Almanac

News - January 23, 2013

Portola Valley: Bag ban, affordable housing on agenda

Two issues return to the Portola Valley Town Council at its first meeting of the new year, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Historic Schoolhouse.

The council will consider action on an ordinance that echoes a county law banning plastic bags from checkout counters, effective April 22 (Earth Day). The impact in Portola Valley may be slight, with retailers such as Roberts Market already having ceased the use of the bags, according to town staff. Restaurants would be exempt from the law.

The other topic concerns affordable housing, and the next steps for the community. The council is set to consider a charter for a new committee, an ad hoc group of community members to discuss how to address the town's obligations to provide homes that people of moderate incomes can afford.

In a related agenda item, the council will also consider a resolution affirming Portola Valley's participation in the county's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), according to a staff report. One apparent option for participating communities is the possible offloading of part of an affordable housing obligation.

"There has been discussion of whether the town could successfully reduce its RHNA obligations through a cooperative agreement with another jurisdiction," the staff report says. "At the town council's request, staff could contact other jurisdictions in our subregion to investigate this possibility."

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