Friday, November 30, 2007

Voluneers to host Holiday Potluck Party

The Fairfax Volunteers are hosting a wonderful Holiday Potluck Party on Sunday, December 16th from 3-7 p.m. in the Pavilion. Santa will be arriving at 3 p.m. sharp, and there will be sing-alongs, wreath-making, art projects using recycled materials, and information about sustainable gift-giving. Bring a dish to share and evergreen clippings if you'd like to make wreaths. For more information, call Community Resources Coordinator Maria Baird at 456-5652.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I have accepted the position of City Manager of Sonoma. I will be leaving the Town of Fairfax in mid-January. I have appreciated and been honored by the strong support of the Fairfax Town Council and the able assistance of an excellent staff, each and every one giving 110% to continue to deliver community services on a very limited budget. I have been inspired, encouraged, and have learned a great deal from our elected officials and residents. I’ve been challenged and enlightened by different viewpoints that have enlarged my perspective and that have enriched me personally as a human being. It’s been a privilege to see visions shared, people coming together - young and old, long-time residents and newcomers - all treasuring and caring about the unique community that makes being in Fairfax a rich experience.

Over the last two years the Council and staff have endured a very trying time with the flood recovery; our administrative and planning staff worked out of a portable trailer for 18 months. I’ve appreciated the Council, volunteers, and staff pulling together and succeeding in serving our residents despite these obstacles. There were many lessons learned through the disaster that have now become a part of the community’s collective consciousness.

Thanks to Senator Migden’s efforts with the SB418 ERAF funding, I am finally able to propose to the Council next week the hiring of a part-time employee to take over the FEMA paperwork and disaster mitigation process, which the Public Works Director and I have been handling. It is essential for the Town to continue tracking that process so that every dime owed to the Town is secured.

I am very proud of what our Council has been able to accomplish over the past two years. It was my privilege to support them through a strategic planning process - we opened dialogue on a number of critical issues, and the Council is working effectively together in leading this community. I think the Town is strongly poised to study its options even further as we move into the future.

New Mayor and Vice Mayor

At a special meeting held on November 28th, Council Members selected Mary Ann Maggiore to serve as Mayor and David Weinsoff to serve as Vice Mayor, each for one-year terms. Re-elected Council Members Larry Bragman and Lew Tremaine also took the oath of office.

Congratulations to Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore, Vice Mayor David Weinsoff and re-elected Council Members Bragman and Tremaine!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In Memoriam - Edward J. Kelly

It is with much sadness that the Town of Fairfax and Ross Valley Fire announce the passing of Retired Fire Captain Ed Kelly, who also served as Town Treasurer of Fairfax. Ed passed away last evening following a 4-year battle with bone cancer.

Memorial services will be handled by Marin Professional Firefighters Local 1775. Please check for updated funeral information.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Special Council Meeting, Wed., Nov. 28th

Click to view the meeting agenda.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Wintertime Spare the Air public notification program

The Town of Fairfax has begun to notify residents of unhealthy air quality nights and to advise them not to build fires in their fireplaces and to drive as little as possible on these nights especially. This effort is in support of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s (BAAQMD) “Spare the Air Tonight” program and is mandated by the passage of Fairfax Ordinance No. 720 (2007) which in part provides, “The Town shall endeavor to provide public notification requesting that residents curtail the burning of wood during poor air quality episodes as determined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District…” “Spare the Air” banners have been produced that will be posted at the entrance to Fairfax on Sir Francis Drake and at Bolinas Park on the days designated by BAAQMD from November through February. The Town of Fairfax and BAAQMD ask residents to refrain from burning wood in their fireplaces and to drive less for 24 hours from the declaration of a “Spare the Air” night. To add your name to the BAAQMD email notification list for the Spare the Air Tonight alerts to help reduce winter air pollution, you may sign up at by clicking on the “E-Mail Sign-up” section of their home page.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Town joins Mayors for Peace

The Town recently joined an international effort called Mayors for Peace. This is from their website:

What is the Mayors for Peace?
In August 1945, atomic bombs instantaneously reduced the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to rubble, taking hundreds of thousands of precious lives. Today, more than fifty years after the war, thousands of citizens still suffer the devastating aftereffects of radiation and unfathomable emotional pain. To prevent any repetition of the A-bomb tragedy, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have continually sought to tell the world about the inhumane cruelty of nuclear weapons and have consistently urged that nuclear weapons be abolished.

On June 24, 1982, at the 2nd UN Special Session on Disarmament held at UN Headquarters in New York, then Mayor Takeshi Araki of Hiroshima proposed a new Program to Promote the Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. This proposal offered cities a way to transcend national borders and work together to press for nuclear abolition. Subsequently, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on mayors around the world to support this program.

The Mayors for Peace is composed of cities around the world that have formally expressed support for the program Mayor Araki announced in 1982. As of November 1, 2007, membership stood at 1,828 cities in 122 countries and regions. In March 1990, the Mayors Conference was officially registered as a UN NGO related to the Department of Public Information. In May 1991, it became a Category II NGO(currently called a NGO in "Special Consultative Status") registered with the Economic and Social Council.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MMWD Volunteer campaign

The Marin Municipal Water District wishes to get the word out on their enhanced volunteer effort as part of their "Everything starts with water - everything starts with you" campaign. Volunteer opportunities and events are posted on their web page here

MMWD Board President Cynthia Koehler has stated that many residents of Fairfax have been among the most active participants in the dialogue surrounding weed control options on Mt. Tamalpais. They have urged the District to avoid the use of all herbicides, and many have encouraged the District to look to volunteers as a means of cultivating a sustainable weed control program.

MMWD is recruiting volunteers to partner with them in the hands-on work of habitat restoration. Visit the link above for more information about how to become involved.

Holiday office hours

Town Hall administrative and Public Works offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and the day after, Nov. 22 & 23. We will reopen on Monday, Nov. 26th. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Snow in Fairfax?

Manor School put on an awesome Winter Faire today, and thanks to the volunteers' dedication and creativity, real snow came to Fairfax!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Column Preview

Here is what I've submitted for publication in next week's Ross Valley Reporter:

Special Council Meeting: The Town Council has called a special meeting for Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30 p.m. for the purpose of certifying the November 6th election results plus selecting Council Members to serve as Mayor and Vice Mayor for 2008. Staff will also be asking Council to award a construction contract for the Center Boulevard redesign project combined with the Pastori Avenue overlay.

Flood Workshop: A Community Workshop on the Town’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29th from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Fairfax Women’s Club at 46 Park Road.

This is the second of two public workshops regarding the update to the Town’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan, funded through a FEMA grant. Consultant Paula Schulz of Natural Hazards Mitigation will present the flood damage survey results, the draft flood mitigation plan, the community’s role in implementation of the plan, and the proposal for Fairfax to join the Community Rating System (CRS) for flood insurance. The meeting is open to everyone and public participation in the process is encouraged.

Creek Reports Available: A CD with copies of the following reports is now available for purchase at Town Hall: (1) Fluvial Geomorphology Assessment of Fairfax Creeks by Matt Smeltzer, Geomorph and Greg Orum, Stetson Engineers, conducted in 2006; and (2) Fishery Resources Assessment by Dr. Alice Rich, PhD, A.A. Rich and Associates, also conducted in 2006. Both studies cover Fairfax and San Anselmo Creeks within the Town of Fairfax limits. The CD is $4.00 (the Town's cost for having the copies made), and you may purchase the CD at the Town Hall reception counter.

Joint Fairfax-San Anselmo Subcommittee: The Town Councils’ Joint Fairfax-San Anselmo Subcommitee on Service Sharing met on November 15th and directed the Town Managers and Police Chiefs of Fairfax and San Anselmo to work on a draft request for proposals to hire a consultant to study the cost savings and service implications of a consolidated police dispatch operation. The study is to cover both options of locating such an operation in Fairfax, and the cost of locating the operation in San Anselmo. The Subcommittee will reconvene on January 17th at 6:30 p.m.

Volunteers Holiday Caroling: It’s not too early to plan for the holidays! The Fairfax Volunteers will be hosting its Annual Holiday Caroling Event on Sunday, December 16th from 3-7 p.m., this time indoors at the Pavilion. The Volunteers are pairing with Sustainable Fairfax and the Marin Conservation Corp to bring this event to the community. Come and join in for singing, wreath making, card making, and gift making, as well as a potluck plus catering by Chad’s Grill.

Citizens’ Disaster Council: The next Disaster Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 7th at 11:45 in the Youth Center. The agenda will include the progress of the Get Ready disaster preparedness program and the update of the Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Amended Plastic Bag Ordinance: Due to the North Bay Coalition lawsuit that was filed against the Town as a reaction to the proposed plastic bag ban ordinance, the Town Council chose to not fight the lawsuit, which would have cost thousands in taxpayer dollars. Instead, the Council is moving forward on an ordinance making the discontinuation of plastic bag use by retailers in town voluntary. The second reading of this ordinance is scheduled for the Council’s December 5th meeting.

Funding Assists Cities: On October 11, Senator Carole Migden announced that “Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Senator’s bill, SB 418, removing about 40 percent of Marin County’s responsibility for paying the costs of licensed children's institutions (LCIs) in the county, which will result in county coffers receiving another $1.7 million in perpetuity.” What this also means is that some Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) monies that had been held in trust by the County of Marin will now be released to the cities of Marin. As a result, the Town of Fairfax will receive $187,000 in one-time, unplanned funding this fiscal year. The Town Council will consider the best use of this funding by reviewing our project needs and projections for this year as well as our disaster recovery funding needs. We thank Senator Migden for her tireless efforts to move this legislation forward, which took a period of years.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nov. 29th Flood Mitigation Planning Workshop

Click to view the flyer regarding the second public workshop on the Town's Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Creek Study CD available

A CD with copies of the following reports is now available for purchase at Town Hall:
- Fluvial Geomorphology Assessment of Fairfax Creeks by Matt Smeltzer, Geomorph and Greg Orum, Stetson Engineers, 2006
- Fishery Resources Assessment by Dr. Alice Rich, PhD, A.A. Rich and Associates, 2006
Both studies cover Fairfax and San Anselmo Creeks within the Town of Fairfax limits.
The CD is $4.00 (the Town's cost for having the copies made), and you may purchase the CD at the Town Hall reception counter.

Town Holiday Nov. 12

Town offices will be closed in observance of Veterans' Day on Monday, Nov. 12th.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Want to volunteer to help the wildlife hurt by the oil spill?

Click to read about meetings being held on Saturday, November 10th.

Council Actions from Nov. 7th Meeting

Report of actions from the November 7th regular Town Council meeting:

Council granted a request for waiver of a use permit application fee from Sustainable Fairfax for 141 Bolinas Road.

Held second reading and adoption of Ordinance No. 725, A Social Host Liability Ordinance for Underage Drinking. This item was sponsored by Vice Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore. The administrative fines for violating the ordinance are $750 for the first violation, $875 for the second and $1,000 for the third. Violators may apply for community service to work off a fine.

Introduced and held first reading of Ordinance No. 726, An Ordinance Amending Chapter 8.18, Sections 8.18.010 through 8.18.100 of the Fairfax Town Code regarding the use of compostable plastic, recyclable paper and/or reusable checkout bags by shops, stores, eating places and retail food vendors located in Fairfax. This ordinance amends the existing regulatory plastic bag ordinance which was challenged through a lawsuit by a coalition including plastics manufacturers who purported that the Town needed to prepare an environmental impact report prior to enacting the ordinance. The case would have cost the Town significant attorney’s fees to resolve. The amended ordinance leaves in place the detailed findings and standards for more environmentally protective bag use, but removes the penalties and mandates of the ordinance.

Introduced and held first reading of Ordinance No. 727, an ordinance deleting in its entirety the current Title 15 of the Town Code and adopting a new Title 15 in its place, adopting and amending the California Building Code. This ordinance is a standard procedure to update our building codes by referencing the new State updated codes.

Introduced and held first reading of Ordinance No. 728, An ordinance adopting the California Fire Code, International Fire Code, and Uniform Fire Code prescribing regulations governing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire or explosion; providing for the issuance of permits for hazardous uses or operations; and establishing a Fire Prevention Bureau and providing officers therefore and defining their powers and duties. Similar to the Building Code, this ordinance adopts the newly updated State fire code.

Introduced and held first reading of Ordinance No. 729, An Ordinance creating Chapter 8.06 of the Fairfax Municipal Code, adopting the 2006 Edition of the International Wildland Urban Interface Code, regulating and governing the mitigation of hazard to life and property from the intrusion of fire from wildland exposures, from adjacent structures and prevention of structure fires from spreading to wildland fuels in the Town; and further providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees. This ordinance provides for strengthened building standards for property areas with high fire danger.

Discussed and considered an ordinance regulating Surface Mounted Utility Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way, requested by Mayor Larry Bragman. Council directed staff to use the model ordinance of the Marin Telecommunications Authority to draft an ordinance regulating the placement, noise impacts and other aspects of utility boxes used for deployment of new broadband technology.

Discussed and considered the expansion of the Ross Valley Fire Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to include the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District as a voting member, requested by Council Member Lew Tremaine. Council requested more information on data regarding operating costs, capital costs, and financial statements of the JPA, and information regarding any potential financial impacts on the Town.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bay oil spill

Click to read the press release issued by the Marin County Office of Emergency Services.

House destroyed by fire

Attached is a press release regarding a fire last night on Tamalpais in Fairfax.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Town Council Meeting Nov. 7th

The next regular Town Council meeting will be held on Wed., Nov. 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women's Club. The agenda packet is posted here