COWncil Roundup – January 12th, 2010

January 25, 2010

Town Manager Susan George said that the COWncil meeting, under new mayor Dave Burow, was the shortest meeting in years. Once again we have to differ – the special meeting setting the COWncil election last year was shorter. In any case this Council meeting sped by in under twenty minutes, with COWncilmembers Mason, Gordon, and Boynton all absent.

An item that we have reported on before – the Planning Commission’s rejection of an appeal by the Menlo Country Club was scheduled for review by the Town COWncil tonight. The Town Staff had classified them as a “golf course” instead of a “private non-commercial club” and the Planning Commission upheld Staff. This was an important determination due to differences in development regulations between the two designations. This item has now been dropped because old paperwork from 1964 was discovered which stated that the Club had been ruled a non-commercial club way back then..

While it appears that Staff acted appropriately and made their designation of the Club as a “golf course” in good faith, this incident proves how important it is to hang onto all of your records of dealings with the Town, and to keep digging into old records to make sure that you’re treated fairly. Apparently, the paperwork had been misfiled sometime in the last forty-plus years. All of this would have been avoided if the Club had maintained copies of its records or conversely, if the paperwork had been found immediately by the Town. This is not the first time such an error has occurred. We hope that the implementation of the Trakit system by the Town will catch more of these paperwork errors!

All of the consent calendar business was approved, as well as a resolution modifying a dedicated conservation and non-access easement to allow a driveway to be built on Sand Hill Court which drew no discussion from the COWncil.

The bulk of the meeting was taken up by Mayor Burow’s new committee appointments for COWncil members. Here’s the new list:

The committee liaisons on the COWncil are now:

Bicycle: Councilmember Gordon; Conservation and Environmental Health: COWncilmember Kasten (replacing Romines); Livestock: Tanner (replacing the retired Hodges); Public Safety: Mayor Burow; Recreation: Mason; Trails: Boynton; Woodside History: Boynton; and the unofficial Landscape Committee will have representation from COWncilmember Anne Kasten. Mayor Burow will be the attorney liaison.

The roster of state, county and local reps are:

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG): Tanner; City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG): Gordon; Council of Cities (the Monthly Dinner Meeting, City Selection Committee, and Legislative Committee): Burow; League of California Cities Peninsula Division/Woodside Liaison: Burow; San Mateo County Operational Area Emergency Services: Burow; Airport Community Roundtable: Burow; Mosquito Abatement District: Richard Tagg; County Library Joint Powers Governing Board: Kasten; Woodside Fire Protection District: Boynton; Town Manager’s Performance Review Liason: Burow, Romines, Mason; Town Attorney’s Performance Review Liason: Romines and Tanner; and Town Council Appointments Subcommittee: Boynton and Romines.

Mayor Burows did a pretty good job on his first outing, with some rough edges that will undoubtedly smooth out with experience. He jumped around the agenda a bit, but Susan George responded that it would be problematic to put items on the agenda that the COWncil was unlikely to get to, in order to combat the possibility of short meetings like this one. We do agree with his concern that the COWncil should be taking care of as much business as possible! Meetings with otherwise short agendas should include discussions of some of the many policy issues that get deferred when the agenda is full.

The meeting closed with COWncil announcements. Mayor Burow announced that he has been appointed to the San Mateo County Charter Review Committee. The Board of Supervisors is required to convene a Charter review committee every eight years to see if there are amendments or revisions to recommend to the Board. These recommendations are due by June 30th.

The Committee has 17 members appointed as follows: (1) each member of the Board shall appoint two residents from his or her Supervisorial District; and (2) one person shall be designated by each of the following seven organizations for appointment to the Committee by the Board of Supervisors: the Council of Cities, County School Boards Association, League of Women Voters, Central Labor Council, SamCEDA, Sustainable San Mateo County, and Youth Commission. We hear that the Committee, among other things, will consider whether the Board of Supervisors should be elected by District.

The County Charter changes may prove to be important to all COWs so we invite Mayor Burows to use our site as one of the ways to keep us all advised about what is being considered.

One Comment on “COWncil Roundup – January 12th, 2010

  1. Anonymous

    Information on the County Charter Committee can be found online as follows:
    1. Go to the County’s home page (

    2. Click “Department” in left menu.

    3. Click “Board of Supervisors” in left menu–this takes you to the Board’s home page.

    4. Click “Charter Review Committee” on Board’s home page–takes you to the Committee’s home page.

    I welcome input from all County residents.

    Dave Burow
    Mayor, Town of Woodside and
    San Mateo Council of Cities Representative to the County Charter Review Committee

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