Weekly Report for the Week Ending September 22nd, 2006
September 23, 2006
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending September 22nd, 2006.
1. Meeting Notes
The City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 26th will convene at 5:30 PM for a Closed Session, and at 6:00 PM for a City Council meeting that consists largely of presentations and three study sessions (website, City Charter, and development of a closed circuit camera system for preventing crime and illegal dumping). Note that there is no morning session on Tuesday.
2. Greenridge Drive Grading Issue
As you will recall, a number of residents raised concerns during the Open Forum session at your most recent City Council meeting regarding grading activities at the end of Greenridge Drive in the El Sobrante area of Richmond. An investigation by the Fire Department, Engineering, and Building Services revealed that the property owner had received a letter from the Fire Department related to the Very High Fire Hazard Zone program. A letter of this type is routinely sent to owners of property with a significant fuel load in the form of high weeds and unkempt vegetation. In this case, in response to the letter, the property owner hired a contractor to clear the weeds and brush, but also had the contractor regrade a dirt road on the property while doing this clearing work. Engineering confirmed with the contractor that he was instructed to regrade the road to an East Bay MUD gate at the end of the property.
The letter to the property owner from the Fire Department does not permit the property owner to perform any type of grading operation. It only allows the clearing of weeds for a fire break. The Building Services Department posted a Stop Work notice at the site this past Wednesday and has sent a notice to the property owner detailing the steps that must be taken to rectify this violation. These steps include submitting a grading plan, explaining the need for the road, submitting an erosion control plan, and describing any future use of the property. After these submittals are reviewed and discussed with the property owner, staff will determine whether or not a grading permit should be issued. If the grading permit is not allowed, then staff will meet with the City Attorney to determine the course of action to be taken against the property owner.
3. Meeting with Neighborhood Housing Services
As you may recall, the City Council deferred its consideration regarding the proposed developer of lots on South 7th and South 8th Streets (Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services [RNHS]) until after a meeting with the City Manager. This past week, I met with representatives of RNHS, along with Housing Authority Executive Director Tim Jones, and Redevelopment Agency staff members Lisa Hamburger and Alicia Klein. It was an excellent meeting that helped all parties get an understanding of fairly complex issues related to the development of these properties. We collectively concluded that there needs to be some additional background research on the issues, and at least one follow-up meeting, before the item can be back on the Redevelopment Agency agenda for policy direction. We will keep you informed.
4. Completion of the Bay Trail Gap Closure along the Richmond Parkway
The closure of the one mile gap in the Bay Trail between Gertrude and Pennsylvania along the Richmond Parkway has been completed. ABAG and RWQCB made their final walk through of the project and have approved the construction of the improvements which they funded. As a result, the City will be receiving a reimbursement check from these agencies totaling $91,650. Staff will be meeting with State Parks and Bay Area Air Quality Management District staff for their final project inspections next month.
5. Growth Management Program
City Engineer Rich Davidson is representing the City on the Contra Costa Growth Management Program Task Force, which met this past week at the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) offices. Provisions of the Measure J transportation sales tax measure require that each city adopt a growth management element (GME) as part of its General Plan. The GME must outline a city’s goals and policies for managing growth, and indicate how it intends to comply with Measure J requirements. By adopting and implementing a GME, a city can receive its share of the Local Transportation Maintenance and Improvement funds, which Richmond staff is proposing to use for funding its annual pavement management programs, and also be eligible for Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) grant funds. We will work to include an acceptable GME as part of the City’s General Plan process.
6. Quiet Zones
City Engineer Rich Davidson and Assistant City Attorney Carlos Privat met with representatives of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), FRA, BNSF and the Richmond Pacific Railroad to discuss the improvements required to make the Marina Bay area grade crossings qualify for a quiet zone. As a result of these meetings, the City now has a list of specific improvements, which includes pavement markings, additional medians, bollards, and signage, required for the crossings on Marina Bay Parkway, Regatta Blvd. and Marina Way South. In accordance with City Council-imposed Conditions of Approval, these improvements will be paid for with the money that the City received from the nearby Pulte Home development.
7. Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
The Finance Department has completed the final draft of a comprehensive Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The document will be reviewed by City department staff through early next week, for proposed distribution to the City Council before the end of September. We are planning to schedule a City Council Study Session on the CIP during the month of October, with the specific date yet to be determined.
8. Richmond Plunge
City Engineer Rich Davidson (yes, that Rich Davidson – obviously a busy lad) and Rosemary Corbin, the Vice President of Save the Richmond Plunge, met with news producers from NBC 11News this past Wednesday regarding the Richmond Plunge. The renovation of the Plunge is one of 25 projects that qualified for a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant has a different twist to it in that the public can vote to select the winners. The winning projects will get to divide $1,000,000. The public can vote for a project on line by logging onto http://www.partnersinpreservation.com/index.php and following the directions. Individuals may cast one vote per day until the end of October. NBC 11News was very interested in the history of the Plunge and how it touched the lives of the people who work and live in Richmond. Ms. Corbin’s interview will be aired on Friday.
9. “Equal Time” – The Maritime Child Care Center
Also a finalist in the National Trust for Historic Preservation grant program is the renovation of the Maritime Child Care Center, which is the World War II era child care center for working mothers. Once again, the public can vote for this outstanding project, which is an integral part of the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park, by logging onto http://www.partnersinpreservation.com/index.php and following the directions.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week.