12/6/2011 Council Preview

Wow, gonna be an interesting night.

We’ve only got two meetings left before the end of the year, and staff is trying to squeeze in as much work as possible due to time constraints.  Worse, the items that remain are by and large not short ones.  So this week and next will be busy.

We start the evening with not one but two closed sessions.  The first one involves anticipated litigation, and while I can’t comment on what little back story I know about it, you can draw what conclusions you want by the fact that the other party is “Save the Plastic Bag” and we’re discussing a plastic bag ban later in the evening.   The second one is our annual performance evaluation for the City Attorney.  And it may prove a bit interesting for Council to go from one closed session where the City Attorney advises us on potential litigation to a second closed session where we judge his performance over the past year… 🙂  Seriously, I don’t think we’ve ever had a schedule that put two closed sessions back-to-back, with the first being staffed by the city attorney and the second being the city attorney’s performance review.  It’s not likely a big deal, just something I noticed as I was typing this in, which I thought was a bit cute.

Then it’s on to the city council meeting, which I’m guessing will have a decent sized audience this week.  No special orders or presentation, so it’s straight to business.  The consent calendar is small and looks to be mostly pro forma.

Item 2 involves potential revisions to the city code regarding vision triangles.  In short, the vision triangle refers to the triangle at an intersection that the city requires to be maintained with a clear sight line, so that traffic approaching the intersection from one direction can be seen by traffic approaching from the other.  This is a study issue prompted by the BPAC that we approved this year.  Both the BPAC and the Planning Commission weighed in, and there’s some disagreement in the recommendations from staff, the BPAC, and the PC, so this may provoke some discussion and wrangling of issues.

Item 3 involves consideration of adopting a single-use carryout ordinance (in other words, a plastic bag ban).  The EIR and RTC are lengthy, and I expect this will provoke passionate public input.

Item 4 is a complex and somewhat wonkish issue – proposed modifications to the zoning code related to the housing sub-element.  Staff is proposing four specific changes, two of which are at least partly driven by state requirements.  These are zoning changes, not approving actual changes to specific properties.  So there’s no immediate effect, and there may never be any effect, but there is the potential of impacts to specific neighborhoods through these changes.

And item 5 is is actually an item for which I’m the staff contact – consideration of three changes to council policy regarding boards and commissions.  We are looking at three issues:

  1. Increasing the frequency of Sustainability Commission meetings from bi-monthly to monthly.
  2. Changing the location of Board of Library Trustee meetings.
  3. The specifics of the previously-approved council liaison policy for boards and commissions.

The subcommittee brought forward recommendations on these three issues, which Council will consider and vote on.  For #1, we recommended “yes, increase the frequency to monthly”.  For #2, we recommended “change council policy so that each commission’s meeting location isn’t mandated, but instead council gives general guidelines to staff about how to locate meetings”.  That’s not what staff or the commission asked for (and in fact, the subcommittee’s recommendation sort of says “no” to the request), so that may provoke some discussion.  For #3, we drafted the proposed policy, which is too long to summarize here, so check out the subcommittee report to see the specifics.


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