Almanac

News - July 16, 2014

Atherton may name project manager for Town Center

by Barbara Wood

Finalizing a contract with mack5, the company chosen to manage the building of a new Atherton Town Center, will be on the agenda when the Atherton City Council meets on Wednesday, July 16. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Atherton Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road.

The proposed agreement allows mack5 to bill up to nearly $900,000 for managing and advising the town on the design, construction and occupancy of the new civic center complex, a process that is expected to take close to three years, according to the staff report.

According to mack5's website, the company has provided project, cost and construction management services to a long list of clients, including the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, as well as Canada College and Stanford University.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to increase the limits on the amount of money town staff can spend without a formal bidding process.

The proposed limits are $25,000 for professional services and $30,000 for everything else, an increase from the current $15,000 limits. Purchases will still be limited to items that are in the town's budget.

The council will also hear a report on a survey of Parker Avenue homeowners. The town has been wrestling with the issue of how to deal with homeowners who have used part of the street's 70-foot-wide right-of-way, a legacy of ancient plans to make the street a major thoroughfare, as if it were part of their property.

The town had proposed giving the owners of each 7,800-square-foot lot a part of that right-of-way. But a staff report on the results of the survey shows only four property owners in favor of the gift, with 11 opposed and six not responding. Comments on the survey indicate an increase in property taxes to be a major reason for not wanting the additional property.

The staff report, prepared by Deputy Town Planner Lisa Costa Sanders, recommends the town give up on the transfer of the right-of-way and instead use revisions to the town's Encroachment Ordinance to deal with the problems on Parker Avenue.

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