Almanac

News - April 3, 2013

Atherton to choose Town Center committee members

by Renee Batti

Seven of 13 Atherton residents who applied to sit on the town's Community Center Advisory Committee will be appointed by the City Council to the newly formed committee at a special 3 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, April 3.

The committee, which will serve various functions in helping the town plan for a new Town Center, will also include Mayor Elizabeth Lewis and Councilman Jim Dobbie, with Councilman Bill Widmer serving as an alternate member.

The body will replace an earlier committee, the Town Center Task Force, headed by Mayor Lewis. The task force had been formed to study options for replacing the old buildings, some of which are considered unsafe and poorly functioning, that house the town's police department, administration, and public services staff. The building and planning departments have operated for many years out of portable buildings across the street from the Council Chambers, squeezed out of permanent buildings as a "temporary" measure.

The Town Center project's scope when the earlier committee examined options wasn't quite as broad as is currently the case. That's because the City Council had approved a plan — drawn up by another advisory committee after two years of work — to build a new library in Holbrook-Palmer Park. But voters overwhelmingly rejected that plan last November, making it likely that the library will remain on the existing Town Center site when the center is rebuilt.

Denise Kupperman, who headed the library advisory committee, has applied for a seat on the new committee, which will be known as the CCAC.

Other applicants are: Former councilwoman Didi Fisher, Planning Commissioner Phil Lively, Rose Hau, and Steve Dostart, who were members of the earlier Town Center Task Force; Planning Commissioner Mary Widmer; and Tom O'Dowd, Don Way, Rick Degolia, Christine Lagod, Clive Merredew, Naomi Ramsden, and Paul Tonelli.

Committee members will be asked to commit to 12 to 18 months of eight- to 10-hour work weeks. They will be helping staff to develop a master planning process, devise strategies for soliciting community opinion and help carry them out, and create tools to keep the community informed and involved in the process.

The afternoon meeting will be in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.

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