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.