Posted 12/11/15: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from December 9, 2015

Joint Meeting: City — Federation of Neighborhoods — Coalition of North San Rafael — San Pedro Road Coalition (combined November/December Meeting)

Item 1: Essential Facilities, presented by Mary McGrath of Mary McGrath Architects

Plans were presented for the new Public Safety Center, a combined police and fire facility across from City Hall; Fire Station 52 near Montecito Shopping Center, and Fire Station 57 near the Civic Center. The plans are not yet online, but project descriptions can be found at and the plans themselves should be available online soon.

The plans for the 44,000 square foot Public Safety Center involve changing D St to a 2-way St, building an underground police garage and re-routing of Fire Engine traffic to D St. Inside the “entry plaza,” which is placed as close to City Hall entrance as possible, will be consolidated Fire and Police services, a classroom, an office for emergency preparedness, etc. Since the project will be taking over space currently used for parking, the City is awaiting results from their parking study before deciding where the parking will be relocated. The project has a possible occupancy date of June 2019.

Work at the Fire Station at Montecito – station # 52 – will involve moving the tower and station so there will be more efficient traffic movement within the site.

Work at Fire Station #57 near the Civic Center will have an improved entrance-egress pattern. Work here must follow the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s requirements to be compatible with the Civic Center without detracting from it.

During construction, the functions of #52 and #57 will be relocated and consolidated.

All of the buildings will be LEEDS Gold. It is hoped that all three projects will be constructed simultaneously. The architects anticipate going to the Design Review Board in January 2016. An environmental consultant has been looking at the situation for the historic building that will be impacted.

Item 2: El Nino/Flood Preparation, presented by John Bruckbauer, SR Emergency Management Coordinator

Coordinator Bruckbauer passed out a brochure, which is available online

He urged that everyone sign up for ALERT MARIN and suggested that even if people have previously signed up under a different system, they should sign up again now.

John sends out weather updates to all city departments. There is a Preparedness Resource page on the city website which provides information on things such as locations to acquire sandbags.

There were questions about the City having loud speakers to notify people. (There currently are no loudspeakers, but bullhorns are available.) It was also suggested that the City prepare a video to go onto public access TV that lays out the City’s preparedness.

The situation in the past with mudslides in areas such as Loch Lomond and Glenside and many other places in the City was discussed. Mitigation measures have been done, but do not guarantee that there will be no more mudslides.  It is important that residents identify problem areas so the City can prioritize future mitigation measures once funds are available. People need to keep areas by their homes clear of debris and should notify the Department of Public Works when they notice that catchment systems are full.

It was emphasized that individuals and neighborhoods should be prepared. CERT training is available and John will help groups with GET Ready training.

Item 3: SR Planning Project Updates and Parking to be presented by Paul Jensen, Community Development Director

This topic was postponed until the next meeting since those who had suggest the item were not present.

Item 4: Nixel, updated by SR police officer Lieutenant Alan Piombo.

Nixel, an alert system used to let the public know of emergencies, was discussed. The system can be accessed via an app. Currently, the San Rafael police department uses the system only for true emergencies because if the system becomes overloaded people unsubscribe. Mayor Gary Phillips said that the City needs to know what kind of information residents would like to get. Rebecca Woodbridge will look into this.


City Manager Jim Schutz announced that the Citizen of the Year nominations are due January 5th. Nomination forms are available on the city website.

Amy Likover of Gerstle Park gave an update on the Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association Crime and Safety Transparency Sub-committee which has met twice and is focusing on more accessible and informative crime reporting (both historic data and immediate information) on the Police Department website and through their various reporting media. The Police Department liaison for this project is Corporal Scott Ingels.