COWncil Roundup – November 9, 2010

December 2, 2010

The COWncil took a little break from their heavy schedule of General Plan meetings in order to get some regular work done. The meeting on the 9th will be the only regular COWncil meeting in November, and there’s only one meeting in December to get the regular work of the Town addressed. There are four more General Plan comment sessions planned.

The COWncil opened up the public meeting at 7:30 after having a closed session to discuss the Town Manager’s Performance Evaluation. That would have been an interesting session to watch! COWncilmember Deborah Gordon was absent for this meeting.

The COWncil approved the consent calendar and moved directly on to new business.

There was a delegation of our local Woodside merchants asking for a change in the recently-approved parking restrictions along Woodside Road (see story here). The merchants said they are experiencing a drop-off in customers due to the restriction, and asked the COWncil to consider changing the rules to allow parking along a stretch of Woodside Road during lunchtime. COWncilmember Tanner had to recuse himself due to his business interests during this portion of the meeting.

Next the COWncil moved on to a discussion of an update to Woodside’s Building Regulations. This was just an introduction, with a full hearing with public input and the possible adoption of the Ordinance to come in December. The Ordinance will recognize the 2010 California Building Codes which will automatically come into effect in 2011 unless the Town makes the required findings for more restrictive standards.

Given Woodside’s grave concerns about fire, the ability to require more restrictive standards in conjunction with what the Fire Protection District makes sense. As the Staff report points out, Woodside’s local concerns of poor water pressure, narrow roads and dense vegetation make our Town especially sensitive to these issues. Some members of the COWncil in the building trades – Members Mason and Tanner in particular – had some concerns with a FPD-requested change to require recessed light fixtures, which started an in-depth discussion of fire ratings and Staff saying that someone from the Fire District will be on hand when the COWncil looks at the matter in December.

In addition to the light fixture issue, the tougher local standards would incorporate the New Building definition, fire sprinklers, and other building changes the COWncil has dealt with in the past few years. We’ll see which changes are incorporated into the proposed Ordinance in December.

The COWncil finished the evening with a discussion of the Ad Hoc Fee Committee’s recommendations. The Town’s independent outside plan check firm brought data showing that our fees are low compared to other local Town’s. So now the question COWncil posed to staff seems to be, should the fee’s really be raised and if so how high and how soon should the Town do it? We’ll keep you posted!

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