January 8, 2014

The Woodside Town COWncil’s final meeting for 2013 was a time of transition, with some unexpected fireworks to liven up the end of the year. The COWncil formally accepted the results of the November elections, which returned Deborah Gordon, Dave Tanner, and Anne Kasten to the COWncil. The COWncil then took their oaths of office for the coming year.

Dave Burow was chosen as Mayor for a second time. He stated that he planned on doing a better job communicating with residents, which we certainly appreciate! Burow said that he had some ideas on how to use modern technology to improve communications.

Mayor Burow then chose Tom Shanahan as Mayor Pro Tem. While the jobs of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem regularly rotate among the COWncil members, it was still an interesting choice, as Mr. Shanahan has seemed to be a regular source of conflict on the COWncil and has made some controversial statements. He made one later on during this meeting, in fact, during the Safe Routes to School discussion – stating that he didn’t think any concern could be absolute, even child safety, and later suggested that instead of taking federal money, it would be better if parents took up a collection to fund improvements in the Woodside Road pedestrian crossing, to audible outrage in the audience.

Mayor Burow then honored outgoing Mayor Kasten, feting her work on the COWncil this year and her service to the ASRB and long history in Woodside. We too congratulate Mayor Kasten on her interesting year as Mayor, overseeing paved area coverage regulations, the budget, and the demolition of the Jackling Estate.

The COWncil then moved to fill the empty District 3 Planning COW-mmission seat which has been empty for some time. No one from District 3 actually applied, so Grant Huberty and Frank Rosenblum who are residents from Districts 5 and 7 were considered. Both were called strong candidates by the COWncil, but after some wrangling Mr. Huberty’s real estate experience and the fact that he’d attended several PC meetings won out. The COWncil noted that the seat will come open again in February, and encouraged Mr. Rosenblum to apply for other positions with the Town.

Interviews for the ASRB and the History COW-mmittee were delayed to the first meeting in January because the COWncil is planning on doing some sort of shuffle of COW-mmissions and COW-mmittees in January.

The COWncil adopted the consent calendar, reapproving the same firm it has worked with for years now to provide legal services to the Town. That means Jean Savaree will remain Town Attorney for the foreseeable future.

Despite some sharp criticism from COWncilmember Mason, Tanner, and others, the Town approved adopting the State building regulations for the coming year. While mostly a formality, the Town adopting the regs allow the Town to adopt certain stricter changes to the code if it wishes. The State (and especially two hapless representatives from the offices of Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon, who were in the audience) were singled out for criticism of stringent new water regulations that might cost homeowners thousands and thousands of dollars should they wish to remodel. Ron Romines made the counterpoint that “we’re not making new water” and the State population is ever-increasing.

In addition to the TCAP and Safe Routes to School discussion, the COWncil also adopted the an ordinance changing the rules for nonconforming buildings allowing some easier renovations to those homes.

The COWncil adjourned for the year, with the next meeting Jan 14th, 2014.

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