Los Altos City Council

September 14, 2021

The City Council approved support to design a formal pedestrian trail between Redwood Grove Nature Preserve and Fremont Road in Los Altos Hills. An informal trail has existed for years, but its safety is undetermined. The issues to resolve for a secure path are engineering, environmental permits, and responsibility for construction and maintenance. City Manager will work with Los Altos Hills staff and the Parks and Recreation Commission and other Commissions as necessary and return to the City Council with recommendations.

The City Council introduced an amendment to an ordinance of the Los Altos Municipal Code for “Safe Storage of Firearms” in the City of Los Altos. The possibility was first discussed at the April 27, 2021, City Council meeting. The state of California has no law about safe storage – arms in a locked storage unit and with safety triggers on firearms – although numerous studies have determined the need for legislation or an ordinance by a city. The proposed amendment to the current ordinance about safe storage of firearms applies only to residences in the City of Los Altos. Adoption is tentatively scheduled for October 12, 2021.

The City Council indefinitely tabled the formation of a City Council Friends of the Library (FOL) Subcommittee that would address the space difficulties for the Los Altos FOL.

The City Council amended Zoning ordinances of the Los Altos Municipal Code to provide objective zoning standards for multi-family and mixed-housing development projects that are consistent with current State laws. The zoning must allow a variety of housing opportunities of quality, safety, privacy, and that save the character of the neighborhood. The zoning amendment will allow applicants, staff, other decision makers, and the community to be able to evaluate the projects.

The City Council received an update from the Council Legislative Subcommittee. Of 22 bills os which vice-mayor Enander and member Weinberg kept track, SB 640 (authorizes cities and counties to propose projects to be jointly funded by transportation funds) has been signed and AB 473 (changes to the California Public Records Act) has been sent to the Governor’s desk. A full report on the bills will be presented at an October board meeting after the bills are signed, fail to be signed, or vetoed.

September 21, 2021

Members of the City Council want to enact rules that would limit the City’s ability to sell, transfer fee ownership, or re-designate land around the Los Altos Civic Center. The City Council directed the City Attorney and staff to revise a zoning amendment to the Public Land Protection (PLP) Ordinance by adding a Public Land Preservation Overlay District ordinance to the zoning of the Los Altos Municipal Code for the Civic Center site. The proposed PLP Overlay District Ordinance would give zoning protections to the civic center but also extend to other properties. It did not, according to city staff, guarantee that any sale of land would be subject to voter approval, and the ordinance could be repealed by a future council.

Of the four options presented, Staff recommended option 2 which adds a qualifying statement that a future City Council by simple majority may repeal the Ordinance. The Planning Commission voted 6-0 against the ordinance amendment, saying it is overreach for a non-existing problem.

In public comment, several residents said the proposed option to the ordinance is an attempt by the people behind Measure C to overturn the will of the voters and substitute their judgement. Los Altos voters rejected Measure C in 2018 requiring a vote for any change to public land use.

Others stated that the Civic Center land should be designated as Parks or Other Open Space which was the proposal promised and voted on by the City Council in October 2018 in order to defeat Measure C.

A few public comments supported the voting option.

Claire Noonan, Observer

The staff will return with explanation of the possible changes at the October 24, 2021, City Council meeting.

Los Altos School Board

August 16, 2021

Superintendent Jeff Baier presented information about what LASD schools have done to prepare the for 2021-22 school year. Unlike last year, the state of California is prioritizing in-person instruction, and there will be no virtual option offered this year. LASD has contracted with StrideK12 to offer an independent study option in lieu of virtual school. Currently only 18 students in the district have elected to do independent study and all other students will be back on campus for 5 full days of in-person instruction. The board members unanimously approved changes to the district policy on independent study which can be found here: Independent Study Policy

During public comment, parents requested on-campus testing as well as mandatory outdoor masking. Although the California Department of Public Health does not require masking outdoors, the LASD school board directed Superintendent Baier to require that masks be worn even when outdoors.

Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon also gave a brief presentation on upcoming changes to the state budget for education. Much of the new funding will be program based (e.g. free meals, universal Transitional Kindergarten TK) and we are still waiting for more details from the state. LASD is unlikely to be significantly impacted due to demographics. Mr. Kenyon also requested a special meeting on September 13, 2021 in order to approve the 2020-21 actual budget which is due to the county on September 15.

August 20, 2021

Superintendent Jeff Baier provided updates on the district case counts for COVID-19. More information can be found using this link: LASD coronavirus information

Outdoor masks are now required with exceptions for certain after-school sports at the Jr. High level (e.g. cross-country while actively running). There was pushback on the outdoor mask requirement from some parents, and board members emphasized that they want to start the school year conservatively and will re-evaluate throughout the school year.

On-campus student pool testing for COVID-19 will again be offered through Concentric. It is now available to all students (TK – 8th grade). Parents must complete a consent form if they would like their students to be tested on-campus.

Assistant Superintendent Mrs. McGonagle provided an update on professional development for teachers. Special programs such as PE, music, and computer science are back. Both students and teachers alike are experiencing a much more normal school year.

The board also discussed various changes to the board policies, regulations, and bylaws in order to revise outdated language.

Stella Kam, Observer

Los Altos City Council July-August

July 13, 2021

The City Council adopted a Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Resolution to encourage voluntary water conservation efforts throughout the city as a proactive step in response to the current drought conditions. Although in April 2021, Governor Newsom declared a drought emergency Santa Clara County was excluded. However, Santa Clara Valley Water (Valley Water) Board of Directors declared a water shortage emergency and called for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use. Cal Water is currently considering additional water restrictions but has not established water restrictions beyond the standard prohibited uses of water.

The City Council appointed Mayor Neysa Fligor and Vice Mayor Anita Enander to serve on the new City Council Housing Element Subcommittee. The formation of a subcommittee was decided at the June 8, 2021, City Council meeting when Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) was hired to complete the Housing Element Update. The purpose of the Subcommittee is to focus on the public engagement component of the Housing Element update effort. Staff will return to the City Council at a future meeting with the public engagement/outreach plan once it is drafted with input from LWC and from the City Council Subcommittee.

August 24, 2021

After discussion about a new 10-year license with Friends of the Library at the current location, the City Council, instead, approved and directed staff to extend the existing license agreement with Los Altos Friends of the Library through August 2021. In the meantime, Council also directed the city attorney, staff, and Friends of the Library to explore co-locating Friends of the Library to Woodland Library.

The City Council adopted the Drought Response and Water Conservation Efforts supporting Cal Water’s implementation of and encouragement of water restrictions and conservation efforts by residents, businesses, and other water users in Los Altos.

The City Council received for first reading an ordinance amending the Los Altos Municipal Code to provide objective zoning standards for future housing development projects. These objective standards are intended to provide clear and measurable site development standards against which applicants, staff, decision makers and the community can evaluate a project, thus eliminating subjectivity when approving the projects.  The new objective standards aim to expedite new housing construction.

These standards are being developed in response to recent legislation at the State level, although the City feels the legislation reduces the city’s ability to exercise discretion in the review of a project, either a multi-family housing project or a mixed-use project.

Council discussed multiple problems with the document and asked several questions for staff and the Planning Commission to resolve. For example, what about houses that don’t conform under new standards. Would owners have to rebuild to the new standards in the event of, for instance, a fire? The staff and Planning Commission will make revisions for the problems suggested before adoption of the ordinance scheduled for September 14, 2021. It will take effect 30 days later.

Claire Noonan, Observer

Los Altos City Council, June 2021

June 8, 2021

The City Council wishes to achieve a Housing Element Update that reflects the City’s goals (including community involvement) and can be certified by the State of California in compliance with State law. The City’s sixth cycle Housing Element update must be completed by January 2023. State law requires that every eight years cities prepare an update of Housing Element, a guide for the housing needs of all segments of its population.

To enlist a consultant experienced in developing a Housing Element Update, Council approved adding some Capital Investment Projects funds for the Housing Element Update and authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC) to provide the Update.

In addition, new changes in State law (SB 166) related to zoning creates new pressures for the City to ensure that sites identified for lower-income housing are not concentrated in one area but must be spread out.

Also, the City will face higher scrutiny for non-vacant and vacant sites during this cycle. State regulations designate land which is deemed ‘non-vacant’ and ‘vacant.’

Finally, the City will need to accommodate a much higher number of lower income housing units to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) State mandates to be completed by 2031, which may require the City to amend its general plan and zoning code to allow for more housing opportunities for residents—regardless of income.

Discussion about community outreach and engagement included organizing a variety of ways to educate the community about the heavily regulated State requirements for the Housing Element Update and RHNA before the project is completed.

The City Council heard an update from the City Council Legislative Subcommittee on State Assembly and Senate bills that affect the positions of the League of California Cities. For bills which had been previously on the “watch” list, four have been changed to specific positions and the subcommittee has letters for the Assembly and Senate committees to be approved by Council. Of those bills, City Council opposes AB 602 which changes laws that govern local development impact fees, such as Traffic Impact fees; opposes AB 989 which creates a new appeals commission to make judgements on local public health and safety decisions about housing development; opposes AB 1401 that prohibits local government from imposing minimum parking requirements for housing. The city supports identical SB 4 and AB 14 which prioritize deployment of broadband infrastructure in California.

June 22, 2021

The City Council welcomed a new City Manager. Gabriel Engeland will begin work in Los Altos on July 19, 2021. He previously was City Manager in Sierra Madre, California, and also worked in Trinidad, Colorado and Gilbert, Arizona. He received his Masters Degree in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. His expertise is finance and budget.

The City Council directed the city staff to file an appeal of the City’s housing allocation for the sixth housing element cycle to the Association of Bay Area Governments/Regional Housing Needs Allocation (ABAG RHNA). The appeal against California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) challenges the method used by HCD to determine the numbers of housing needed in Los Altos.

The City Council Legislative Subcommittee presented further update on State legislation the Council has been asked to support or oppose as recommended by the League of California Cities. The Council voted to support SB 16. The bill makes subject to disclosure every incident involving unreasonable or excessive force by police, and any finding that an officer failed to intervene against another officer using unreasonable or excessive force. Councilmember Jonathan Weinberg states the bill provides transparency to police action and in doing so augments public trust in the police. On reconsideration, the Council changed 3/2 to support AB 989 about an appeals commission to make judgements on local public health and safety decisions about housing development. The council changed 3/2 to support AB 1401. The bill prohibits a local government from imposing a minimum automobile parking requirement, eliminates expensive parking mandates in areas with good transit, and supports changes to public driving and parking models in the future, according to Member Weinberg. Vice Mayor Enander states that the legislation would take away the ability of local governments to make parking requirements.

Observer Claire Noonan

Los Altos City Council May, 2021

May 11, 2021

Council reviewed a resolution to endorse the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act of 2021, (H.R. 2307). The resolution would recognize the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emission and would align with a City Council decision to adopt REACH practices for all new building in the city. HR 2307 creates a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund that will provide a steadily rising carbon fee and return the revenues to Americans as a dividend. This is estimated to reduce carbon emissions 90 percent by 2050 and to offset the cost of higher energy prices for consumers. The council voted unanimously to send the resolution to the City Environmental Commission for review and recommendations.

Vice Mayor Anita Enander and Council Member Jonathan Weinberg discussed seven of thirty-four bills in the current legislature that have been proposed to watch by the League of California Cities (LAC). Of most importance is opposition to SB 9 and SB 556. The mayor was authorized to sign a letter of opposition to both bills.

 SB 9 makes two important changes to state law:

  • It allows homeowners in most areas around the state to divide their property into two lots, thereby increasing opportunities for homeownership in their neighborhood.
  • It allows two homes to be built on each of those lots, with the effect of legalizing fourplexes in areas that previously only allowed one home. 

SB 556 would prohibit a local government or local publicly owned electric utility from unreasonably denying the leasing or licensing of its street light poles or traffic signal poles to communications service providers for the purpose of placing small wireless facilities on those poles.

In addition, the mayor was authorized to sign a letter to support SB 612. The bill aims to ensure all California ratepayers have fair and equal access to benefits associated with investor-owned utility (IOU) legacy energy resources. Public comment supports the Council position on SB 612.

May 25, 2021

After many debates and studies at Council meetings on the fate of Halsey House in Redwood Grove, questions still haven’t been answered adequately. City Council approved funds for three consultants to make recommendation on the property. The Architectural Resource Group will provide historical structure analysis. Page & Turnbull is to provide a historical resource evaluation. Both reports are important because the house is currently a designated historical resource. David J. Powers & Associates will review California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) questions. With active pro and con positions from public comment, it is hoped for a decision from the recommendations to either renovate or demolish the Halsey House part of the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve.

 

The City Council adopted 3/2 an amended resolution to take a leadership role on the question of the disagreement between statements by Council member Lynette Lee Eng and Los Altos resident Kenan Moos. The resolution noted that the community is affected, and Council meeting time is negatively impacted by the conflict. In the resolution the Los Altos City Council asked residents to join the Council in finding ways to move forward and unite the community. Public comment of nearly eighty residents and seventeen written comments did not lead to resolution. The Council took no further action to resolve the disagreement between Lee Eng and Moos beyond adopting the amended resolution

The City Council received an additional update on the legislative bills the city is asked to oppose or support as suggested by the League of California Cities (LAC). The bills take a position on legislation that affects the cities, mainly on revising housing regulations. The total list from LAC has been reduced to twenty-two bills. The Council agreed on authorization of additional letters for six of the bills moving from the Assembly to Senate or vice versa, including further support for AB 612 and opposition to SB 9.

Claire Noonan, Observer

Los Altos City Council April 2021

April 13

The City Council received the Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR) with amended and now complete data for calendar year 2020. Council authorized staff to submit the report to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

A Housing Element provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for all income levels, and strategies to provide for those housing needs. The annual APR report also demonstrates housing permit progress toward the City’s part of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). In 2020 the 444-450 First Street development provided three moderate-income and one low-income unit of the 26 total units. In addition, 53 Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are approved by the Planning Commission and 25 ADUs are at final stages by the Building Division. The current numbers are concerning to reach the number of affordable housing units needed by completion of the 8-year Housing Element cycle in 2023 and are fewer than the number of affordable housing units needed by the city for RHNA, due in Summer 2021. Public comments on the APR that signaled ‘no’ came from those who remain attached to single-family housing with spacious yards, oppose increased traffic and infrastructure, want to retain parks and open space, and think that ‘local control’ is being taken over by the State. Those signaling ‘yes’ for the need for more housing density promote affordable housing models like those being developed at 330 Distel Court.

The City Council received and provided feedback on the Los Altos Community Center Phased Opening Plan. The project is scheduled to be finished June 10, 2021, but completion is still affected by Covid restrictions. The phased opening for summer and fall parks and recreation and community use are projected to be limited. Move in and operational training will begin mid-summer 2021. Facility rentals will open in August 2021. A Grand Opening is scheduled for Fall 2021. In-person special events will be permitted in October 2021.

April 27

EAH Housing and its team, the proposed developer of the 330 Distel Circle affordable housing project, were introduced to the City Council. EAH provided the City Council and the community with information about the other affordable housing projects they have developed and shared their concept for the 330 Distel Circle site to meet both the current as well as the emerging housing needs and demands of Los Altos and Santa Clara County’s lower-income and workforce residents. The City has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Santa Clara and the City Council will continue its financial support for this project.

City Council authorized the Interim City Manager to execute contract Amendment No. 3 on behalf of the City with NOVA Partners for additional construction management services on the Los Altos Community Center project through June 30, 2021. This amendment includes essential construction management services needed to complete the construction of the Los Altos Community Center due to the project schedule being extended owing to delays caused by COVID-19 and other unforeseen circumstances. The amendment includes twenty-two items to justify costs. The amount of $120,884 is still underbudget to complete the project.

In addition, City Council authorized the Interim City Manager to execute contract Amendment No. 5 on behalf of the City with Noll & Tam Architects for the Los Altos Community Center Project. The amendment includes unforeseen design updates and consulting services that occurred since October 2020 and an extension to match the current construction schedule. Although originally the project was to be completed by November 2020, the cost of Amendment No.5 at $117,581 is still underbudget to complete the project by June 2021.

Council member Jonathan Weinberg initiated a request for City Council to produce a Safe Firearms Storage Ordinance. In the California Penal Code 25100 “a person commits the crime of ‘criminal storage of a firearm’…unless reasonable action is taken by the person to secure the firearm against access by the child.” The issue is identifying “safe storage”. Of public comments, one was against an ordinance and ten others strongly supported the measure. Council voted 4/1 to direct staff to draft an ordinance to be modelled on the Santa Clara County ordinance that specifies any safely stored firearm in the home be kept unloaded or with a trigger-lock in a locked container.

Claire Noonan, Observer

Los Altos City Council March 2021

March 9, 2021

The City Council voted 3 to 2 to regulate, not ban, boardinghouses.

“Boardinghouse” is defined by the current ordinance to include any housing unit where lodging is furnished for compensation to more than two individuals. This allows a homeowner or renter to have one or two boarders without having the home defined as a boardinghouse.

In 2019, the Council considered banning boardinghouses, but in October 2020 the Planning Commission determined that an outright ban would further reduce city housing options.

Public comment and the two Council members who disagreed with regulation said that the several unpermitted boarding houses operating in Los Altos create overcrowding, noise, traffic and illegal parking conditions in neighborhoods. Since the Los Altos Municipal Code does not contain provisions relating to boardinghouses, the City Council directed the staff to tighten up relevant land-use definitions by eliminating ambiguous overlap and needless gaps in the Code and to regulate what is now only implicitly prohibited by omission. This will aid in the city’s enforcement efforts.

Instead of an outright ban, the Council’s regulations for boardinghouses would preserve the character of residential neighborhoods in Los Altos.

March 23, 2021

The Council passed a resolution to condemn Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) violence.

Decisions on the Housing Element of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) will be continued until an April 2021 Council meeting.

Claire Noonan, Observer

Los Altos City Council – February 2021

February 9, 2021

The City Council further discussed issues related to the large number of affordable housing requirements issued to the City by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The question is whether the Council wishes to prepare a response to the RHNA assignment for the City. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is the body which assigns the RHNA number of housing units the City will be expected to add to its area housing. The City can appeal its numbers, and the timeframe to do so is by Summer 2021. Vice Mayor Anita Enander, with public comment from the Embarcadero Institute president, made a power point presentation of the reasons to appeal the numbers.

Mayor Neysa Fligor and council members Sally Meadows and Jonathan Weinberg questioned the power point because a majority had voted at the January 26 meeting to not allow a presentation by the Embarcadero Institute. Residents who gave public comments at the meeting also questioned the procedure that allowed the president of the Institute to give remarks after the council had voted to reject hearing its analysis. At the end, Enander suggested engaging with other cities in the region to revisit the numbers and to identify ways to preserve land for affordable housing with local zoning code changes. At Mayor Fligor’s recommendation, the council tabled the item, allowing Enander to re-do her presentation with the directive that information be presented to staff and fellow council members prior the intended council meeting. No specific future date was announced.

The City Council reaffirmed commitment to a diverse, supportive, inclusive, and protective community especially in public City spaces. The staff was directed to distribute a copy of Resolution to every Los Altos City Commission and include the resolution in the Commissioner Orientation and Handbook. The project had been initiated on January 10, 2017. The advantage of distributing the handbook is to reaffirm and support the City’s commitment. It is an opportunity to emphasize the intent of the Resolution, given the current events in society.

February 23, 2021

The City Council heard presentations on three housing projects. The City Council approved with a unanimous vote, as the Planning Commission had recommended, the construction of the five-unit condominium project at 140 Lyell including one Below Market Rental at low-income level. The project meets Density Bonus Review and Zoning Code requirements. In addition, it satisfies the Reach Codes (‘reach’ for zero-emission electric buildings—where all equipment is powered by clean renewable electricity) for new construction and provides progress on the city’s RHNA needs. Concerns from public comment included privacy, parking and traffic, and the height and bulk of the project. All concerns are addressed in the revised plan, including exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines.

The Council approved the final tract map that subdivided the property for 450 First Street which will include four affordable housing units. The Interim City Manager was authorized to execute the agreement. The revised plan included improvements to the site and affected properties based on earlier public comments.

The Council received an update from the Community Development Director on the 330 Distel Circle affordable housing project. Three-quarters of the 90-unit site would be low-income level units.

The Council received the staff presentation from the Engineering Services Director on the Community Center Construction Monthly Update. Site demolition began in September 2019 with the completion to be by December 2020. The project was delayed by the arrival of the pandemic. In addition, PG&E delayed the capping of gas lines, and below grade conditions revealed at demolition had to be fixed. The projected completion date is now April 2021.

The City Council presented its 2021 goals from the retreat on January 30, 2021. There are eight goals with creating diverse, affordable housing and supporting mix and density of land use set as the first two goals.

Submitted by Claire Noonan

Los Altos City Council January 2021

January 12, 2021

The City Council officially appointed Brad Kilger as Interim City Manager. He retired after forty years’ experience as City Manager for a number of California cities. Although retired, he helped South Lake Tahoe as Interim City Manager in 2020 during the initial pandemic months. He is expected to serve Los Altos well and provide more time to find a permanent City Manager.

The City Council adopted the Cut the Commute resolution to support the goal of reducing vehicular commute and increasing remote work in the Bay Area for city employees. The Los Altos City priority is to “adopt policies and practices that advance the City’s sustainability and GHG emission reductions.” It follows the Bay Area Air Quality Management District request to employers to pledge to allow employees to telecommute one or two days per week even after restrictions stemming from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are eased. The city’s IT staff has established the necessary infrastructure and tools to make remote work successful, and the past nine months have demonstrated that the City has the ability and means to have city employees successfully work remotely. The resolution demonstrates the City’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and protecting the environment.

The City Council accepted the State Certified Local Government grant in the amount of $34,100 for the Halsey House Feasibility Study. In addition, the City Council authorized appropriation of $16,353 of Park-in-Lieu funds to the Halsey House Feasibility Study for the City’s matching contribution amount. The Historic Structure Report and any other studies will be shared with the Historical, Parks and Recreation, and Finance Commissions. Recommendations will be formulated on the direction they would like the Council to go with the Halsey House in Redwood Grove. The recommendations will be delivered by March 2021.

The Halsey House is located at 482 University Avenue in what is now the City-owned 6.12-acre Redwood Grove Nature Preserve. The 1923 house, a local historical landmark, was purchased by the City of Los Altos in 1974 to be part of a nature preserve and for recreation programs.

January 26, 2021

After negotiations first discussed in an April 2020 council meeting, the City Council adopted the resolution amending the North County Library Authority Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) Amendment. The original JPA language stated that the two member entities (LAH and LA) will split specific expenses while the City of Los Altos provide staff and basic support to the JPA. The NCLA Commission recommended amending the JPA such that NCLA will pay the cost of consultants hired by NCLA to provide administrative support services using NCLA funds. Los Altos will no longer provide staff and basic support to the JPA. Both Los Altos Hills and Los Altos have now approved the amendment.

The City Council authorized the Interim City Manager to approve the final Tract Map and execute the Subdivision Improvement Agreement for development of the housing project at 389 First Street. It will contain one unit of two-bedroom affordable housing at the moderate-income level.

At the end of the meeting, Anita Enander made a request to have the Embarcadero Institute, an interest group, discuss its views on the RHNA issue facing the region. Mayor Neysa Fligor denied the request, and two other council members agreed that it’s not wise to bring questionable groups before the Council. City staff said they were in the process of hiring a consulting group for upward of $500,000 to assist in preparing the city for the updated housing element. Results from the consulting group leave open the possibility of appealing the RHNA required numbers if the City finds it cannot accommodate the RHNA numbers for affordable housing.

Claire Noonan, Observer

Los Altos City Council November 2020

November 10, 2020

The City Council adopted four ordinances to amend the Los Altos Municipal Energy Code relating to REACH state amendments to the 2019 California Energy Code for All-Electric Buildings discussed in October council meetings. In addition, the Council adopted the ordinance amending a section of the Green Building Standards Code for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.

The City Council will draft a letter to submit to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) providing the Council’s views on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) from the update of the allocation process presented at the meeting. The detailed presentation from the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCMD) determined that the nine Bay Area counties forming the regional RHNA that includes Los Altos would have to plan for 441,176 total units across the very low, low, below moderate, and moderate income level housing by 2050. The public comments offered opinion from outrage to agreement that communities must relent in their opposition to housing needs. The ABAG presentation from the HCMD explained the factors that apply so that Los Altos’ allocation will go from 477 to 2,267 units, and the City would be required to meet 20% (580 ‘very low’ and 333 ‘low’income) of the housing goal by 2031.

Los Altos Vice Mayor Neysa Fligor, the City’s representative to ABAG, supports the methodology for arriving at the numbers but asked that the process be delayed. She feels there is no way to reach the benchmark for even the next two years, given the trouble to reach the current required units for 2023. A major problem for Los Altos is its zoning ordinances which limit building height. The letter will be written and submitted before November 27, 2020, the end of the committee’s public comment period for the proposed methodology to determine housing requirements.

November 24, 2020

City Council received the final recommendations from the Citizens’ Police Task Force. The report discusses, in detail, steps to address the needs of the stakeholders and the Los Altos community concerning police services. After comments and analysis of the job description of the position of School Resource Officer (SRO), it was decided to discontinue the SRO services at Los Altos High School. If, on occasion, police resources are needed the Police department will be called.

After fifty public comments and discussion by the council members, decisions were passed to enact measures for the process to file complaints against police officers. There are two detailed ways to submit complaints – either directly to the Police Department or to an independent third- party auditor. There also is a long list of factors to use to track complaints with the police and resolve them. In addition, an annual report of complaints and resolutions will be completed and available to the community. There will be a cost for the services of a third-party independent auditor.

A letter has been drafted to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) from The City of Los Altos, in agreement with the Cities Association of Santa Clara County, that  explains objections to the methodology that allocates the largest share of housing unit needs to Santa Clara County and unreasonable shares to the City of Los Altos. The letter states that the City agrees with the Cities Association that the RHNA process should be delayed until the State has a better understanding of the impact of COVID. See the notes explained at the November 10 meeting for details of the problems perceived by Los Altos and the Cities Association.