4/9/2013 Council Preview

Gonna be another busy night.  Part of this is because we have spring break next week, and most of the items on our agenda can’t be delayed, so we’re doing a lot this night.

We start the evening with a study session regarding funding city infrastructure.  This is the next step in an item from a few weeks ago, when we looked at how we fund major infrastructure replacement.  The answer at that meeting was that we already set aside sufficient money to replace all major infrastructure items in the city, except for the civic center buildings.  And we’re currently setting aside $1.5 million per year for the civic buildings.  That’s not enough to deal with the replacement of those buildings before they need to be replaced.  So staff will be discussing options to fully fund the remaining infrastructure costs, and what it would mean to our operating budget.

The general meeting starts out with two special orders and a presentation.  First, we get our ceremonial rebate check from PG&E for replacement of our incandescent streetlights with LED fixtures.  We received a $1.14 million Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant from the federal government back in 2010, and we’ve used that to replace a few thousand of our streetlights with LED fixtures.  This gets us a rebate from PG&E.  The second one recognizes National Library Week.  And then the presentation involves Month of the Young Child.  Then we get to business.

The consent calendar is a big one.  We’ve got a library grant, a contract for recreation programs, a large contract for citywide sidewalk and curb construction, another for citywide water line replacement, and a couple of proposed amendments to the League of California Cities bylaws.  There’s a request to clear a 55-year-old public utilities easement that hasn’t actually been usable as an easement for about 50 years.   We have the second reading of three ordinances from our downtown specific plan amendments from last meeting.  There’s an interesting item involving ratification of an amendment to our water agreement between the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) and the SF Public Utilities Commission related to Hetch Hetchy.  To prevent our access to Hetch Hetchy from being threatened by efforts to drain Hetch Hetchy, BAWSCA and the SFPUC are proposing to amend their agreement stating that Hetch Hetchy can’t be drained unless and until both parties agree to it.  Currently, the BAWSCA members (including Sunnyvale) are completely at the mercy of the City of San Francisco, so this would give us some say in our own water supply.

Item 2 involves consideration of sale of three city-owned houses on Jackson to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation and sale as low-income housing.  This includes possible funding assistance from the city’s housing mitigation fund.

Item 3 is our annual consideration of reauthorization of the downtown business improvement district (BID).  This one isn’t quite pro forma, since the Sunnyvale Downtown Association is proposing that the BID be widened across the west side of Mathilda and across the south side of Iowa.

Item 4 is consideration of a street space allocation plan for Mathilda Avenue between California and Maude.  Staff is proposing adding bike lanes along Mathilda for that stretch, at the expense of a right turn “trap” lane in the southbound direction.

Item 5 is similar, consideration of a street space allocation plan for Wildwood Avenue, which proposes installing bike lanes from Lawrence all the way to the Santa Clara border, at the expense of on-street parking on Wildwood.  Staff did a survey of the street and found no use of the on-street parking, currently.

Item 6 involves action regarding Onizuka.  This would approve the Air Force’s quitclaim deeds, transfer the homeless housing claims from Onizuka to the Armory site, and authorize some money from the budget stabilization fund for associated costs.

And item 7 revisits the issue of background checks for below-market rate housing (BMR) applicants.  Council previously directed staff to investigate using the state’s criminal database for background checks, but the state denied us access for that purpose, since it’s illegal to do so under state law.  So staff is asking us for further direction on the issue.

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