Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Column preview

Here is a preview of the column I've submitted for next week's Ross Valley Reporter:

Economic Development Committee update: The Town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee has held its first two meetings. The community and business representatives on the Committee include Jeff Burton, owner of The Bath and Beyond, Fred Codoni, manager (retired) with Southern Pacific Railroad, Garry Graham, owner of 19 Broadway, Leah Smith of the Marin Farmers’ Market, Mark Squire, co-owner of Good Earth, and Augie Venezia, owner of Fairfax Lumber (Chamber representative), along with all members of the Town Council. The Committee held a general brainstorming and exchange of ideas at the meetings. Some of the issues/ideas discussed were the lack of adequate parking in the downtown which affects the number of people able to shop there, the public events held in the downtown, “growing” what’s working, the need for businesses to provide services needed locally such as a drug store, the constraints on operating a business in town, and budget expenditures for Town services such as labor and benefits of the Town employees who provide services to the community. The community and business members of the Committee will continue brainstorming and plan to come forth with some specific ideas at the next meeting, scheduled for Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 9 a.m. in the Women’s Club. This meeting will once again be combined with a Town Council Strategic Planning Workshop. The Council has in its strategic planning meetings identified and ranked goals in subject matter areas and the next step will be to formalize objectives and strategies for meeting the goals. The Council is also working on a strategic financial plan with the assistance of staff and will be formalizing the document in the coming months.

Creek Road Bridge Update: Per FEMA, this project has been held up for environmental review and is now under further study at the federal level. We have unfortunately been informed that this process may take up to seven months to complete. As it appears right now, the recommended scope of work is eligible for FEMA and State funding. Due to the delay in the environmental review process, we need to protect the bridge from further damage until the permanent repair is approved and we are applying for a temporary repair, which also must be approved by FEMA program and NEPA. In the meantime, the bridge remains closed to vehicular traffic.

Albertson’s Update: There is no new news to report on the Albertson’s property as far as a new tenant for the store. I am informed that negotiations have been lengthy and are still ongoing.

Planning Commission Update: The Planning Commission will be considering the Mixed Use Overlay Zone and the Second Dwelling unit amnesty program at their December 21st meeting. In addition, they will be considering a use permit to allow the Town to install the first siren pole.