Notes for Los Altos City Council- February 2017

February 14, 2017

“Diverse Community Resolution” #2017-07 was adopted with four city council members voting yes and one abstention. The resolution reaffirms the City’s commitment to a diverse, supportive, inclusive, and protective community. Six speakers agreed on the value of the resolution. Six residents spoke against the resolution fearing an intent to impel the city to become a ‘sanctuary’ city and arguing that the rights of U.S. citizens are not held by the undocumented. The Los Altos Chief of Police came forward to advise the members and audience that nothing in the resolution conflicts with police department policies and procedures. Council member Jan Pepper reminded the audience that we are all immigrants except Native Americans and tolerance is one of the important values for a community.

City Council directed the staff to revise the six areas for involvement and action on the City Council 2017 Strategic Six priorities which were based on a discussion at the retreat on January 28, 2017. The plan was drawn up by Chris Jordan, City Manager.

  • Complete a downtown vision plan with a specific involvement schedule.
  • Adopt the Loyola Corners Project since the moratorium on the Specific Plan expires July 2017.
  • Complete a new or refurbished Hillview Center by 2020 with specific dates for interim steps to anticipate groundbreaking by December 2018.
  • Proactively review affordable housing for the city by Spring 2017 including opportunities to increase rental units and make zoning code changes.
  • Complete $2.5 million of the high priority school route improvements that improve pedestrian and bicycle traffic safety by 2018/19.
  • Promote a community of excellence for Los Altos with specific points of interest: reinvest city resources to maintain facilities, city streets, Grant Park center, library, and refurbish the City Hall/Police/LAYC buildings and Garden House at Shoup Park.

Several speakers requested that Halsey House and the apricot orchard be added to the list of assets to maintain. One speaker asked that affordable housing be high on the priority list. Several requested further community study before a priority list is finalized. Council members were divided about the final priorities and went back and forth with the City Manager about the details as they were listed in the Strategic Priorities, and so the City Manager agreed to meet with the staff to come up with a revision.

February 28, 2017

City Council adopted the Mid-Year Financial Plan Update with budget adjustments.

City Council unanimously adopted, after more discussion, the 2017 Strategic Priorities debated at the February 14, 2017 meeting. Chris Jordan, City Manager, with staff and council member input modified the list of 6 priorities, deleting bullets with specific steps. As the priorities come up to implement, specific details and tasks will be added to the priority. Members agreed to the downtown vision modifications. Loyola Corners moratorium will be extended. Members agreed to plans to remodel Hillview Civic Center by December 2020. The council will create and maintain a 10-year Facilities Plan for community excellence. City Council will implement measures to increase affordable housing. The city will put traffic safety issues, particularly around safe school routes, as a top priority in the 10-year Facilities plan. An additional community proactive engagement item was proposed to improve access to city information. 

–Claire Noonan, Observer