Monday, December 29, 2008

Blog #41 - Foreclosure Resources

As the reality of home foreclosures hits Marin County with increasing frequency I thought it would be a good public service to list some resources:

FORECLOSURE RESOURCES
- A list of housing counseling agencies can be found on the Department of Housing and Urban Development Web site at www.hud.gov. Click on the "Avoid Foreclosure" link.

- Home ownership Preservation Foundation at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or www.995hope.com

- Operation Hope at 1-877-592-HOPE or www.operationhope.org

- Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Francisco at 1-800-777-7526 or www.housingeducation.org

- Housing Rights Inc. at 800-261-2298 or www.housingrights.org

- Marin Family Action at 444-0915 or www.marinfamilyaction.org

- Fair Housing of Marin at 457-5025 or www.fairhousingmarin.com

This information came from an Independent Journal Article published on Sunday, December 28th. For the full article go to the following: http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_11323224

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog #40 Special Events in Fairfax

2008 New Year's Eve Enchanted Ball

The 2008 New Year's Eve Enchanted Ball will be held at the Pavilion on December 31st from 7 PM-Midnight. This is fun for the entire family! Includes a Live Theatre Performance and dancing, cabaret, games, prizes and more. There will be great music, great surprises, and great food. Dress up as your favorite character! Adults are $10 and Kids $7.50 Kids Under Five are FREE!!!


2nd Annual Ice Skating Event

The Second Annual Ice Skating Event will take place on January 3-4 at the Pavilion from 12-5 PM each day. Tickets go on sale at 11:30 AM both days so come early to reserve your half an hour on the ice. Brought to you by the Fairfax Parks and Recreation Commission. Adults are $3 and Kids are $2 each. Hot chocolate and games will be available.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blog #39-Use of Roundup on Center Blvd. Landscape Areas

On December 4, 2008, residents passing by the Post Office on Center Boulevard noticed employees of Cohen Landscaping applying round-up in the landscaped planters. Kathy Wilkie, Public Works Director, was notified of the transgression of the Town’s Pesticide Free ordinance and immediately directed the contractor to cease and desist from any further pesticide use.

Ms. Wilkie was informed by the contractor that an unlicensed pesticide applicator of Cohen Landscaping did apply Roundup as approved under the construction contract for the Center Boulevard project. Cohen Landscaping is a subcontractor of Ghilotti Brothers, Inc, and is responsible for maintaining the newly planted landscaping for the duration of the one-year warranty period. The Town will issue, by tomorrow, a letter declaring their actions a public nuisance (the first offense penalty per Chapter 8.52.110 of the Town Code relating to Pesticides). The State of California is investigating the matter and has the authority to issue penalties, including fines to Cohen Landscaping for being unlicensed and violating safety procedures during the spraying.

How did this happen in a Town so committed to environmental sustainability? The public deserves an explanation of the circumstances and what actions will be taken to prevent this from occurring in the future.

What happened? When the plans and specifications were prepared in 2007 they included standard language for weed abatement that allows the use of herbicides. However, Fairfax has more rigid restrictions that were not included in the documents. The Town staff and Council approved the plans, and specifications believing that the documents included the Fairfax restrictions.

What will prevent this from occurring in the future? New language has been incorporated in the contract specifications to strictly prohibit the use of pesticides. The Town ordinance restricting the use of herbicides and pesticides will be attached to all contract documents and these documents will become the standard specifications for all future capital improvement projects in Fairfax.

The Town sincerely apologizes for this illegal action and will ensure this does not occur in the future.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog #38 Council Action from December 3, 2008 Meeting

The Town Council took the following actions at the December 3rd Meeting:
  • Mayor Maggiore announced the Town Council agreed to join the Amicus Brief in opposition to the passage of Proposition 8 on the November 4, 2008 ballot.
  • Brownie Scouts addressed the Council and called to action to fight the Climate Change in response to ICLEI request. Several brownies in uniform were present with two mothers as part of a “Cool the Earth” project and requested the support of the Council and the audience to participate by agreeing to update lights to “twisty bulbs,” to use cold water to wash clothes, to “Power Down” by turning off home electronics that use electricity even when they are turned off; to reduce junk mail; and to use reusable bottles.
  • Resident Jory Prum reported that daily, weekly and monthly bus passes would be available early in 2009; extended congratulations to the Council for getting Creek Road Bridge open; asked when the footbridge behind Town Hall would be open; and expressed concern about the danger to pedestrians of motorists not stopping at crosswalks, especially on Sir Francis Drake; and suggested that the police department conduct a pedestrian sting operation as had been done in San Rafael, to help make pedestrians safer. Public Works Director Wilkie responded that the pedestrian bridge was on the list of FEMA projects and that it was currently planned to be completed by July of 2009. Chief Hughes responded to the suggestion of a pedestrian sting operation and stated that the Fairfax department was considering such an operation.
  • Pam Meigs, Planning Commission Chair, and Mimi Newton, Open Space Committee Chair, presented Mayor Maggiore with a redwood sapling for her hard work and commitment to the Town.
  • The Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Vice Mayor Weinsoff as Mayor.
  • Newly appointed Mayor Weinsoff presented a gavel plaque with a quote from J. F. Kennedy to outgoing Mayor Maggiore.
  • The Council appointed Michael Ardito to the Open Space Committee to complete an unexpired term to June 30, 2012.
  • Council approved the purchase of electric bicycles. Police Chief Hughes presented the staff report, the company spokesman Rob Fruechtenicht answered questions from the Council regarding the electric bicycles and Officer Rodriquez demonstrated the vehicle.

The next regular Town Council Meeting has been changed to January 14, 2009.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog #37 - Lots to be Thankful for in Fairfax

Dear Fairfax:

We have heard the stories of foreclosures and layoffs. We also have seen the bankruptcy of a major California city and heard the struggles of many cities and counties across California and the nation regarding the dramatic decrease in property and sales tax revenues.

Despite all the doom and gloom news we are very fortunate in Fairfax. Sales tax revenues are unchanged from last year thus far and the Town is confident the sales tax projections in the FY 2008/09 budget will be met. The Town will receive the first installment of property taxes on December 10th and will also have a mid-year budget review for the Town Council in February of 2009 so we may review the revenues and expenditures to date and make sure that we are on target to balance the budget.

Town finance officials were very conservative in their revenue estimates and so far that is paying off. There have been only a few foreclosures in Fairfax over the last 12 months and so again we are very fortunate compared to what many cities are facing. Part of our fortune is that we do not rely heavily on sales taxes as some cities do. Sales tax revenues only represent about seven percent of our revenue stream. In times of economic downturn sales tax revenues are the first to decrease. Property tax revenues are fairly constant as long as there are not foreclosures, so again we are very fortunate.

Please be reminded there is a Town Council Meeting on December 3rd and the Council will be selecting a new Mayor and Vice Mayor and there will be a State of the Town adress by outgoing Mayor Maggiore. To view the full agenda please go to the Town's Home Page www.townoffairfax.org and then click of Council Packet.

I hope the Holiday Season in filled with peace and happiness for all of you.

Michael Rock
Town Manager

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blog #36 November 4, 2008 Election now Official

The County of Marin certified the November 4, 2008 Election today. The results are now official.

Measure C (Plastic Bag Initiative) passed overwhelmingly by the following vote:

Yes 3705 (78.51%)
No 1014 (21.49%)

Measure D (Appointment of Town Clerk failed by a very thin margin:

No 2064 (50.93%)
Yes 1989 (49.07%)

A total of 4719 Fairfaxians voted on election day!!

A reminder to all residents that Town Offices will be closed November 27 and 28 and December 24 and 25 and January 1, 2009 for the holidays.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blog #35 Town Council Action - November 19, 2008 Meeting

The Town Council took the following actions at the November 19th Town Council Meeting:

1. Interviewed and then appointed Tom Childers to the General Plan Advisory Committee.

2. Heard a presentation from the Police Department about a new traffic and speed measuring device. The device would be used solely for the purpose of collecting data on counting the number of cars and measuring the speed of a specific street where the device would be mounted.

3. Hear a presentation from AT&T regarding Project Lightspeed. This project entails installing 8 electronic cabinets throughout the Town for the purpose of upgrading AT&T television and internet technologies. This item will return to the Council for more discussion at the December 3rd Council Meeting.

4. Voted to uphold the appeal for 51 Meernaa and thus overturn the Planning Commission decision to deny the project.

5. Voted to uphold the appeal for 177 Frustuck and thus overturn the Planning Commission decision to deny the project.

6. Approved a Proclamation establishing Days of Remembrance to recall the aerial pesticide sprayings for the Light Brown Apple Moth.

7. Conducted a second reading and then adopted an ordinance approving the revised Marin Energy Authority Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) and authorized the Implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation Program. This action makes Fairfax one of the founding members of the new JPA, along with the County and the Town of Tiburon.

8. Adopted an Ordinance to amend the Town Code (Section 8.36.050 and 8.36.110) regarding Town initiated tree removals.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog #34 MCSTOPP Annual Report, New Work Order System for Residents

MCSTOPP Annual Report

The MCSTOPP (Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program) annual report for 2007/08 is available at the following link:
http://www.mcstoppp.org/07-08AnnReport/MCSTOPPP_2007-2008_Annual_Report.pdf Every year the County produces a report on behalf of all the cities and towns in the County. See also the following link regarding a project in Fairfax: http://www.mcstoppp.org/07-08AnnReport/Fairfax-07-08ARdetails.pdf



New "Work Order" System now in Place for Residents and Businesses

The Town Public Works Department has a new and easy way to report a maintenance need to the Town. Please click on the link:
http://www.iworq.com/iworq/Web/Request.asp?cityid=486 and submit a "work order" to Public Works.

Please save this link in your favorites to send routine work requests to Public Works staff. An e-mail is sent directly to the Director of Public Works and the Senior Maintenance Worker. The request is then converted to a Work Order that tracks time and materials for each request. This system will be extremely helpful in evaluating Department efficiency and for budget preparation. Keep in mind emergency requests should be called in through Police Dispatch or through the main Public Works line.





Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog #33 - Affordable Housing Information

At the November 5, 2008 Town Council Meeting Henry Gardner, Executive Director of ABAG - the Association of Bay Area Governments made a presentation to the Council about all the services ABAG provides the cities and counties in the 9 Bay Area Counties. He focused a great deal on affordable housing issues, including the total number of affordable housing units each jurisdiction is required to plan for. At the Council meeting many residents asked that the web links explaining affordable housing numbers and other housing information be provided.

Below are the links that ABAG provided to me and the Town promised to provide to residents.

Projections 2009:
http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/currentfcst/

Projections 2007:
http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/currentfcst/proj07.html

Housing Needs:
http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/pdfs/SFHousingNeedsPlan.pdf

Housing Reports:
http://www.abag.ca.gov/planning/housingneeds/aplace.html

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blog #32 Town Council Actions - November 5, 2008 Meeting

The Town Council took the following actions at their regular meeting on November 5, 2008:

1. Recognized Key Women in Commerce in the Community. The Mayor independently gave out certificates to a number of successful business owners in appreciation for their contributions to the Town of Fairfax. The Economic Sustainability Plan recommended the Town recognize successful businesses, which was the basis for the awards.


Valerie Teijero Yeah Baby

Huda Al-Jamal Revolution 9

Patty Bruszewski Sherman’s General Store

Polly Knox Fairfax Variety

Stephanie Mohan Portraits

Karen Rossi Village Green Florists

Toni Jones Avatar Business Services

Shannon Staple Fat Angel Bakery

Lorie Kulberg Culture Shock

Alisha Peterson & Susan Delurgio Beach House Style

Congratulations to all these successful women owned businesses in Fairfax!


2. Acknowledged the long time service of outgoing Youth Commissioner Ginny Aballo.

3. Heard a presentation from Henry Gardner, Executive Director of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) regarding the services ABAG provides to its members and issues related to affordable housing.

4. Heard a presentation from Larry Kennings, a Planning Consultant for the Town, regarding the history and status of the proposed Mixed Use Overlay Ordinance and issues relating to affordable housing.

5. Approved a number of consent items including a resolution expressing appreciation for thirty years of public service to the Town of Fairfax by Michael O'Reilly, a Public Works department employee. The Council also awarded a contract to Alta Planning and Design for the San Rafael-Fairfax Bicycle Feasibility Study.

6. Hear a first reading of Ordinance 739 regarding the Marin Energy Authority Joint Powers Agreement and authorizing the implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation Program.

7. Requested the Ross Valley Sanitary District pave Cascade Drive (in certain sections) curb to curb based on the sewer line project damaging the street. The Sanitary District will provide the Town with the cost estimates to pave Cascade Dr. and other streets curb to curb.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blog #31 - Holiday Activities in Fairfax, Rainy Season Upon Us

There are three great events today in Fairfax to kick-off the holiday season. In Bolinas Park there will be pumpkin carving beginning at 4 PM. Also in Bolinas Park is the Haunted Grove. The Haunted Grove is worth seeing. I have already taken a sneak peek at it and kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this.

The Fairfax Halloween Parade starts at 5 PM today!! Don't miss this most entertaining parade in Marin.

The forecast is predicting more rain through the middle of next week. Please be sure to remove leaves from your roof gutters and drains. Our public works staff have cleaned the storm drains throughout the Town. If you see any public storm drains that are plugged up please call Public Works at 453-2587.

Have a safe and festive weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blog #30 Innovative Small Town Mayors and Town Councils Conference

On October 25, 2008, the Fairfax Town Council hosted the first ever Innovative Small Town Mayors and Town Council Members Conference. Mayors and Council Members from Windsor, Benicia, Moraga, Sonoma, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, San Anselmo and Larkspur met with us at the refurbished Women's Club. We asked them to give us their ideas on some pressing issues:

Raising Revenue-- Parcel tax, sales tax, foundation support: how does your Town or City make it work?

Building a Stronger Small Business Core--How can we help local businesses do well and stay? What businesses do we want to attract?

Greening the Town--Global Warming is everyone's concern. What methods work toward being more sustainable?

Creating Affordable Housing--How successful have you been in this area of innovation? What works? What doesn't?

Sustaining Culture: Music, Art, Film, Writing--We think Culture is key to our Town. What do you do to bring and keep people together in this vital way?

Gaining a Stronger Voice on County, State & National Levels--Often times smaller entities cannot gain a strong voice on issues that affect us. What do you do? Can we do some more things together?

They had lots to tell us. Sonoma City Manager Linda Kelly stated Sonoma has a strong tourist economy and it is committed to water conservation. “We offer Cash for Water. We are turning all our lawns to xeroscape yards conserve water. We have new affordable housing that is a model for green building and water conservation" said Kelly.
Benicia boosted its tourism with a historical waterfront emphasis, prompted by town artists.

Windsor has an active Economic Development group. It boosts jobs through its recreation department, too. Mill Valley hired a Sustainability Consultant. “It's probably the best thing we've done in a long time" said Mayor Shawn Marshall.

"We just completed a 79 unit affordable housing complex with EAH in Corte Madera and we are concentrating more and more on Town landscaping and beautification" said Council Member Alexandra Cock.

The meeting was so successful the, the Mayors and Council Members decdided to meet twice a year. One meeting will be in a regional setting with League of California Cities support and the other will be in Fairfax.

This meeting was a sponsored jointly by the Town and the Chamber of Commerce. A special thank you to the merchants, artists and staff that made the Women's Club shine and made the event so successful.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Blog #29 Letter from the Mayor on Mixed Use Overlay Meeting of September 27, 2008

Letter from Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore to the Planning Commission and to the Citizens of Fairfax Following the September 27 Public Workshop on the PC's
Proposed Mixed Use Overlay Zone Ordinance

Friends and Neighbors:

I was unable to reach the IJ reporter before the paper went to print. So I was unable to offer my thoughts to Mr. Rogers, the IJ reporter, who was not at the meeting he reported upon. However, since so many of you have written and called consistently these last days and for the weeks preceding the Saturday workshop, I feel I need to offer a few words. I still believe that the intention of the Planning Commission to frame a document that might help us plan the Town's central corridor and provide for affordable housing, is given a more than adequate framework in this document. But tempers have run high.

Let us pause a minute and consider. Let us calm down and salute both our fears and our needs. Let us also salute the people who worked hard to create a document that we can use. Let us ponder in ourselves what we want from this document. We can adapt it. We can make it one that specifically states there will be no more than X number of affordable dwellings. We can protect view corridors. We can shape meeting areas. We can plan our future instead of having it planned for us. I was, and I am, still excited by the prospect that we could design and see to fruition a model entity that would serve us well and encourage others to treasure Small Town essence in places all over the country, all over the world.

That is what I had hoped for in the meeting. That we would state want we didn't want -- yes. But that we would move gracefully toward what we do want. That is why I created the Roundtable set-up, so everyone could be heard and that is why I offered a chance for talk back and a break for discussion and coffee. And then more discussion.

I think the time we take to look at our thoughts and our feelings and how they may injure others and ourselves, is very important right now. Let us take the heat out of the conversation and go forward with a look to what works, what protects us, what we value. What we are willing to work peaceably and effectively for. And let us from those reasoning’s and considerations, help to make a plan for the Town that will satisfy both our dreams and our realities.

Mary Ann Maggiore
Mayor of Fairfax
415-460-1106
maggiore@townoffairfax.com

Blog # 28 Notes from Special Council Meeting on the Mixed Use Overlay Ordinance

PUBLIC COMMENTS, QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS FROM THE ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS AT THE
SPECIAL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 27, 2008

Round Table 1
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Zone Overview
Facilitator: Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore


Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Implement affordable housing
· Create housing and commercial corridor that will improve aesthetic with more reclined cooridors
· Encourage innovative building around transportation hubs and encourage more pedestrian and less automobile interaction in the town
· Density of 20 dwelling units per acre – Albertson’s – “no less than 25”
· 50% commercial in any structure built
· At least 20% of all building must be affordable
· 1 person household = $24-$79K
· 4 person household = $33-$114K
· Green building, bike friendly, preserve Town character
· If we don’t build are we still eligible for grants and tax benefits?
· How will we have pedestrian pathways and not disrupt traffic and not disturb flow? (safe guard character of town and use of paths without encouraging?)
· How will pedestrians be safe with so much new movement/construction/traffic? Traffic is already is brutal. It is both unsafe and unpractical – more people means more traffic, more construction can mean more limitations on pedestrians, bike and car movement
· What is a unit? 500 to 1200 sq. ft, 1.5 spaces for parking for anything above 1 bedroom.
· Is there enough water and sewage? (infrastructure impact)
(MMWDS@2 – we have less than 380 sq. ft. available)
· Comment – If we do nothing we leave ourselves open to trouble. Well design, small dwellings, edible landscaping, parks, stages, plenty of funk, links to Broadway and enhances, let us not do nothing, it’s dangerous
· Competition that is too stiff or maybe will prove unnecessary to new biz will fail
· Look at San Anselmo – new plan will mean new competition
· Mortgages – failures?
· Let us not turn downtown into San Rafael
· What about state mandate to build affordable housing?
· EIR – Town has said mitigation negative declaration, that impact will be minimal. How do we avoid 300 units? What about rental vs. ownership?
· What is the residential mix?
· About 14 per acre?
· Kellie – We are a canyon – likely not familiars out of hillsides.
· What about looking at MTCC? – solve some of the problem? Burke Jones, ballot measure?
· This must be written.
· We can now build 65 units in Town without mixed use overlay – why don’t we do it?
· There is potential of upwards 264 units – why not specify that we are not doing this?
· Make housing money even more affordable
· ABAG breakouts of “affordable” definition – needs to be reexamined
· Traffic mitigated by streets – one way
· Why not legalize second units – Mill Valley model
· Engage designers/architects to stipulate height and parameters
· Strong elements for green elements
· Parking is 1.5.
· What does .5 mean?
· Look at Gainesville, 2 stories and parking garage, non-starter Durke Jones
· This is the gateway to our Town, visual corridors, Ryan O’Neill
· Requirements for parking, landscaping and setbacks brings down Town acreage of how many dwellings can be built
· Town needs to do feasibility study to analyze
· But people taking public transport during the day usually have cars at night.
· Pedestrian and bus – protect spaces
· More commercial means less parking, less traffic at night
· What happens if we don’t do any affordable housing? Julie Aronson
· Do we need to change the zoning to build affordable housing with the ordinances we have?
· Who builds most affordable housing? Study this.
· Ordinance permits more possibility but the ratio should be 50 to 100% affordable – instead of 40% (Peter Jacques), unless we do a high % will not be worth it – grants available, to get funding we should use non-profit proportions
· The MXO is a requirement of general plan (state requirement?)
· The work shows state does not approve what doing with affordable under 50%
· What are the consequences of not doing the state requirements?
· What we are missing here is an understanding of private developer, 40% is too much without a third story and we need to cultivate a non-profit.
· Roger Smith – developers cannot afford within 35 feet to 40% affordable housing, ABAG increasing power will have more influence
· There have been no consequences but Corte Madera – sued because they had no affordable housing.
· We need a housing inventory, income abilities of who is here.
· Set up a task force first.
· Instead of working toward others’ requirements let us determine what we want.
· What about people with lower incomes being able to live here?
· Start with: redefine these discussions, involve green building ordinance
· Why change ordinance?
· Affordable definition doesn’t give value to property.
· Other properties for AFH – affordable housing


Round Table 2
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Zone Overview
Facilitator: Ann Welsh, Planning and Building Services Director

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Parking concerns – Will they park on street?
· Need low cost housing, i.e. Rite Aid employee
· Green building – reduce greenhouse gas
· Ballot initiative – to change zoning
· Grant eligibility – Prop 1C, can’t apply now
· Design – How to maintain character with density increase – Design Guidelines
· 2 stories – height limit- view corridors must be preserved
· Social gathering space needed
· Scenic vistas – retain view shed
· Grants – eligibility?
· Scenic units – grants to encourage
· Reduce fees for 2nd unit
· Mixed use – reduces greenhouse gas
· Finance – have you done the math?
· Are we being held to a higher standard?
· How many other Town’s have complied?
· Why allow more commercial if there are vacant commercial properties?

Round Table 3
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Traffic Mitigation
Facilitator: Council Member Lew Tremaine


Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· How many homes? State – 65 afford
· What can state do? (not much) (state wants more)
· Is Albertsons only place for housing? (no)
· More density from transit? (light rail)
· Open to 360?? – no
· Why need to change zoning? Leave as is.
· Ambiguous wording – open to additional
· Additional renters – voters will change
· Present zoning would spread housing
· More affordable housing – less traffic
· Possible trolley lines – less traffic
· Try to get affordable housing through commercial development
· Better housing along transit route (spread)
· Not enough parking in town (now)
· Change zoning – more density
· Density needed for transit (in Fairfax 75% shoppers solo driver)
· Impact of overnight parking
· “Low income” households own cars
· Number units: acreage – setback reduces density
· O.S. Committee – bad traffic in Town Center now conflict with O.S. Committee at Fair Anselm
· Lew sentiment to reject 3 stories
· Possibly build parking garage?
· Good public transportation does not exist.
· Keep parking out of negotiations
· Commercial will generate traffic
· Money coming to reduce greenhouse gas
· Find money to build affordable housing
· Get good data on traffic modeling
· Look at Alexandria, VA’s limitations
· Enforce current parking laws
· Do an EIR report
· Why commercial? Just do affordable housing
· Local shuttle every 15 minutes to San Rafael
· Get rid of free parking?
· Move Java Hut
· Aging population needs to drive
· Limitations on cars
· Friedman property is used now for event parking
· Pedestrian improvements across Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
· Low income families need cars
· Underground the Parkade?


Round Table 4
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Design and Local Character

Facilitator: Council Member Larry Bragman

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Cost of report
· Scope
· Traffic Impact
· Decision to adopt
· Quality of life
· Freedom to control
· Fairfax’s development (Jane Jacobs)
· Changes to character in Fairfax
· Low income housing
· Parking
· Local business loss
· Environmental impact
· EIR
· Greenhouse gas
· Traffic
· Diversity/aging
· Housing prices, 2000: 250-300; 2008: ?
· Affordable low income (range of income)
· State density bonus – on top of ordinance?
· Albertson’s/Fair Anselm height – “Spot Zoning”?
· Empty stores
· Vision
· Parking
· Scale

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blog #27 Town Council Actions from October 1, 2008 Meeting

The Town Council met on October 1st and took the following actions:

· Announced vacancies on the Measure F Oversight Committee and Open Space Committee

· Announced that Richard Pedemonte, Parks and Recreation Commissioner and Chair of the Fairfax Festival Committee was honored as the Fairfax Volunteer of the Year at the Spirit of Marin Awards Luncheon on September 26th.

· Proclaimed October 18, 2008 as Biketoberfest Day in Fairfax.

· Introduced and had a first reading of Ordinance No. 737, an ordinance re-enacting the second unit amnesty program for a one year period.

· Heard an update on the possible abatement of a vacant commercial property (formerly the New Albion Bookstore) from Chief Building Official Mark Lockaby.

· Adopted Resolution No. 2581 increasing the change order authority on the Pastori Overlay Project.

· Adopted Resolution No. 2582 authorizing issuance of a Request for Proposals for the installation of solar panels on the Pavilion.

· Heard a report on the services provided by ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments). Directed staff to write a memo on the effects of not being a member of ABAG.

· Discussed possible changes to the tree ordinance. Discussed waiting until the tree survey is complete before contemplating any changes to the tree ordinance.

· Discussed and considered proposed changes to the CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) Ordinance previously approved by the Town Council. The proposed changes would broaden the scope of the JPA to include working on green house reduction and sustainable energy programs. The JPA Agreement and CCA Ordinance are still being crafted. Another version is due to be reviewed late next week by all cities, towns and the County of Marin. The Town Council expressed their desire to keep the JPA focused only on the creation of the CCA so that the primary intent of creating the mechanism to supply renewable energy in Fairfax can begin.

· Adopted Resolution No. 2583 opposing California Proposition 8 which would eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog #26 Special Council Meeting-Mixed Use Overlay Ordinance

The Town Council will hold a Special Meeting from 9AM-12 NOON on Saturday, September 27, 2008, to discuss the proposed Mixed Use Overlay Ordinance. Many residents have asked me what is a Mixed Use Overlay Zone and how does it affect me? Well, to help answer that question the Town is posting the following information to explain the basic reasons for a Mixed Use Overlay Zone and how it affects individuals and the community as a whole:

What is a Mixed Use Overlay Zone?


Fairfax’s proposed Mixed Use Overlay (MX) Zone is a revision to the zoning ordinance that allows key parcels to be eligible for relaxed zoning standards only if their development provides a minimum of 20% affordable housing units.

Examples of affordability ranges are for 1 person households, $23,750 to $79,800 and for 4 person households, $33,950 up to $114,000.The MX Zone does not apply to the entire downtown area but rather only to the Commercial Highway (CH) zone. The CH zone includes the Fair-Anselm/Albertson’s parcels which are bound by Sir Francis Drake, Center Boulevard and Pastori Avenue, as well as the east side of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard north of Claus Drive. The Broadway/Bolinas/Sir Francis Drake Boulevard area which is the core of Fairfax’s downtown is not eligible for the MX Zone.

Zone Requirements: The MX Zone has all of the requirements currently in the Commercial Highway zone plus the following key standards:

• Residential density allowing up to 20 and 25 dwelling units per acre
• Ratio of commercial to residential uses is 50% commercial to 50% residential
• Reduced parking requirements for residential dwellings
• Minimum affordable housing requirement is 20%.

Why create a Mixed Use Overlay Zone?

The MX Zone is proposed primarily to create opportunities for affordable housing in order to comply with State Housing Law and to secure a certified Housing Element. Other goals are to foster revitalization of the downtown by stimulating development of under performing commercial parcels and promoting pedestrian oriented, transit friendly uses.

Some of the economic incentives for having a certified Housing Element include eligibility under the following grant programs:

• Workforce Housing Reward Program which can be used for parks, street improvements and community revitalization efforts
• Community Development Block Grant Program for public works, community facilities, and economic development
• Infill Incentive Program which provides funds for infrastructure improvements
• Thus, if the Housing Element is certified by the State, Fairfax would be eligible for grant programs that could assist with needed infrastructure improvements.

Worst case scenarios may exaggerate actual impacts. The CEQA Initial Study for the MX Zone identifies worst case scenarios for increased number of households and traffic impacts, in order to assure that potential impacts are adequately anticipated. However, this type of analysis can result in significant overestimation of potential effects. Actual Mixed Use Overlay Projects would have to meet or mitigate any traffic impacts identified by the Town Ordinances on a case by case basis.

Height Bonus for Fair-Anselm /Albertson’s area only

The proposed MX Zone would provide a height bonus of one story, permitting up to 3 stories and 35 feet in height. The only parcels eligible for this bonus are those that meet all of the following criteria:

• Provide 40% affordable dwelling units
• Are located in the Fair-Anselm/Albertson’s area of Town.

The remaining Commercial District areas would retain their two-story, 28.5 foot height limit.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog #25 Capital Improvement Projects Update

With all the construction activity going on around the Town I thought it would be helpful to give the residents and businesses an update on the status of the following projects:

Pastori Storm Drain Replacement Project:

Pastori Road between Center Blvd. and Sir Francis Drake will remain with the existing roadway until the storm drain in this section is removed and replaced. This will take longer than we had hoped because there are three different utilities in the way of the new storm drain pipe. The Town and contractor are working with PG&E, AT&T and Comcast to resolve all the conflicts. They have to create engineering plans to relocate their utilities and then schedule their maintenance crews to do the work. It will take at least three more months to complete the entire project.

Please note that the section of Pastori Rd. between Belmont & the Marin Town and Country Club bridge will be re-paved soon. Ghilotti Brothers is starting the curb work today and will work their way from the Post Office towards Pastori. That portion of Pastori will be overlayed in early October.

Center Blvd. Project - Curb and Driveway Work

Ghilotti Brothers started the driveway re-design construction on September 11, 2008. They will take approximately two weeks to remove the challenging curbs, place new forms and pour new concrete. The landscape contractor has also resumed work on finishing the plantings. The construction contract includes a one-year maintenance period on all the landscaping – including replacement of any plants that die. The Public Works Director and the contractor will complete a walk-through to determine any outstanding issues – dead landscaping included – before signing off on the project. The walk-through will be conducted in early October.


Fairfax Creek Reconstruction Project (300 Olema)

The contractor, Maggiora Ghilotti began mobilizing on September 10, 2008 and will begin major construction on Monday, September 15, 2008. The first major piece will include the under grounding of the existing MMWD pipe that currently goes across the creek. Access to 300 Olema will be created from the Robin Hood Manor Apartments. Tenants of 300 Olema will be provided with temporary parking spaces there for the duration of the construction. Demolition of the concrete channel – including removal of the vehicle and pedestrian bridges – is expected to begin on Thursday, September 18. Vehicle and pedestrian access from Olema will not be restored until October 15, 2008. By October 15, 2008 all work in the creek will be complete and construction will continue on the retaining wall, pedestrian hand rails and parking area through November 18, 2008. The site cleanup should be completed by November 20, 2008. To help keep costs down, Friends of Corte Madera Creek will be providing willow and dogwood stakes for placement in the rip rap along the bank.


Overlay Projects

There will be many streets undergoing an overlay this fall. The contractor will start in early October. The list includes the following Town roads:

Street Segment
Measure K

Inyo Avenue: ALL
Mono Avenue: Inyo to Pacheco
Main Court: ALL
Spring Lane: ALL
Hillside Drive: 200' north of Crest to Dead End
Mono Parking Lot: All

Proposition 1B

Cypress Road: Cascade to 760' west of Hickory
Tamalpais Road: Scenic to Dead End
Sir Francis Drake Blvd: Oak Manor to June Ct.
Ridge Road: Scenic Rd. to Cul-de-sac
Upper Scenic: Unpaved portion (awaiting financial contribution from residents)

Federal Aid STPL

Sir Francis Drake: Patch and Slurry June Ct to Town Limits

Monday, September 08, 2008

Blog #24 Town Picnic; Fire DVD Delivered to You

COME TO THE 3RD ANNUAL TOWN PICNIC ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH!

Join us on Sunday, September 14th for our annual Town-wide picnic at the ball field sponsored by the Fairfax Volunteers. This fun-filled family event will run from 12 noon until 6 p.m. Delicious catering will be available from Chad’s Grill, or you may bring your own picnic lunch. Beer from Iron Springs Brewery will be for sale, along with baked goods from Daycaring Pre-school. Music will be provided courtesy of the Liddypudlians, a popular group performing Beatles songs. There will be a jumpee house, dunk tank, face painting, arts & crafts booth, flag making and temporary tattoo station. Games will include pie eating contest, old fashioned sack races, suitcase race, water balloon toss and the ever popular tug-of-war among different neighborhood groups. Come join us for this fun, free day of festivities. For more info, call 456-5652, or visit www.fairfaxvolunteers.com

FREE FIRE SAFETY DVD TO BE DELIVERED TO YOU

With this year threatening to be an even more severe fire season than usual, it is critical that residents be provided with essential information to help them protect their lives and property. FireSafe Marin has produced an excellent DVD, “Marin on Fire: Preparing for the Next Urban Wildfire,” narrated by Peter Coyote, that includes important fire protection and safety information that is critical to every Fairfax resident. After viewing the DVD earlier this summer, San Anselmo Vice-Mayor Peter Breen and Fairfax Vice-Mayor David Weinsoff, figured out how to get a copy of it into the hands of each resident in our Towns and Sleepy Hollow (the jurisdictional boundary of the Ross Valley Fire Department). Supervisor Hal Brown generously funded this project and the DVDs are already being hand delivered by volunteers, along with a letter from Ross Valley Fire, to each household. Greet the volunteers warmly and watch the DVD with your family.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Blog #23 Town Council Items for September 3rd Meeting

The Town Council Meeting for September 3rd features Adoption of the Fiscal Year 2008/09 Budget and the following other items of interest:


  • Proclaiming the month of September 2008 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the Town of Fairfax
  • Adopting a Resolution in support of State Proposition 2, the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act
  • Award of a construction bid for the Fairfax Creek Channel Reconstruction Project (300 Olema)
  • Award of construction bid for Measure K Phase II and Proposition 1B Street Resurfacing Projects (including Upper Scenic)
  • Authorizing a temporary street closure on Glenn Drive on September 27, 2008 for a Bike Race Fund Raiser

There will be a Special Town Council Meeting on Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 9 AM in the Women's Club to discuss and consider the Mixed Use Overlay. The Town Council is interested in your thoughts on the Mixed Use Overlay so please attend on September 27th.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog #22 Draft Town Budget

The Draft Town Budget for Fiscal Year 2008/09 was reviewed by the Town Council on August 20, 2008 and public comment was received. The Town Council will consider adopting the FY 2008/09 on September 3, 2008 and will take more public input at that time. The highlights of the draft budget are:

1. It is balanced and maintains current staffing levels for all current services;


2. Requests a 2-year limited term management analyst position for the purpose of working 75% of the time on finance and budget matters and 25% of the time on continuing to acquire the FEMA monies needed to complete 5 outstanding projects related to the December 31, 2005 floods. The position also will work on grant writing and implementation. Any grants received will be used to offset the general fund cost of this position. Total salary and benefits is $110,000 per year;


3. Adds the Town Treasurer Fund to compensate our Town Treasurer at $5,135 per year. Prior Town Treasurers worked for no pay and had no defined responsibilities in the Town Code. On August 6, 2008, the Town Council adopted a resolution detailing specific duties and setting compensation for the Town Treasurer;

4. Requests $5,000 for a one time stipend for a student intern to work on the economic sustainability plan;


5. Requests $5,000 per year for a minutes clerk for the Town Council meetings;


6. Continues to move forward with Capital Projects that were deferred last year;


7. Funds the Energy Efficiency Project for retrofitting town facilities;


8. Proposed Total General Fund expenditures for FY 08/09 are $6,890,936 with estimated revenues of $6,895,484. In contrast the adopted FY 07/08 total general fund operating expenditures were $6,908,989 or about the same expenditure level as requested for FY 2008/09


9. Eliminates need for borrowing monies from outside sources for cash flow purposes (saves Town $43,000 per year) due to adequate Dry Period Fund.

10. Eliminates the need for the use of general fund money for flood related projects from the December 31, 2005 floods. The Town staff (management analyst) recovered $202,000 in FY 2007/08 from FEMA and continues to work hard to recover the remaining funds needed to finish the five FEMA projects.


The next Town Council Meeting will be September 3, 2008 at 7:30 PM in the Women's Club. The Council will consider adopting the Town FY 2008/09 Budget at this meeting.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Blog #21 Town Budget Hearing Set for August 20th

The Town's Fiscal Year 2008/09 Budget Hearing will be on August 20th at 7:30 PM in the Women's Club. The Town Council will hear presentations from each of the Town's Departments (Finance, Town Manager, Town Clerk, Planing and Building, Police and Public Works) and an overall summary from the Town Manager. The public is invited to comment as well. A draft Town Budget will be available at Town Hall or on-line no later than August 15th.

The Town Council will hear a second reading and have a chance to adopt the Marin Clean Energy Ordinance on August 20th as well. The first reading of the ordinance will be read at the August 6th Town Council Meeting. Other items for the August 6th meeting include:

  • Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of Fairfax commending Kay Ryan on her appointment as Poet Laureate of the United States
  • Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of Fairfax Calling for an Election and Ordering the Submission of an Initiative Petition to Ban Plastic Bags In Fairfax and a Question Regarding Whether or Not the Town Clerk Should be an Appointed Position to the Qualified Voters of the Town at an Election to Be Held on November 4, 2008, Requesting Election Services of the County Clerk, and Setting the Ballot Language for Both Issues
  • Discussion and acceptance of the Economic Sustainability Plan

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blog #20 - Town Council Actions - July 16, 2008

The Town Council met on July 16th and took the following actions:

1. Appointed Mallory Geitheim to the Design Review Board. Congratulations to Mallory.

2. Received a report from Pam Gibson, the Town's Economic Sustainability Consultant on the Town's Economic Sustainability DRAFT Plan. After Pam gave her presentation public comment was taken. The DRAFT Plan recommends five goals and strategies to achieve the goals:

GOAL ONE: Assist and promote business retention and expansion so existing businesses can be successful and remain in the community.
STRATEGY ONE: Provide programs and incentives for improving the physical appearance of existing businesses and their environment
STRATEGY TWO: Market existing businesses to residents through promotions and activities that encourage shopping, dining and conducting business in the local area
STRATEGY THREE: Market existing businesses to visitors through special events that encourage a longer stay in Fairfax by celebrating those elements that make Fairfax special.
STRATEGY FOUR: Encourage entrepreneurship through the “business gardening” approach to retention and expansion.

GOAL TWO: Target and attract new businesses that complement those that are already in Fairfax, and are compatible with “community character.”
STRATEGY ONE: Identify businesses that might occupy vacant spaces and develop marketing techniques to attract them to Fairfax.
STRATEGY TWO: Inventory other infrastructure needs to determine adequacy for business attraction.

GOAL THREE: Enhance the image of Fairfax as “business friendly”
STRATEGY ONE: Create a formal business sustainability partnership between the Town of Fairfax and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce
STRATEGY TWO: Maintain and provide a list of financial resources available to businesses that are starting, or existing and in need of expansion or retention assistance.
STRATEGY THREE: Establish business recognition programs to show appreciation for businesses in the community.

GOAL FOUR: Support and pursue economic enterprises that maintain or improve the environment.
STRATEGY ONE: Recognize and assist businesses with their environmental protection and pollution prevention efforts.
STRATEGY TWO: Develop a program of incentives for those who are incorporating green building into new construction or renovations and find ways to use these methods for Town projects
STRATEGY THREE: Provide for transportation alternatives to help air quality so that those who are able to move around the Town without cars can do so

GOAL FIVE: Investigate the feasibility of forming a Redevelopment Agency to sustain the economy in the downtown core
STRATEGY ONE: Hire a consultant to review the downtown and determine if there is enough “legally-defined-blight” to warrant the formation of a redevelopment agency.
STRATEGY TWO: Keep communication lines open so community is continually informed
STRATEGY THREE: Identify other sources of funding for the downtown improvements, if redevelopment agency formation is determined not to be the best option

The Town Council will hear more public comment and consider adopting the Economic Sustainability Plan at the August 6th Town Council meeting.

3. Authorized issuance of a Request for Proposals for Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) Fairfax-San Rafael Bicycle Connector Study

4. Authorized issuance of a Request for Proposals for a NTPP Parkade Circulation Study

5. Authorizated the release of plans and specifications for 300 Olema Road – Fairfax Creek Restoration Project

6. Adopted Resolution No. 2562 Urging the State of California to Repeal the Local Preemption Ban which Prohibits Local Jurisdictions from Banning Pesticides throughout their City and County Limits

7. Conducted a public hearing on the Mixed Use Overlay Zone and the proposed mitigated negative declaration (CEQA) for the Mixed Use Overlay Zone. There was considerable public testimony on both issues and the Town Council has schedule a special Town Council Meeting on September 27th at 9 AM to discuss the Mixed Use Overlay Zone that is proposed.

8. Transferred $29, 966 from the General Fund to the Open Space Fund for the purpose of acquiring future open space in the Town of Fairfax.

The next Town Council meeting is August 6th at 7:30 PM.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog #19 Fire Season Upon Us

The Ross Valley Fire Department reminds us all that the fire season is already upon us. It is a good time to evaluate your property against the threat of wild land fires. Our climate and topography conspire to promote summer fires.

You can assist the Ross Valley Fire Department and yourself by completing the following:

  1. Clear all flammable vegetation a minimum of 30 feet away from structures
  2. Clean all needles and leaves from the roof, eaves, and rain gutters
  3. Trim tree limbs within 10 feet of a chimney and trim all dead limbs hanging over your home or garage
  4. Cover your chimney outlet or flue with a spark-arresting 1/2 inch mesh screen
  5. Stack firewood at least 30 feet from buildings, fences, or other combustible materials
  6. Clear all vegetation and other flammables from under decks or patios
  7. Trim all tree branches up to 15 feet to assure fire-engine clearance

If you would like to schedule an inspection or would like more information call the Ross Valley Fire Department at 258-4686.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Blog #18 - Town Council Actions - July 2nd Meeting

The Town Council met on July 2nd for its regular meeting and took the following actions:

1. The meeting started at 7 PM and the entire audience at the Council Meeting was invited to participate in the reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. It was a great ceremony and a wonderful reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a country that allows for freedoms and a democratic form of government.

2. The Council Appointed Matthew Jaspering to the Fairfax Youth Commission. Matthew is a junior at Sir Francis Drake High Schoool and is a welcomed addition to the Youth Commission.

3. The Council passed a resolution creating an Affordable Housing Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Council on matters relating to affordable housing and provide professional expertise in the complex area of affordable housing. If you are interested in applying please see the town's webpage for more information or drop by Town Hall for an application.

4. A Resolution promoting voluntary water conservation was approved by the Council. A key point of the resolution encourages business owners to only serve water to patrons when requested. The Resolution also encourages residents to conserve water. According to Marin Municipal Water Conservation District Water Conservation Manager Mr. Carney the three most wasteful water appliances in our homes are toilets, washing machines and our irrgation systems. Low flow toilets are easy to find and front loading washing machines use less than half the water of conventional washing machines.

5. The Town has hired Wulff, Hansen and Company to assit the Town in refinancing the 2000 Measure K Bonds. The reason for this decision is that when the bonds were issued in 2000 they were issued at an interest rate that is about 3% higher than the current rates. The Council be asked to make a decision about what to do with the savings estimated to be between $150K-$200K. There are basically three options for the Council. One is to refind the entire amount to taxpayers. The other is to refund part of the money to taxpayers and put the remaining monies back into Measure K projects. The other option is to put all the savings into more Measure K projects.

6. The Clean Renewable Energy Bonds were approved in the amount of $249,000. The bonds will be used for the installation of solar panels on the Pavalion which will power the Pavalion, Town Hall, the Youth Center, Police Station and the Fire Station. The Town is anxious to get the solar panels installed so we can walk the talk of a sustainable Town and reduce our energy bills.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blog #17 - Capital Project Updates

There will be a lot of activity this summer in Fairfax related to the continuing flood recovery projects (FEMA) and Measure K funded projects. See below for details of already scheduled projects and projects coming soon.

Center Boulevard - This project is substantially complete. However, the existing driveways have created some difficulties for turning vehicles. As a result, the driveways will be widened about one foot on each side and the radii of the curbs will be increased to make it easier to turn in and out. In order to do this, we need to move some irrigation lines and slightly reduce the amount of new landscaping. The final design will still have a traffic calming effect and will facilitate better flow in and out of the driveways.

Pastori Storm Drain Replacement – Bay Pacific Pipelines, Inc. will be replacing the existing 24 inch storm drain pipe under Pastori Avenue with a 48 inch pipe. The project will begin at the south end near the creek on June 23, 2008 and will work towards Sir Francis Drake. Work should be completed by September 30, 2008. Traffic delays should be expected in the area. Some properties in the area will experience periods of water and sewer shut downs, however, affected owners will be notified in advance.

Creek Road Bridge Bank Stabilization – Team Ghilotti has been awarded the contract to install new materials to stabilize the creek bank under Creek Road Bridge. The project will be completed between July 15 and October 15, 2008. Once the work is completed, Creek Road Bridge will once again be open to traffic.


Other projects coming this summer:

300 Olema - Creek Restoration Project
2008 Street Resurfacing (Mono, Inyo, Main, Hillside, and Spring)
San Rafael Bicycle Corridor Study
Parkade Circulation Study

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blog #16 Fairfax Festival

The Fairfax Festival was a huge success this year and there are many people to thank for this success.

Richard Pedamonte was the Chair of the Fairfax Festival Committee and I am taking this opportunity to personally thank him for organizing such a great event. The whole Festival Committee deserves recognition for such a smooth event.

Many thanks to all the sponsors of the Festival including: Bradley Real Estate, Delano's IGA, Grilly's, KFOG, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Marin IJ, Marin Sanitary Service, North Bay Bohemian, Toyota Marin and the Town of Fairfax.

The Festival began with the re-opening of Center Blvd. with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Mayor and Council Members. The parade began shortly after the ribbon cutting ceremony and it was great to see all five council members walking in the parade together. There were some fantastic floats this year and many thanks to so many people who took the time to make such original and unique floats.

The Eco Fest was also a huge success and many thanks to Larry Bragman, Holly Dines and many others for making the Eco Fest both educational and fun. There were many hands on projects for children and adults at the Pavilion and the organic spirits were top notch.

Yvonne Roberts was very instrumental in creating the children's play area on the ball field this year complete with a magic show and gigantic bubble show, bounce houses, arts and crafts and more.

Rudy Contratti was the music director and was able to convince some really great bands to come to Fairfax. They did not disappoint as the music this year was outstanding at all the venues. Thank you Rudy.

A special thanks goes out to the Town of Fairfax Public Works and Police Departments for working overtime and on the weekends preparing for the event and working the Festival.

Tonight is the Farmer's Market so please come out to Bolinas Park for more fun and food. There is also a Town Council Meeting tonight. There are no shortage of activities in our Town!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blog #15 - Council Meeting Summary of June 4th

The Town Council Took the following actions on June 4th:

Re-appointed members of the Open Space Committee and appointed Shoshana Perry and Sam Perry as Co-Artists in Residence.

Received a report from the Town's outside auditing firm on the Town's fiscal year 2006-07 audit.

Heard a presentation from PG&E representative regarding PG&E's perspective on the formation of the Marin Clean Energy JPA.

Awarded the low bid for the Creek Road Bridge Bank Rehabilitation project which will begin construction in mid July and will be completed before October 15th.

Adopted a resolution urging the cessation of customs enforcement sweeps in our community

Opened a public hearing on the Town's Flood Mitigation Plan and took public testimony.

Open Space Committee requested and the Town Council approved the designation of the Ben Ross property at the end of Toyon Road (approximately 11 acres) be a priority for acquisition as open space.

Adopted a resolution supporting the withdrawal and redeployment of United States Troops from Iraq and in opposition to expansion of the War to Iran.

The next Town Council Meeting is June 18th. One of the items the Council will be considering is accepting Upper Scenic Road as a Town maintained road.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blog # 14 - Council Actions of May 21, 2008

Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore announced that there are openings on the General Plan Advisory Committee, Fairfax Youth Commission, Volunteer Board, Design Review Board, Open Space Committee and the Measure F Oversight Committee.

The Town Council appointed Nicole Marsden to the Fairfax Youth Commission. Congratulations to Nicole!

The Town Council approved sending a letter to Marin County requesting the final draft ordinance be sent to the Town so that the Town Council may vote on the issue of joining the soon to be created Marin Clean Energy Authority Joint Powers Agency. Before the vote was taken Rebekah Collins of Sustainable Fairfax and Dawn Weisz, Principal Planner for Marin County and the Coordinator of the Marin Clean Energy Project spoke to the Council about the benefits of creating such an agency including the use of far more renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint in Fairfax.

The Council had a productive discussion about the Mixed Use Overlay and directed staff to begin the initial study for the environmental review process. The approval of the Mixed Use Overlay will be returning to the Council for approval in a couple of months.

The Council voted to approve in concept the recommendation of the Ross Valley Fire Service Board to include Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District as a full member of the Ross Valley Fire Service.

The next Town Council Meeting will be June 4th. The Council will be conducting a public hearing on the Flood Mitigation Plan and considering an award of low bid for the Creek Road Bridge Bank Rehabilitation Project. There will also be more information and public input on the Marin Clean Energy Project (Community Choice Aggregation).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blog #13 Center Blvd. Paving to Begin

Beginning on Monday, May 19th grinding and paving will begin on Center Blvd. This is the last major construction phase of the project and will last about one business week. The entire Center Blvd. Improvement Project will be substantially completed before the Fairfax Festival which begins June 14th.

To accommodate commute traffic please be advised that beginning May 19th during the morning commute hours only eastbound traffic will have access to Center Blvd between Pacheco and Pastori. Westbound traffic will be detoured at Center Blvd turning right on Pastori and then left on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

During the afternoon commute hours westbound traffic will have access to Center Blvd. but eastbound traffic may be detoured to Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

The grinding and paving is scheduled for five days - from May 19-23. As long as there are no unforeseen circumstances (equipment failure) the work should be completed in this time frame.

Your patience and cooperation is very much appreciated by the Town.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blog #12 - Town Council Actions from May 7th

Highlights of the May 7th Meeting:

Mayor Maggiore announced there will be a community meeting to discuss possible shared police dispatch/records services with the Town of San Anselmo on May 15, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Isabel Cooke Community Center, 1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in San Anselmo.

The Town Council awarded the low bid for the Pastori Storm Drain Replacement Project to Bay Pacific Pipelines, Inc. for a total project amount of $394,335. This project will involve removing the existing 24 inch storm drain pipe that runs down the middle of Pastori Ave (from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to the Pastori Bridge) and replace it with a 48 inch pipe. The objective is to alleviate chronic flooding in the neighborhood. Construction work should begin in June.

The Town Council adopted a resolution opposing state Proposition 98 and adopted a resolution supporting Proposition 99. Both propositions deal with eminent domain and land use issues.

An update from Council Member Bragman was given regarding the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). He announced that the state had decided to postpone any spraying in Marin County and other counties until further testing on the proposed pesticides can be completed. The State could not prove that an emergency existed and therefore that the CEQA process could be postponed. There will be more updates on the LBAM as this drama unfolds.

The Council also received an update from the Town Manager regarding the Strategic Plan. The update described all the accomplishments since the Strategic Plan was adopted in December 2007. The Town has managed to accomplish quite a bit even with some key vacancies. If you are interested in reading the updated Strategic Plan it is on line at http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/TownCouncil/TownCouncilPacket/Item%2011%20Strategic%20Plan%20Update.pdf.

The next Town Council Meeting will be May 21st starting at 7:30 PM. If you are interested in Marin Clean Energy (Community Choice Aggregation) you will want to attend this meeting.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blog #11 - Economic Summit Meeting a Success

The Town Council Meeting on Saturday, April 26th dubbed the "Economic Summit" was a success. There were over 30 residents and merchants in attendance. The meeting began with Pamela Gibson, a consultant specializing in small town businesses giving her presentation on how to sustain businesses in Fairfax. The focus for Fairfax will be on "business gardening" (growing your own) which involves nurturing and growing the business we already have. It also includes a business mentoring program and connecting businesses to the Small Business Administration.

After Pamela Gibson gave her presentation the Town Council and then the public made comments. Chamber of Commerce President, Chris Lang and Executive Director Ingrid Weiss as well as Chamber Board Members Morgan Hall, Mark Squire, Richard Pedemonte, Anakala Carmassi, and Matthew Edwards all addressed the Council on ideas to improve the business climate. There was considerable discussion about building on the Town's growing organic-oriented economy.

Overall the meeting was very upbeat and there was a consensus from the merchants and the Town that a stronger partnership between the business community, the Chamber of Commerce and the Town will be forthcoming. There was also consensus that the idea of a redevelopment agency (RDA) is something that could be a great benefit to Fairfax. An RDA allows a Town to offer low interest loans to businesses and to provide businesses with many other services such as business counseling, how to start a business class, etc.

The next regular Town Council meeting will be May 7, 2008. The agenda for this meeting will be posted on the Town's website on Friday, May 2, 2008.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blog #10 Town Council Meeting Summary (April 2, 2008 Meeting)

The Town Council met on April 2nd and took the following actions:

Appointed Morgan Hall to the Design Review Board

Appointed Vicki Burns to the Park and Recreation Commission

Proclaimed April 13-19 National Library Week for the Town of Fairfax

Approved the expenditure of $8,333 from the Dry Period Fund for the Town's share of the Shared Dispatch Services Study Consultant Contract. This involves a thorough study of both San Anselmo and Fairfax 911 dispatch operations. The goal will be to see if there is any cost savings by combining the two 911 dispatch centers into one. The consultant will perform a very in depth analysis of both operations and interview staff from both Towns and Council Members.

Approved a Consultant Services Agreement with Pamela Gibson to create an Economic Sustainability Program for the Town in an amount not to exceed $3000

Approved a letter to Dr. Wall requesting further discussion of a possible greenbelt around the Town of Fairfax

Adopted the Proposition 1B Project List and amended the Town Budget to accept $400K in Proposition 1B monies

Accepted a 100 foot by 20 foot portion of Scenic Road as Town maintained for the purpose of receiving reimbursement from FEMA for the Upper Scenic Slope Stabilization Project

Adopted Resolution 2528 setting policy for Town assistance towards cooperative efforts in pavement improvement projects. If you are interested in the details of this program please contact the Public Works Department at 453-0291 or by email at publicworks@townoffairfax.org.

Special Announcement

The Town Council will be holding a special Town Council Meeting: Economic Summit: July 26, 2008 at the Women's Club. The Council will be discussing economic sustainability and award winning consultant Pamela Gibson will be offering her advice on how to improve economic sustainability in the Town. This Special Meeting will start at 9 AM.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Blog #9 - New Public Works Director Hired

Kathy Wilkie is the next Public Works Director

I am very pleased to announce that the Town has hired Kathy Wilkie as the next Public Works Director. She currently is working for the City of Fairfield as a Management Analyst in the City Manager's Office. She brings more than 20 years of public service to Fairfax. She has spent more than 17 years in public works. Please see below the press release for more information about Kathy. Her first day with the Town will be April 28th and she will be introduced at the May 7, 2008 Town Council Meeting.


PRESS RELEASE

Town of Fairfax appoints new Public Works Director

April 3, 2008 – Today, Fairfax Town Manager Michael Rock announced the appointment of Kathy Wilkie as the Town’s new Public Works Director. Kathy is currently the Senior Management Analyst for the City of Fairfield, CA, a position she has held for over a year and a half. Prior to working for the City of Fairfield Kathy worked for the City of Walnut Creek for over 19 years in Community Development and Public Works Departments.

Over her career Kathy has performed traffic engineering, project management and administrative analyst duties including solid waste contract management and grant administration.

Kathy was awarded “Employee of the Year” for the City of Walnut Creek in 2002 and received a resolution from the Walnut Creek City Council for her outstanding work coordinating the Safety Faire in 1998. Kathy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College in Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University at Hayward. Her Master’s Thesis was titled Engaging Citizens in Governing, The Case of Walnut Creek.

Kathy’s responsibilities will include oversight of all public works projects, parks projects and maintenance, storm drainage, and Town facilities. She will continue work on the Town’s disaster recovery projects, Measure K infrastructure bond priorities, street improvements, and ensure that day to day service requests are fulfilled.

“Kathy’s skills and experience is a good match for the many infrastructure issues she will manage in Fairfax. I am especially impressed with her understanding of how to work with the community and her many years of local government experience” said Town Manager Michael Rock.

Kathy is filling a vacancy in the Public Works Director position that occurred after former Director Michael Rock accepted the Town Manager position.

Her first day with the Town will be Monday, April 28th and she will be introduced to the community at the regular Town Council meeting of May 7th.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blog #8 Center Blvd Project Update

As many residents and visitors have noticed the Center Blvd. Improvement Project is in full swing. Concrete has been poured and new sidewalks are in along with new ramps for disabled access. There has been much discussion about how many crosswalks are being installed and at what locations. There are three crosswalks being installed as I write this. One will be at the Post Office, one at the main entrance to the Fair Anselm and one at the corner of Center Blvd. and Pastori.

The contractor, Ghilotti Brothers estimates they will complete Center Blvd. at the end of May of this year. There will still be work on Pastori well into the summer, including the overlay of Pastori once the new storm drain is installed.

Please be reminded that all businesses are open for business throughout the construction period and there will be access at all times.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blog #7 - Town Council - Strategic Planning, Public Works Director Recruitment

STRATEGIC PLANNING WORKSHOP

The Town Council met on Saturday, March 15th to discuss the Town's Strategic Plan. The discussion was very productive. The discussion focused on the business community and what can be done to maximize opportunities for all business owners. The Council agreed the Town will become a stronger partner with the Chamber of Commerce and others in assisting the business community. There will be more information on this subject in future blogs.

PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR RECRUITMENT

Also on Saturday, March 15 the Town Council in a closed session interviewed the final two candidates for Public Works Director and gave direction to the Town Manager. At the April 2nd Town Council Meeting the Council will ratify the appointment of the next Public Works Director. There will be a press release and more information for the community in early April.

MEET THE TOWN MANAGER MEETINGS

A reminder I will be at Barefoot Cafe today from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM for another "Meet the Town Manager" meeting. Please feel free to drop by and chat about anything that is on your mind. I will also be at the Fair Fix Cafe March 31st from 7:00 PM-8:30 PM. I will be at Chad's Cafe on April 8th from 1:00 PM-2:30 PM.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blog #6 - More Meet the Town Manager Meetings, Town Council Meeting Highlights

As promised I have scheduled more "Meet the Town Manager" meetings at the following locations:

Barefoot Cafe: Tuesday, March 18th from 1:00 PM-2:30 PM at 1900 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Fair Fix Cafe: Monday, March 31st from 7:00 PM-8:30 PM at 33 Broadway

Chad's Grill Garden Cafe: Tuesday, April 8th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM at 85 Bolinas Rd, Suite 4


Highlights of the Town Council Meeting of March 5, 2008:

  • Adopted Resolution 2532 opposing Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed Across-the-Board Budget Cuts and Supporting the Alternate Budget of the Legislative Analyst which provides Full Funding for Local Schools


  • Adopted a Proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month in Fairfax

  • Awarded a Bid for $31,650 to Linscott Engineering for the Upper Scenic Road Stabilization Project

  • Adopted Resolution 2534 Opposing the California Department of Food and Agriculture Aerial Spray Program to Eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth


  • Discussed a formal policy/ordinance regarding resolutions on state and national issues

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Blog #5 - Emergency Blog

I am sorry I missed the first of a series of Meet the Manager sessions I set up. I was supposed to be at the Barefoot Cafe yesterday afternoon (Feb 25) but I came down with the flu very suddenly and was unable to get out of bed on Monday. I will be available tomorrow at 9 AM at the Coffee Roastery as planned. I will schedule a make-up day at the Barefoot Cafe in the near future. I am sorry for the inconvenience this caused any of you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blog #4 Meet the Town Manager

As promised in Blog #3 I am setting up time to allow the public to meet me and discuss anything you would like to that is related to the Town of Fairfax.

The first meeting place will be the Barefoot Cafe (1900 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.) from 1:30-3:00 PM on Monday, February 25, 2008.

My second location will be the Coffee Roastery (4 Bolinas Rd) from 9:00-10:30 AM on Wednesday, February 27, 2008.

Location three will be the Bookbeat (28 Bolinas Rd) from 7:30-9:00 AM on Tuesday, March 4, 2008.

I will schedule more locations in the future as time permits and if there is interest. Please feel free to email me about anything in the blog and any suggestions you have for the blog.

Project Updates

Some folks have been asking about the removal of the three parking spaces on Sir Francis Drake that the Council approved for removal a few weeks ago. This will be done in the next few weeks. Sorry it has taken so long, but we had to resolve all of the issues with the Sir Francis Drake Pedestrian Crossing Projec at Oak Tree Lane. All of the technical issues have been resolved and we will proceed with this project to create the solar powered overhead flashing light and pedestrian cross walk and the restriping of the area where the three parking spaces will be removed.

Park and Hill streets will be overlayed in the coming month or so. This will involve the removal of the existing asphalt concrete (pavement) and then the application of brand new asphalt concrete.

The Slope Stabilization Project on Upper Scenic Rd will also begin construction in the next month or so. The Town Council first must approve of the low bid at the March 5, 2008 meeting.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Blog # 3 - Town Council Meeting - February 6, 2008

For blog posting number 3 please see the summary below of actions taken by the Town Council at the February 6, 2008 meeting:
  • Approved a change order to install solar powered overhead flashing signal for the Sir Francis Drake and Oak Tree Lane pedestrian project. This means this project can commence construction very soon. As part of this change order the three parking spaces on SFD right behind the bus stop (that Town Council voted to remove at the January 2008 meeting) will be removed and the street will be retriped.

  • Approved low bid for the overlay of Hill Ave. and Park Road. The exisitng asphalt will be removed and brand new asphalt overlayed. This project will start construction within the next month, weather permitting.

  • Denied the appeal on 183 Frustuck which allows for the construction of a "super green" home on this private property.

  • Created a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Ordinance Review Committee consisting of two Council Members (Larry Bragman and Lew Tremaine), two Planning Comission Members (Pam Meigs and Brannon Ketcham) and two Design Review Committee Members (Shane Deal and Laura Kehrlein).

  • Appointed Lini Bodian to the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC). Congratulations to Lini!

  • The full Council gave direction to Ross Valley Fire Board Members Maggiore and Tremaine to submit an offer to Sleepy Hollow to become a full voting member of the Ross Valley Fire Joint Powers Authority. Sleepy Hollow's Fire Board must still review the proposal and then it must return to the Ross Valley Fire Board and to both Fairfax and San Anselmo Town Council's for final approval. You may view the details of this proposal at: http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/TownCouncil/TownCouncilPacket/RVFS%20Sleepy%20Hollow%20Report.pdf

  • Voted to send a letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture notifying the department of Fairfax's policy requiring notifcation and prohibitng the use of pesticides on or in the commons (open space and public lands) to erradicate the light brown apple moth.

There is a Town Council meeting scheduled for February 20, 2008 at 7:30 PM in the Women's Club. Agenda for this meeting will be posted on late Friday, February 15, 2008.

In Blog #4 I will be setting up office hours for folks to discuss any matters related to the Town they wish.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blog # 2 - Center Blvd. Improvement Project

For my second blog posting I am highlighting the Center Blvd. Improvement Project. The $1 million capital improvement project entails work on 1,500 lineal feet of Center Blvd. The project encompasses the design of new curbs, gutters and sidewalks, accessibility ramps, street lighting, landscape design, and bike lanes to complete the restoration of this major thoroughfare in downtown Fairfax. The project also includes pavement removal, grinding, and overlay.

In addition, Pastori Ave. is being upgraded with a new storm drain pipe, pavement removal, grinding, and overlay between Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and the entrance of the bridge. The entire project is expected to be completed at the end of April 2008. Please be advised it will be easier to use Sir Francis Drake Blvd. during construction on Center Blvd. and Pastori Ave.

The February 6, 2008 Town Council Meeting Agenda is posted on the Town Home page and the link is http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/TownCouncil/TownCouncilPacket/

Many thanks to the Public Works Department staff that worked very hard cleaning up the Town after the heavy rains on January 4th and again on January 25th. They worked 16 hours straight at one point removing branches from our streets and clearing storm drains. Many thanks also to the Police and Fire staff that also worked around the clock.

Michael Rock
Town Manager
Town of Fairfax

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Town Manager's First Blog - STORMY!!


Hello from Town Hall:

As I sit here writing my first blog I am grateful we survived last night without significant flooding. The Fairfax Creek level under Town Hall crested at about 7.9 feet just mere inches from flooding over the top. We are expecting more rain today but the creek level is 2.2 feet right now (NOON) so we should be OK for now. Thanks to the Town Council and Town staff and residents and businesses who helped get us through last night.

I apologize this first blog is coming more than two weeks after I started as Town Manager but I am also the Public Works Director until we can hire a new one. So please bear with me as I try to update this blog as often as I can get to it. We hope to have the position of Public Works Director filled by April.

Residents and businesses are reminded to have on hand battery operated radios, flashlights and candles at all times.

I will be setting up office hours in the upcoming couple of weeks so residents can drop in and talk about anything they would like. These office hours will take place at various businesses throughout the Town. Stay tuned.

Michael Rock
Town Manager

Friday, January 11, 2008

Final Blog post from Linda

This will be my final post as Fairfax Town Manager. Our new Town Manager Michael Rock will continue the blog.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the blog readers out there. This has been a lot of fun for me and I have appreciated everyone's feedback on this blog.

I know the Town will enjoy the leadership and guidance of an excellent new manager and I wish everyone a great 2008!

Linda

Strategic Financial Plan approved by Council Dec. 5th 2007

The Strategic Financial Plan has now been posted on the Town's website at
http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/TownCouncil/Strategic_Plan_web.pdf

Town Council adopts Goals and Strategies

The Town Council's Goals and Strategies document is now posted on the Town's website here
http://www.town-of-fairfax.org/TownCouncil/Goals_Strategies_2007_Adopted.pdf

This was accepted by the Council at its meeting of December 5, 2007.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Appointment of new Management Analyst

Please click to read the press release regarding the appointment of Yvonne Roberts as Management Analyst.

Town Treasurer Appointment

Please click to read the press release regarding new Town Treasurer Barbara Petty.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Strategic Planning Workshop - Sat., Jan. 12th

The Council will hold a workshop this Saturday, Jan. 12th from 9 a.m. - Noon at the Women's Club with the following agenda:

9 – 10:45 a.m. - Discussion with Catlin Properties regarding ideas for former Albertson’s site and Fair-Anselm property

10:45 – 11 Break

11 – Noon – Future Planning: Non-motorized transit / green issues – How to accomplish goals

The meeting is open to the public.

Ice Skating a big hit!

All told, we accommodated about 800 ice skaters over our two day "ice skating" event at the Pavilion this past weekend. Click to watch a brief video. Thank you to Fairfax Parks and Recreation Commission for coordinating and staffing this fun event!
video

Friday, January 04, 2008

Agenda for Jan. 9th meeting

The agenda for the next Council meeting on Jan. 9th is posted here:
http://www.townoffairfax.org/TownCouncil/TownCouncilPacket/

Storm Update - Fri. at 4:30 p.m.


The Fairfax Creek peaked at 9:45 a.m. this morning at six feet and subsequently subsided thereafter over a period of four to five hours. No major flooding was reported. Wind and downed trees caused most of the damage, with an awning detaching from a downtown business, and trees falling on homes, on vehicles and in several roadways. Several downed power lines were reported to PG&E. Fairfax Public Works cleared a large debris jam in Fairfax Creek at Town Hall and worked all day removing trees from roadways and clearing storm drains. Here is a photo of Public Works employee Tom Bruce using a chainsaw on the debris jam.

At this time, we have no closed roads in Fairfax and no reported flooding threatening private or public property.

The flood advisory expires at 5 p.m. today and the wind advisory expired at 4 p.m. The next storm is expected tomorrow (Saturday) in the late morning, with not as much force and predicted under two inches of rain.

The National Weather Service Forecast Discussion is located here http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=mtr&sid=mtr&pil=afd

The Fairfax Creek Gauge is located here (the gauge was inoperable for two hours today and is now back working)
http://www.rossvalleyfire.org/ffx_creek.html

American Red Cross Emergency Services can be reached at (866) 272-2237 and can provide assistance if anyone is unable to stay in their home due to the storm conditions.

Call 911 in the event of a life-threatening emergency

Fairfax Police Department 453-5330

Ross Valley Fire Department 258-4686

Fairfax Town Hall 453-1584 (Mon-Fri)

Fairfax Public Works 453-0291 (Mon-Fri)