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