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


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


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.