COWncil Roundup – January 25, 2011

February 2, 2011

The Town COWncil met for three hours on January 25th. There was a closed session before the public portion of the meeting, on the topic of ‘Public Employment Performance Evaluation: Town Manager’, with nothing reported out. Before the public meeting really got started, Town Manager Susan George made a surprise announcement, saying that she would be retiring in one year, in January 2011 (see our article on the topic here).

The next part of the meeting was devoted to ‘interviewing’ and appointing volunteers to the Planning Commission and the ASRB. Very few questions were asked of the candidates, all of whom were incumbents. Marilyn Voelke (District 2) and Elizabeth Hobson (District 6) were reappointed unanimously to the Planning Commission. Barbara Hoskinson, the most recent head of the ASRB, and Thalia Lubin, Karen Rongey-Conner, and Peter Rosekrans were all reappointed to the ASRB.

One interesting tidbit that came out from the reappointment process – Thalia Lubin, who was appointed last year, mentioned that she’d only attended three meetings so far. Due perhaps to the slowdown in home sales, applications to the ASRB have fallen so much that the ASRB hasn’t met since October. Ms. Lubin was asked her impressions so far, and she said that she would like to see “pre-meetings” before applicants came before the ASRB or Planning Commission, where applicants could somehow be guided towards building homes “more appropriate to Woodside.” She also said that updated Town Design Guidelines would be a great help to the ASRB, a point also echoed by Karen Rongey-Conner. In the Town Manager’s statement about her upcoming retirement, Susan George had said that working on the Design Guidelines was a goal for her remaining year, so the ASRB members may get their wish and hopefully with a lot of public input.

After passing the Consent Calendar (this week consisting of declaring May 7th as May Day in Town, changing the meeting time of the History Committee, and approving the Minutes from December 14th), the COWncil moved on to New Business. The Town passed a resolution, after hearing from a crowded audience, conveying their concerns about the DMB Saltworks plan to Redwood City. Watch this important discussion on MooTube. We’ve written about this before here.

The Town also discussed a possible zoning change to permit allowing waterline backflow preventers within setbacks. The COWncil had Fire Marshal Denise Enea and a gentleman from Cal Water in to explain the use and regulations of the devices. The COWncil directed staff to prepare an updated resolution and to bring it back at a future meeting.

The COWncil next went over the Mid-year Budget and Work Plan review, and then discussed the Town’s updated (and increased!) Schedule of Fees and Charges. Distressingly, the COWncil chambers had emptied out by then so no one spoke about to the COWncil from the public about this significant change. After some discussion, the COWncil voted unanimously to increase Town fees almost across the board, on average by 25% but in some cases by much greater margins – one fee quadrupled.

The COWncil’s Committees Appointments Subcommittee then presented their recommendations for appointments to the Town’s boards. Most of the recommendations were routine, with all incumbents except one reappointed. There remain two open seats on the Bicycle Committee and one each on the Recreation and Woodside History Committees. Two of the applicants to the Trails Committee, who were not approved because incumbents wanted to be reappointed, expressed particular interest in pedestrian issues. As this is a big issue that has come out of the General Plan Update process, the Subcommittee urged them to stay involved and interested, as the Town’s whole committee structure is likely to be looked at in the coming year.

The COWncil finished its business with COWncilmember reports. Mayor Pro Tem Dave Tanner discussed his work with the Council of Cities City Selection Committee. He asked his colleagues for their consensus on various candidates for various boards the Committee assigns which Dave is one of the three candidates to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).. COWncilmember Sue Boynton spoke about the most recent Firewise Committee meeting, and upcoming events they will be holding.

The meeting was adjourned a bit after 10:30 pm.

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