Confirming a ban on medical marijuana cultivation. Joining a group of cities to attain clean, renewable power. Considering the demolition of the former Roger Reynolds nursery, to be replaced with 24 residential units. Updating the city's policy on landscape water use. All of these are on the agenda for the Menlo Park City Council's first meeting of 2016, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the council chambers in the Civic Center (701 Laurel St.)
Banning medical marijuana cultivation.
Due to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, as of March 1, 2016, cities that don't specifically prohibit or regulate the cultivation of medical marijuana have to codify their position on it, or else only the state will be able to regulate it. The resolution would confirm that cultivating medical marijuana is prohibited in the city.
Joining a group of cities to attain clean, renewable power. The city of Menlo Park is scheduled to do its first reading of an ordinance to join Peninsula Clean Energy, a joint powers authority that would leverage community demand to purchase more renewable energy at a price competitive with PG&E's electricity. It would authorize the city to promote city representatives to the board of Peninsula Clean Energy and direct those representatives to advocate for certain rates and kinds of power.
During the council's previous study session on the topic on Nov. 10, the council expressed enthusiasm for the program. Discussions about Peninsula Clean Energy focused on not if Menlo Park would join, but the percentage of clean energy the city would advocate for once on the board. Should the city push for 100 percent clean energy, with an expected added cost to households of $1.89 a month? Or should the new agency play it safe, and get a lower percent of clean energy without increasing costs, so the option would appeal to more people?
That debate has become even more complicated since PG&E increased by 95 percent its monthly fees for those who leave its services for clean energy programs. Those fees are now 2.32 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 1.16 centers, which adds up to a jump in monthly fees to $13 from $6.70 for the average household.
Considering the demolition of the Roger Reynolds Nursery to make way for 24 new residential units. After significant debate from the Menlo Park planning, environmental quality, and housing commissions on this development project, located at 133 Encinal Ave., the City Council now has to decide whether to approve a "below market rate" housing agreement that would create three below market rate units. The council is also asked to allow the removal of five heritage trees, review the designs, and ultimately approve the subdivision.
Updating the city's policy on landscape water use. Menlo Park's "Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance" needs to be updated, based on state legislation that requires all cities and counties to adopt water-efficient landscaping laws that comply with new state standards.
The council is scheduled to do a first reading of the ordinance, which will extend the water-use restrictions for landscaping to more commercial and residential landscaping, including new landscaping 500 square feet or larger and "rehabilitated" landscaping of 1,000 square feet or larger. Three inches of mulch and compost will be required. Irrigation will be limited to an inch an hour, and swimming pools and spas will be required be covered and recirculate water.