Posted 10/4/15: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from Sept. 30, 2015

City/ Federation of Neighborhoods/Coalition of North San Rafael/San Pedro Road Coalition

Whistlestop Update — Item proposed by Amy Likover on behalf of the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods.  Paul Jensen, Community Development Director, explained that formal applications are in but are incomplete.  A consultant has been hired for the EIR and will be part of the 30-day scoping session which will probably begin about the first of the new year.  The EIR will take about a year to complete.  The City will post a flow chart of the various stages and fill in times for the various steps as soon as they are available.

Presentation of the draft Junior Second Unit concept and draft ordinance — Item proposed by the City. Paul Jensen and Rachel Ginis of LilyPad Homes explained the concept of repurposing an existing bedroom in a house to a second unit.  The lot size of the property must be at least 5,000 square feet and the junior second unit must have its own entry door and an efficiency kitchen including a small sink and place to use plug-in kitchen appliances such as microwave ovens.  The owner of the property must live either in the main house or the junior second unit.  Fees that a standard second unit entail such as sewer fees will not apply. No additional parking will be required for the junior second unit provided that the off-street parking for the residence complies with the City ordinance requirements in place at the time of the request to create the junior second unit.

An ordinance to put this concept in the SR Municipal Code is being drafted and will be presented to the City on October 27th.

PG&E Clean Up at 999 3rd Street — Item proposed by PG&E. Tracey Craig of Craig Communications gave an update.  The work to remove contaminated soil will begin around November 5th and for the most part will take place inside a large tent.  Work will occur Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some weekend work as allowed by the City of San Rafael.  Between three and five trucks will enter and exit the site per hour.  More information is available from Tracey Craig at (510) 334-4866 or  tracey@craig-communications.com

Community Engagement — Item proposed by Sara Jensen on behalf of the San Pedro Road Coalition. Sara gave two examples of times when communication about projects had failed to reach impacted residents and the problems such lack of information triggered. She suggested that the City set up a system under which HOA’s and  Neighborhood Umbrella Groups such as the Federation and the two Coalitions could sign up to receive email about any projects proposed for their areas.  This would include projects that require legal notification as well as DPW projects or city meetings considering changes that have potential to impact their areas.  They then could post information on their websites and send communications to residents who might be impacted.  Rebecca Woodbury, Senior Management Analyst described some to the communication ideas that the City has been working on since they held workshops on improving communication.  She agreed that the idea presented to ensure that the leadership of HOA’s and wider neighborhood groups received notice about projects in their areas was a good one.

Announcements:  Amy Likover invited everyone to the San Rafael Heritage Inaugural Social on Wednesday, October 28 from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 1312 Mission Avenue, SR.  The meeting is hosted by our city’s “new” Historic Preservation Organization. RSVP to 415-450-1520 or alikover@aol.com

Amy also described Gerstle Park’s efforts to repair/replace sidewalks which has been temporarily halted to make City policies clear.  Gerstle Park has also set up a Crime and Safety Transparency Initiative.