COWncil Roundup – July 13th 2010

July 27, 2010

The COWncil held a relatively short meeting on July 13th, with COWncilmembers Boynton and Gordon absent. The meeting began by interviewing candidate Janet Weiss for the vacant seat on the ASRB which has a term that runs through February 2011.

The items on the Consent Calendar that required no discussion were COWncilmember Gordon’s appointment as the COWncil’s delegate to the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference in San Diego in September and the approval of previous minutes.

The three items pulled off the Consent Calendar for brief discussion included a resolution approving a $25,000 payment to architectural historian Michael Corbett for matters regarding the soon-to-be-demolished Jackling House, a $50,000 contract with Stephen O’Connell and Associates for future work on updating Woodside’s Design Guidelines, and a resolution regarding the collection of Sewer Fees.

The Jackling House matter has been long-running, and we’ve reported extensively on the various COWncil actions and lawsuits here before (see here for the most recent report). The destruction of the house is now imminent, and the Mitigation Measures part of the agreement, worked out between the Town, the homeowner, and preservations groups is that various historical fixtures of the house will be documented and, where possible, removed and preserved. An Architectural Historian is required to oversee that process, and Mr. Corbett was chosen to take the photographs and document the fixtures. The cost of his contract will be borne by the homeowner. The COWncil asked Town History Committee Chair Thalia Lubin about Mr. Corbett, and she gave him a glowing recommendation. The process is that the various artifacts from the home will be available first to the Town, next to various historical societies, and finally the interested public.

The Town’s Design Guidelines which were first adopted in 2000 are being revised. Stephen O’Connell and Associates worked for the Town on the “first phase” of revamping these Guidelines with some of the concepts brought to the COWncil in 2008 and were favorably received. However, the revision process for the Guidelines was put on hold during Hope Sullivan’s mysterious ouster.

Now Stephen O’Connell and Associates is again being retained to complete the update of the Design Guidelines. The item was pulled however because the COWncil wanted to be clear on the process and to make sure that after spending $50,000, the Town would have something that could be adopted. COWncil members made it clear that they didn’t want the firm to come back asking for more money due to an inefficient process, and were assured by Town Manager Susan George that would not be the case.

The Sewer Fees item was uncontroversial, but the COWncil took the opportunity to find out more about the possibility of increasing our sewer capacity. Susan George was very clear that that from her point of view there was no way that Redwood City, from which the Town draws its limited sewer capacity, would offer any more than what the current agreement allows. The COWncil suggested talking to elected officials in Redwood City rather than the staff-level workers, but Susan was very pessimistic. She said that Redwood City was saving every bit of its possible capacity for the controversial Saltworks development plan (see here for our story). Susan said that in her view the only hope the Town would have would be if the Saltworks plan is completely denied, or if the Saltworks plan is a huge success and Redwood City needs to upgrade its overall capacity. Should either of these occur, that would be the time to go begging.

The COWncil then moved on to the next of the agendized items – a proposal to allow residents of Albion Road and their guests to have parking permits to let them park in the recently created “No Parking Zone” on their street. With the Town Engineer now reporting that all state and local approvals for the No Parking restrictions along Woodside Road have been received, the residents would be unable to park on their own street. The Town will develop permits that can be displayed on residents’ cars so they won’t be ticketed or towed. Meanwhile, the No Parking signs will be going up this month and be in place before the August resumption of classes at Woodside Elementary School.

The meeting ended with the Town COWncil then discussed the 2010-2011 Work Plan, including on-going fire projects, green building projects, and the general plan update. We certainly hope these items will move forward during this fiscal year.

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