The Weekly Roundup
Friday, August 24, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
The BART-Land-Use Control Bill May Soon Be Heading to the Governor’s Desk
AB 2923, the transit-oriented development bill that would put BART in charge of land use at transit stations, made it off the Senate Floor yesterday on a 26-13 vote and now heads back to the Assembly for concurrence – and then on to the Governor.
Lafayette City officials have been active in opposing this precedent-setting bill for several weeks now. While most locals will not consider its passage through the Senate as welcome news, we’re relieved to report that the bill has been amended in important ways, largely due to the tireless efforts of Mayor Tatzin and Vice Mayor Burks. Notably:
- No Eminent Domain. The bill no longer allows BART to use eminent domain to acquire parcels. If signed by the Governor, BART’s development powers will only apply to parcels it owned as of July 2018. In Lafayette’s case, that means this bill only applies to the parking lots on Deer Hill Road between Happy Valley Road and First Street. In other words, if passed as-is, this bill will not give BART control of any parcels in downtown Lafayette south of Highway 24.
- BART Must Now Listen to Locals. The bill as amended now orders BART to hold a public hearing to receive public comment on its plans, to conduct direct outreachto relevant local jurisdictions and to communities of concern around each station, and to meet with each jurisdiction in which the station is located to review the housing needs of the jurisdiction, how much housing has been built in the past year, and to discuss any obstacles to development of projects proposed by the district.
- Developers Must Now Consider Local Design Standards. The amended bill now also orders BART developers to use local design standards as general guidance, and requires those developers to adhere to any applicable local design standards insofar as those standards do not prohibit the height and density goals of the BART zoning standards.
- The Law Is Now Parking-Neutral. As amended, the bill now says that, “for any station where district commuter parking is reduced as a result of a TOD project on land where TOD zoning standards apply, the district shall develop and fund an access plan that maintains station access for at least the number of customers affected by the reduced number of commuter parking spaces, which shall include specific consideration for customers who live further than one-half mile from the station.”
Regardless of how you feel about these amendments or the bill, all residents are encouraged to voice their opinions ASAP about the bill to Assemblywoman Baker and Governor Brown ASAP. You can find out more on our AB 2923 webpage here.
Notably: Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin and Vice Mayor Cam Burks were featured in these two stories on AB 2923: East Bay City Leaders Wary of BART Housing Bill (KPIX) and California Senate passes bill to build more housing at BART stations (East Bay Times). There was also an editorial today in the East Bay Times urging a stop to, what the paper calls “a power grab.” You can read that here.
PG&E Representatives and CPUC Will Attending Sept. 10 Public Meeting
For the past few years, and recently, 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. The topics raised include:
- 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 29th;
- 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;
- 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 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 4pm, where residents can voice concerns to PG&E and receive answers. The meeting will take place at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center. The regular City Council meeting will begin at 7pm, following the special meeting.
Staff have reached out to PG&E and California Public Utilities Commission and both will be sending representatives to the September 10 meeting. Representing the CPUC at the meeting will be Naveed Paydar, Local Government Liaison, Executive Division, and Lee Palmer, Deputy Director of the Office of Utility Safety, Security and Enforcement Division. However, the CPUC declined the City’s request to review the 150+ questions from the community and identify what they see as the Top 10 issues raised. Therefore, the Council will use a standard public meeting format to conduct the discussion. PG&E, who will have senior management and topic experts at the meeting, will address the 150+ questions and safety concerns raised by the community. The public will then have an opportunity to comment and ask questions of PG&E. The CPUC has indicated that it will be there to listen and answer questions that the City Council might have.
PG&E School Street/Moraga Road Update
Unfortunately, PG&E changed the schedule of a pipe replacement project impacting School Street and Moraga Road so that it was started just as kids were returning to school. This caused a major traffic backup and we thank everyone for their patience. The City, which cannot dictate project scheduling to the utility, did request that the project be limited to the hours of 9am-2pm, which PG&E agreed to, as to have as little impact as possible on parents taking their kids to school.
Please note that the City of Lafayette issues encroachment permits to utilities for their planned work within the public right of way. These permits can include some construction restrictions, such as the time of day work is allowed. However, it is important to remember that each utility provides a service to the public and, under franchise agreements with the City, is required to maintain their infrastructure in a safe manner. The City must allow the utilities to maintain, replace and service lines that each utility believes are due for maintenance (and may even be nearing failure). Therefore, the City has very little influence as to when the work will be performed.
Concerning the School Street/Moraga Road project, we have received the below information from PG&E’s construction manager describing the remaining scope of the work:
- Thursday 8-23-18: Boring +- 50Lf of pipe under the existing loops. Work hours are from 9am to 2pm
- Friday 8-24-18: Prep tie-in hole for welding. Work hours are from 9am to 2pm
- Saturday 8-25-18: Weld on fittings for tie-in and retirement of existing Line. Work Hours are from 9am to 4:30pm.
- Monday 8-27-18: Restoration and backfill – work in the street will be between 9am and 2pm
- Tuesday 8-28-18: Restoration, backfill, prep pipe and hole for Tie-in. Street work between 9am and 2pm
- Wednesday 8-29-18: Test and tie-in new pipe. Work hours are from 9am to 2pm
- Thursday 8-30-18: Retire existing section of pipe. Work hours are from 9am to 2pm
- Friday 8-31-18: Complete backfill. Work Hours are from 9am to 2pm.
If would like additional information about the School Street/Moraga Road project, or wish to contact PG&E, please email Denise Conway, PG&E’s Senior Electric Outreach Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 415-314-7953.
Police Safety Plan for the New School Year
The first day of classes was a success throughout Lafayette. Our Police Department was there to make sure everyone was safe. For the beginning of the new school year, our Chief put together a comprehensive safety plan. We had Lafayette PD staff at each school location for the first day morning drop-off. There were also staff on location at Temple Isaiah on Tuesday for their first day of school, and the PD will be doing the same for our other private schools as well. In addition, the PD had its motorcycle officer assisting with traffic concerns. Lafayette’s Police Department will continue to monitor schools throughout the year as a commitment to our kids, parents and school teachers and staff. School safety is a top priority.
Have You Seen Our New Pedestrian Flags at the Roundabout?
We heard your concerns about student pedestrian and bicyclist safety while crossing the north side of the roundabout at Pleasant Hill Road, so the City this week installed new, high-visibility orange flags at each end of the crosswalk. The flags are intended to be carried by crossing individuals, to enhance driver awareness of their presence. An instructional sign has also been placed just above each flag “bucket.” The signs also have City contact info should anyone have questions about the flags. And participants are encouraged to send feedback so that in the near future the City may evaluate the strategy in greater detail. City staff intends to monitor this exercise weekly for the first month of school and proposes alerting the Lafayette School Traffic Safety Task Force of initial findings at their next scheduled meeting. If you have a concern about traffic safety or wish to have flags possibly installed at a particular crosswalk, the best way to have the City assess the situation is to fill out a Transportation Action Request form. You can email the forms in, fax them or bring the form to the City offices. The Transportation Action Request webpage is here: And the link to the TAR form is here.
Meet Sarah Allen: Senior Planner
With a Sacramento State B.A. in Sociology, Sarah began working for the City of Lafayette 11 years ago in the Planning Department, where she is now a Senior Planner. Sarah, who is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, also received a certificate from UC Davis Extension in Land Use and Environmental Planning. She says that the best part of her job is that no two days are ever the same. While not working the counter or reviewing plans, Sarah loves traveling, hiking, and just being outdoors. However, there’s one thing that she will never do – go skydiving. Say hi to Sarah next time you see her at the Counter.
Gift of Green: August Update
The City of Lafayette and Mayor Don Tatzin have been urging Lafayette residents to go “Deep Green,” a program through MCE that allows any customer, residential or commercial, to “opt up” to a fully sustainable energy plan. As of August 21, 2018, there have been 136 Lafayette Deep Green customer engagements facilitated through the Gift of Green campaign, and 85 have confirmed that they will opt up to renewable energy. The Gift of Green campaign was launched in March 2018. Of the 85 opt ups, the following were some of the top influencers:
- Sustainable Lafayette 37
- City of Lafayette 9
- Temple Isaiah 6
- Linda Flower 5
- Acalanes High School 4
- Lafayette Community Garden 3
- Lafayette Vistas 3
To further promote the Gift of Green, MCE has attended and tabled at City events, including Lafayette Earth Day Festival, Taste of Lafayette, Lafayette Dogtown, Rock the Plaza and Lafayette’s 50th Anniversary of Incorporation party.
Based on the usage of an average home and using the current carbon intensitiesof PG&E and MCE, opting up to 100% renewable Deep Green eliminates 2,163 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. According to the EPA, that's like avoiding 2,351 miles in traffic! With this logic, if Lafayette were to reach the Gift of Green goal of 1,000 households in Deep Green, the City would have an expected savings of 2,163,000 pounds of greenhouse gasses – or 2,351,000 miles of avoided traffic in an average vehicle! If you were to journey 2,351,000 miles, you could drive around the circumference of the Earth 94 times. Lafayette has increased from 390 accounts in Deep Green (4.0% of all MCE accounts) to 436 Deep Green accounts, representing 4.49% of all MCE accounts. If Lafayette were to get to 1,000 accounts in Deep Green, it would put Lafayette in first place among MCE communities! Currently, the leader is the Town of Fairfax in Marin, with 8.13% of accounts in Deep Green. The City of El Cerrito is right on their heels, with 6.78%.
Why don’t you help Lafayette reach its Deep Green goal and at the same time help make our world a little more sustainable? It only takes a minute. Find out just how easy it is right here.
Reminder: The City’s American Red Cross Blood Drive is Coming Up
Help your community by donating blood during the City’s upcoming Blood Drive, August 30, from 10am to 4pm, at the Lafayette Community Center, 500 St. Mary's Road, in Lafayette. This blood drive, held in the Jennifer Russell Building, is to benefit the American Red Cross. To find out more, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code LAFAYETTE, or call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767. You can also sign up here. Remember one pint of donated blood can save up to three lives! Oh, and did we say that the American Red Cross will be giving a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card to all who donate?
Get Ready for the Las Trampas Annual Walk n’ Roll
Las Trampas invites you to a fun event for the entire family that also supports a good cause. You can walk, roll or run at its 9th Annual Walk n’ Roll 1 Mile on Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 9am to noon. The fun begins at Las Trampas, 3460 Lana Lane, in Lafayette, and the end of the walk celebration will be held at the Lafayette Plaza Park. The fee of $25 ($30 day of the event) includes a T-shirt, raffle, Whole Foods bag, music and games by KKDV with brunch, Three Twins Ice Cream and live entertainment by the Jen Googan Group sponsored by Bread & Roses. You can register online here. Since 1958, Las Trampas has helped individuals with developmental disabilities to discover their capabilities and to lead fuller lives in their homes, at work, and in the community. Every dollar goes directly to client programs and makes a difference in the lives of those with developmental disabilities.
Lamorinda CERT Offers Disaster Training Classes in Orinda
Would you be ready if a Mendocino Complex-like wildfire hit Lamorinda? What about a major earthquake? The Lamorinda Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program trains people to be better prepared for and to respond to disaster situations in our community. When a major disaster happens, our professional first responders are likely to be overwhelmed with calls for service. CERT members can provide immediate assistance to their families and to victims in their neighborhoods, give critical support to first responders, and organize spontaneous volunteers. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of our community. Basic CERT classes are offered twice each year, winter in Lafayette and fall in Orinda. Topics include personal and family preparedness for disasters of all types, fire safety and suppression, basic medical injury evaluation and treatment, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, neighborhood disaster communications, pet preparedness and more. The next series of classes will be held at the Orinda Library Auditorium beginning Thursday evening, September 13, 2018, at 6:30pm. This series is a 3-hour class each Thursday for 8 weeks followed by an exercise on the 9th week. There are no tests but there are many opportunities for hands-on practice. For more information or to sign up for an upcoming class series, go to http://classes.lamorindacert.org
LHR Candidates Night is Fast Approaching
The Lafayette Homeowners Council (LHC) is sponsoring its yearly Candidates Night on September 20, at 7pm, at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. All residents are welcome! This year, five candidates will be on the November ballot for just two City Council seats. Each candidate will have five minutes to introduce themselves and speak regarding their individual positions on various issues regarding our City. After each candidate has spoken, the audience will be able to ask questions of any candidate. Also this year, there are four Lafayette School Board positions open and just four candidates. For this reason, the School District decided not to participate in the November election and each candidate will join the School Board as members. Nonetheless, the LHC invited the School Board “candidates” to its Candidates Night and asked each to introduce themselves and speak for 2-3 minutes regarding their views on schools and education in Lafayette. The meeting will also include a brief “Annual Meeting” agenda by the LHC. All are asked to please come, listen, question and decide, on September 20, at 7pm at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Lafayette.
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 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: Lafayette Reservoir’s Trails
The Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area has over 1.2 million visitors annually, and the majority of these visitors come to walk or run on Lakeside Nature Trail, the paved trail around the reservoir. The trail requires repaving to safely meet current and future demands of visitors to the reservoir. EBMUD’s paving renewal project will be completed in two phases: 1.5 miles of the western portion of the trail will be repaved while the other half of the trail remains open. Once the western portion is complete, it will be reopened and the other 1.5 miles on the eastern side will be closed for repaving. Connecting trails to the closed portion will also be closed. The project will begin on Monday, September 17, 2018, and EBMUD estimates that paving will be complete by Friday, October 5, 2018. If you have questions about the repaving project, please contact Kathryn Horn, EBMUD Community Affairs at 510-287-2053, or by via Kathryn.Horn@ebmud.com.
Poem of the Week
All I know is that I am still
compassionate, still have days,
still know the great places
for peace are parks leading
to great lakes, to smooth stone
infinities and you could
spend whole and perfect lives
studying how to throw them
and over and over and over
you could go, blissfully losing
them off the shore, into one
beautiful body of water.
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