Atherton's City Council is scheduled to hold a study session on Wednesday, Feb. 4, to discuss two items that could affect most of the town's residents: whether the town should adopt its own
charter; and changes to the law governing residents' use of the public right-of-way.
The meeting is set to start at 4 p.m. in the town's council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
Also on the agenda is a vote on spending $175,000 on bike route improvements that would allow the town to apply for a matching county grant.
The council appointed an ad hoc committee to explore adopting its own charter in May 2012. The town now operates under general law, with pre-set state conditions. Adopting a charter, which must be approved by voters, would give the town more flexibility.
One major difference, according to an analysis by City Attorney William Conners, is that Atherton, as a charter city, could charge a real estate transfer tax. It can't do that now.
The town is considering changes in its encroachment permit regulations to control some of the ways Atherton residents have been using the town-owned right-of-way.
In a report, City Manager George Rodericks says a number of private improvements have been installed on the town's property, including "wireless facilities, fencing, walls, landscaping, mailboxes, security panels, pathways, pavement, stepping stones, large drainage facilities, rocks, and/or lumber barriers."
"Because they are essentially unregulated, the private improvements place the town at considerable risk," he says.