COWncil Roundup – March 9th, 2010

March 11, 2010

The COWncil met for a relatively quick meeting on the 9th, with COWncilmember Mason absent. The COWncil held a closed session after the conclusion of their regular meeting, instead of before the meeting as is their usual practice when they hold a closed session. The closed session involved the legal case of Uphold Our Heritage vs. Town of Woodside, a lingering result of the Jackling House matter.

Before the COWncil got down to business, a Census worker spoke and urged Woodside citizens to apply for jobs with the 2010 Census effort. The Census prefers to have local workers where possible and are hiring throughout San Mateo County, and are doing tests here in Woodside on March 24th. The COWncil and Town Manager George gave her suggestions as where she should advertise locally.

The COWncil then moved onto the consent calendar, with COWncilmember Kasten pulling off a measure to increase the membership of the Open Space Committee. She stated that while she hadn’t been on the COWncil very long, she was concerned as this was the second meeting in a row to increase the membership of a committee (last meeting the COWncil increased the membership of the History Committee). She said it wasn’t a matter of the quality of the candidates for the new opening, but rather a feeling that Town committees should have a regular schedule. It was clear that the rest of the COWncil didn’t share her concerns, with Deborah Gordon saying that she used to feel similarly but now felt it was good to let Town citizens serve if they were interested, and Romines and Tanner similarly saying they were in favor of the increase. Mayor Burow said that he was in favor of letting people serve as long as the committees didn’t grow unwieldy, as long as the Planning Commission and ASRB stayed at the same representation level as they are now. The motion was passed unanimously, with even Kasten voting with her colleagues.

The COWncil sped through two related fire measures that were mostly bookkeeping that had been held up by the wait for the approval of a New Building Definition. Now that the Town has approved a New Building Definition, they were able to approve a Memorandum of Understanding between the Town and the Woodside Fire Protection District, that would cover what projects the Town would forward to the District, timelines by which the District would be bound to return comments on projects in the Town, what would happen if the District had to stop providing review and inspection services, and other important details. This measure was unanimously passed with little discussion.

The other fire measure was to formally adopt a measure already approved by the Fire Protection District – an update to the Fire Code. This also passed unanimously.

Next up was a discussion of the State-mandated water efficiency ordinance the Town will be adopting this year. We mentioned it here . We hope to write more on this important issue, until then watch the discussion on Mootube.

The final topic of discussion for the public COWncil meeting was on the 2010-2012 Roads Program for the resurfacing and repaving of the Town’s roads. The discussion was fairly quick, although COWncilmember Tanner stated that he wished the program would be accelerated so that most of the work could be done in warm weather, since it would result in a better product and longer lasting roads because of the hot and dry conditions. The rest of the COWncil agreed with his reasoning.

COWncilmember Romines asked why there were two reports on the Road Program per year, and was informed by Susan George that it was due to an ordinance passed before her time on staff. Apparently there was a large surplus in the Roads budget prior to her coming on board, and that the COWncil insisted on these two reports to prove the roads were being maintained. George complained that she didn’t enjoy doing the reports, and made the case that they were unnecessary due to other reports the COWncil gets. The COWncil seemed to agree and it looks like this requirement will be eliminated. Hopefully, the COWncil will remain vigilant to ensure that our roads will continue to be maintained at least as well as they are currently!

Wrapping up the meeting were COWncil communications, with a note that the Tuesday, June 8th COWncil meeting will have to be moved due to the State election that day. Town Manager George doesn’t want to cancel the meeting due to important business before the COWncil, so it will be moved to June 9th, 10th, 14th, or 17th. The COWncil was also reminded of their joint meeting with the Portola Valley Town COWncil on fire safety issues is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31st, 7:30PM at 765 Portola Road.

The COWncil adjourned into a closed session at 9:17.

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