The Coalition meets monthly with the City of San Rafael along with two other umbrella groups (Federation of Neighborhoods and Coalition of North San Rafael) to discuss activities, concerns and/or issues that are not readily addressed directly with the appropriate City agencies or where there is concern about the City’s approach. Items are placed on the agenda by the City and/or the three umbrella groups. This provides the Coalition with an opportunity to raise issues of particular interest to residents of our area. If you have any suggestions regarding potential topics for these meetings, we urge you to let us know via the Coalition Board contact form. Following is a summary of the most recent meeting:
- Public Safety Center: Cristine Allovich, Assistant City Manager gave an update on plans for the new Public Safety Center. These plans will be presented to the Planning Commission on July 26.
- Ritter Update: Andrew Henning, Director of Homeless Planning and Outreach gave an update on Ritter House relocation efforts. Some residents of North San Rafael expressed concern about possible relocation to a location in North San Rafael. Andrew Henning reported that currently, there is not a location that has been selected and until Ritter files an application the City cannot take any action.
The City and Ritter are continuing to work on a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the services that Ritter currently offers. The City is looking at the Food Bank, mail services and a mobile shower unit. There will be more presence of the Downtown Streets Team in the Ritter Area.
The City would like to help Ritter relocate and have come up with several potential places. In the future there will be a workshop on this issue.
- Whistlestop and 2nd and B Street Developments: Paul Jensen, Community Development Director, discussed Whistlestop and 2nd and B Street Developments. The 2nd and B Street location where there currently is a church and two Victorians is proposed for 41 living units. The Planning commission approved the project several month ago but some design elements had to go back to the Design Review and then to the Planning Commission. This will probably take several more months.
The Whistlestop proposal is on hold. Eden House and BioMarin have formed a joint development for that location. It has been said that the plan will keep the Depot but it is not known what use is planned for it.
- Drones: Glenn McElderry, Police Captain discussed the use of drones. Concerns about noise, invasion of privacy, inablility to identify the drone owners, and possible fire risk from the lithium batteries, etc. were expressed. San Rafael follows state law. In late 2015 AB856 extended privacy protections. This allows civil actions against offenders but currently there is no penal code to address problems. The law lags behind this use of technology and currently there are several bills, but as yet no laws. The bills include things such as mandatory registration with local authorities. Currently, by FAA regulation drones over ½ pound must register with the FAA. A request was made to add language to San Rafael WUI (Wildlife-Urban Interface) regulations to ban drones in the WUI areas to avoid fire hazard. Kate Colin, Vice Mayor, said she would check with the City Attorney to see if this is possible.