This meeting featured appointments to a couple of Town Committees as well as more discussion on the Town Center Area Plan (TCAP) . Council member Peter Mason was unable to attend.
Mayor Kasten rearranged the order of business for the meeting to allow Robert Hooper, a candidate for the Arts & Culture Committee, to be interviewed without having to wait for the end of the meeting. Mr. Hooper has young pre-teen and teen kids and is active in the school. He hopes to help the school, the Town, and its committees perform as more of a partnership. He was appointed. Kelly Zeytoonian was appointed to the Livestock & Equestrian Heritage Committee.
The COWncil passed a temporary contract extension with the firm that acts as the Town’s attorney, running through September 30th. It also passed a package of refinements and explanations of Town employees’ retirement and health benefits. COWncil member Dave Burow pulled this from the COWnsent Calendar and asked about it, asking if this was a common thing for COWncils to do and if it would lock the Town into something it couldn’t get out of. He waved the specter of Detroit and said he didn’t want any ‘contracts for life.’ The Town Manager explained that Woodside has more flexibility in some matters, as there are no collective bargaining units in Town, but that the PERS retirement system has its own requirements. The Town Attorney said that she had reviewed the proposal and that it was not “more significant” than the current way of doing things – it was just a matter of administrative convenience. The COWncil passed the changes.
The main piece of business before the COWncil went on its summer vacation was a Work Plan review with a special focus on the Town Center Area Plan, which has raised significant cowncerns in Town as of late. The Town Manager stated that the process so far has shown that people like the Town as it is, but want to get engaged with the process. The Staff are planning to slow down and engage more with the Town, holding more meetings. COWncilmember Shanahan said, “The problem with big meetings with big ideas that go nowhere is that they disturb the public peace.”
Traffic counts and a business owner survey are planned, to find out where customers and employees are parking. Ideas for short term fixes include bicycle parking farther away from Town Center, employee-specific parking away from the Center, and possible time limits on parking. All will be studied and analyzed. The audit for Safe Routes to School was to be completed by the end of July.
The TCAP issue is still generating passion, with people proposing delays on the whole process. The idea that something doesn’t have to be done was rebuted by COWncil member Deborah Gordon, who stated that while the population of the Town has stayed steady, traffic has increased greatly over the years with people employing more household staff.
The sometimes-expressed wish that people just not come into our Town, generally expressed as a wish that bicyclists somehow be prevented from coming into Town, was addressed by Dave Burow who noted that Town businesses rely on out-of-Town residents to survive financially.
The COWncil ultimately decided that they needed more time to figure out how to engage the public in future meetings on the TCAP. Also, Staff was directed to do a traffic and parking study. After that the meeting was adjourned.