Wednesday: Atherton council to vote on no-cost solar permits


Atherton's City Council is considering offering no-cost permits to install new solar systems.

The move wouldn't cost the town a lot of money, or affect a lot of people, since solar installation permits are now $526 and only about 27 are granted each year. At an earlier meeting, however, council members said waiving the permit fees might encourage more solar systems and more environmental awareness.

The staff report says that five of 11 nearby communities offer solar permits at no cost and three others subsidize part of the cost.

The solar permit fees will be on the agenda when the council meets on Nov. 18, starting at 7 p.m. in the town's council chambers, 94 Ashfield Road.

Also on the agenda are:

● Awarding contracts for two previously approved projects installing a pedestrian-controlled stoplight on El Camino Real at Almendral Avenue, and painting and signs for a network of shared car/bicycle routes.

● A public hearing on proposed changes to garbage and recycling rates, including establishing a minimum flat service fee of $25 per month even if no service is provided. The proposal is to reduce the rates for 64-gallon garbage containers by $8 and the 96-gallon containers by $12. The cost of a pickup of more than two green waste containers would go up by $4 for the third and fourth containers and by $2 for carts five and above. All other rates would remain the same.

● A report on the status of the civic center project. The staff report says that at a recent meeting, members of the Civic Center Advisory Committee told the architects that they prefer architecture that is "traditional, understated, elegant, timeless and attractive, with design elements emulating" the historic council chambers.

● Consider adding a little less than $15,000 to the town's budget to allow for additional work by consultants on the town's climate action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

— Barbara Wood

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