The California Water Service Company has asked the communities it serves to adopt local laws mirroring the restrictions in its proposed drought plan; but Atherton's city manager has recommended the town adopt only a resolution supporting the restrictions so that Atherton won't have to enforce the rules.
The City Council will meet on Wednesday, May 20, starting at 7 p.m. to consider the resolution, as well as a new special events ordinance, a master plan for Holbrook-Palmer Park and several other items. The meeting will be in the town council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
City Manager George Rodericks has recommended that the council pass a resolution, not a new law, in support of Cal Water's plan. "Adoption of an ordinance would place the Town directly in the enforcement role with respect to water conservation efforts," Mr. Rodericks' report says. "The enforcement obligation rests with Cal Water, not the Town."
In the future, however, the town might want to consider adding additional water conservation incentives to those that Cal Water is already offering, his report says.
Atherton has the highest per capita water use in Cal Water's Bear Gulch District, Mr. Rodericks' report says, with Woodside a close second. The report says that in 2014, Atherton's per capita daily use was 1,334 gallons, with Woodside at 1,249; Portola Valley, 679; and Menlo Park, 424.
Other items on the agenda include:
Special event ordinance
After a 2013 visit by President Obama to Atherton left the town with $8,000 in bills, but without a law on the books to allow a demand for repayment, Atherton decided to rewrite its special events ordinance. The changes would require those putting on special events to pay for any police, public works or other needed services, as well as the costs for issuing the permit.
Relocation of the town's permit center The town's building and planning functions are now in four deteriorating portable buildings that town officials say won't last until the new civic center is built.
Options in the staff report include leasing new portables and moving them to Holbrook-Palmer Park or other town property so they would be out of the way when the civic center construction begins. Temporarily moving the permit center activities into the council chambers or into the park's Main House are also possibilities.
Park Use Master Plan The council will consider final approval of a master plan for Holbrook-Palmer Park that recommends a little more than $558,000 in park improvements over the next five years. They include renovating shrub plantings, rebuilding pathways, improving lighting, studying relocation of the preschool and town corporation yards within the park, and improving the park entrance.
Cafe or teaching kitchen in the new civic center The Civic Center Advisory Group has asked the council to consider whether the new civic center should have a small cafe or a kitchen where cooking classes could be held. A cafe would be unique in Atherton because it does not allow commercial businesses.