recently attended meetings of the Lafayette City Council, voiced their dissatisfaction with the utility, and in many cases demanded that the City intervene with PG&E on residents’ behalf. The City Council has therefore decided to convene a special meeting on September 10, 2018, at 7:00, where residents can voice concerns to PG&E and receive answers. The meeting will take place at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.
To increase the chances that the meeting will be constructive, the City will compile a comprehensive list of resident concerns about utility operations well in advance of the meeting, and forward that catalog of concerns to the utility and the CPUC not later than August 1. Our expectation is that the utility will prepare cogent and substantive responses to the resident concerns and present those to the public on September 10. The meeting will be recorded, and a transcript will be prepared and sent to PG&E leadership and the five commissioners who sit on the California Public Utilities Commission.
Towards this end, the City would like to collect public feedback regarding PG&E operations in Lafayette. Please make your detailed comments on any PG&E concerns you have here not later than June 30. Your comments and concerns will be collected and distributed to the utility for its consideration and response. Thank you for your participation in this important topic.
This Monday’s Public Meetings
Monday is public meeting night in Lafayette. Most of the City’s open meetings are held on Mondays at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, California 94549. This Monday’s public meetings are:
- The City Council, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Community Hall. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here.
- The Design Review Commission, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Arts & Science Discovery Center. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here.
Photo of the Week
The City’s 50th Anniversary celebration of its incorporation in 1968 is coming up on July 29. Look for details soon, but one thing that we will be doing is filling a time capsule with items important to us in 2018. The capsule will be opened fifty years from now in 2068. Think about what you would like to put in the time capsule (preferably items iPhone-sized or smaller, although Warriors jerseys folded up will fit!). For more information, contact our Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman, at email@example.com. You can write him too if you know where this photo was taken.
Poem of the Week (With Thanks to Emily Carroll)
The First Day
Saturday morning the pool fills
with children. Their parents
want them to learn something
preposterous: not just to tread water,
but to move through it as easily as they run
at home from one room to another. Naturally
the miracle of flotation escapes some of them;
however, the believers, buoyant in their faith,
hold their breath and push away from the side.
Face down, arms outstretched, these blessed ones
glide like angels in a fleeting state of grace,
then pop up grinning when they run out of air.
Splashed with success, they hug themselves
happily in the blue-lipped chill.
Meanwhile, the few still clinging to the wall
watch their own number shrink. Small, miserable,
suspicious of their parents for making them
suffer here, they begin to see the arrangement
of things: how easily everyone can turn
away from them when they don’t give in,
how lonely a personal conviction is.
This weekly summary is prepared by City Manager Steven Falk for the Lafayette City Council, staff, and the Lafayette community. Do you have thoughts about this week’s Summary or a contribution for next week’s message? Forward it to him now! Do you have opinions about Lafayette? Share them at Lafayette Listens! You can subscribe to The Roundup here.