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Atherton council roundup: Tennis keys, high-speed rail, false alarm fees

 

Atherton residents who don't want to use the town's new clay tennis court won't have to help pay for it, the City Council decided on April 18.

Town staff members had suggested the $50 annual cost of a key to the tennis courts be doubled to help pay for the additional costs of maintaining the new clay court, estimated to be about an additional $1,000 a year.

Although the council had not approved the increased key fee, the town had been charging it since February. But council members said they thought it would be fair to keep the cost of a key to the conventional courts at $50 and charge an additional $50 for a key to the clay court. Any residents who paid the $100 fee but don't want to use the clay court can return that key for a $50 refund.

The council also voted to charge half the cost of a key for a replacement key. Some court users had complained that some key holders had falsely claimed to have lost a key, bought a spare for only $5 and then loaned it out to others so they could use the courts at no charge.

Residents with tennis keys can use the clay court - at no additional charge - from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to sunset. Nonresidents with keys can pay $30 an hour to Player Capital to use the court at other times, when it is not being used by Player Capital.

High-speed rail

At the April 18 meeting, the Atherton council approved a seven-page letter from Mayor Cary Wiest commenting on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s draft 2018 business plan. The letter says the town believes "the ridership, revenue, and schedule assumptions in the business plan are overly optimistic, the costs and challenges underestimated, and that the Authority will not be able to meet the requirements of Proposition 1A" authorizing bonds to pay for high- speed rail.

The letter says the maximum travel times specified in state law are two hours and 40 minutes from San Francisco to Los Angeles and thirty minutes for San Francisco to San Jose. But the latest operating plan from the rail authority says the travel times would be three hours and 31 minutes from San Francisco to Los Angeles and 63 minutes from San Francisco to San Jose.

See the letter here.

False alarm fees

Atherton residents who have more than two false alarms reported to the town's police department in a calendar year will soon be fined.

The council asked Police Chief Steve McCulley to return with an ordinance that would raise the cost of registering an alarm with the town - which monitors alarms for residents at no cost - from $61 to $100. Council members also favored charging a $100 fine for the third and fourth false alarm calls, eventually escalating to $500.

The proposed ordinance states residents with more than 12 false alarms in a year would no longer be monitored by the police department, although it would continue to respond to calls passed on by an alarm firm.

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