COWncil Roundup – February 28, 2012

March 13, 2012

The COWncil held a meeting on the 28th, attended by the full COWncil. It’s available on MooTube here.

Before getting into the real beef of the meeting, the COWncil interviewed Aydan Kutay for the open position of District 5 rep for the Planning Commission. Ms. Kutay has been a resident of Woodside since 2004 and of San Mateo County since 1999. She has a very impressive educational background – she holds a Bachelors Degree in City Planning, a M.S. in Public Policy, and a Ph. D. in Economics and Public Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University and has taught at four different universities, including Cal and USC. She has been involved in civic activities in San Francisco, Menlo Park, and elsewhere. She said during her interview that one of the functions of the Planning Commission was to help people have good plans, saying she would want to help people improve their plans. The COWncil unanimously approved her application – congratulations to Ms. Kutay.

The COWncil then approved some routine business – allowing the Bicycle Committee to reduce its membership from six to four, and setting quorum at two members – allowing the current two members to meet officially. The COWncil also approved the first Town Manager’s Digest from Kevin Bryant. We found out that the Town is about to hire a new Senior Management Analyst to replace Kevin in his old job.

Next up was a discussion of San Mateo County’s proposed initiative to ban single-use plastic bags. While the County only has the authority to ban bags within the unincorporated areas of the County, it seems like most of the cities are considering jumping onboard. Similar to recent bag bans in San Jose and San Francisco, the ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags from being given out by stores and require stores to charge ten cents for paper or reusable plastic bags instead.

The idea behind the ban is to cut down on the litter generated by plastic bags and to reduce the amount of trash our cow-munities send to landfills. Passing a plastic bag ban would automatically give the Town credit towards meeting its obligations towards reducing how much trash we generate – a polystyrene ban (not currently on the table) would give the Town even more automatic credit.

Dean Peterson, the Environmental Health Director of San Mateo County, was on hand to answer questions from the COWncil members. He said that the County was planning to do a full Environmental Impact Report that could include our Town, and that Woodside wasn’t being asked to commit to anything at this point besides allowing our Town Staff to research the impact on our Town and for the COWncil to commit to a vote on the proposed bag ban when it comes back in a few months.

A Woodside staff member had been tasked with speaking to our local merchants, primarily Robert’s, but also our restaurants and other retail outlets like the gas stations and reported that there hadn’t been any opposition to the plan. The COWncil voted 5-2, with COWncilmembers Shanahan and Burow opposed.

The COWncil then held an important discussion on proposed Paved Area coverage which is a critical issue. There appears to be COWncil cow-ncensus that the purpose of the paved area rules is to preserve the rural character of our cowmunity. To understand this issue check out link to our presentation. After COWncil communications, the meeting adjourned.

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