At its Sept. 8 meeting, the Woodside Town Council voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance limiting the hours that commercial leaf blowers can be used to the town's construction hours.
Councilman Dick Brown voted no. "To me it's just another government intrusion into residential choices and I don't know why we need a regulation for this," he said.
Setting hours for commercial use is the ordinance's first component. Staff is developing an incentive program to encourage a switch from gasoline-powered blowers to electric ones.
Town staff also will develop educational material with the objective of having a mailer or Woodsider article announcing the new commercial leaf blowing hours and explaining the incentive program, according to a staff report.
The ordinance will go into effect next month.
At the top of the meeting, the council issued a proclamation recognizing the community service work of Alice's Restaurant and its co-owners, brothers Andy and Jamie Kerr. Alice's has cooked and served hundreds of meals for first responders throughout the coronavirus pandemic and in the last month, cooked and delivered meals to first responders, volunteer firefighters and isolated community members during the CZU Lightning Complex fires.
At the same meeting, the council unanimously approved introducing an ordinance amending portions of the zoning code related to "natural state," requiring that when a property is developed, a certain percentage of a hillside lot be left undisturbed to help maintain natural habitat and rural character.
According to a staff report, amendments will remove natural state requirements from undeveloped lots that are 1 acre or less and make the regulations the same as they are for developed lots 1 acre or less. In situations where land must be restored to natural state, Woodside will create reclamation standards prepared by a town biologist and clarify the natural state definition.
Youth committee, appointments
Council members unanimously expressed support for the creation of a Youth Advisory Committee, with the aim of encouraging civic engagement and promoting volunteerism. The committee would be made up of middle school and high school students and open to young Woodside residents regardless of whether they attend school in the town or not. Town staff will develop a draft charter and a plan for seeking participation from local youth.
Based on the recommendations of the Town Council Committees Appointments Subcommittee, the council approved the appointments of Sunil Suri to the Arts and Culture Committee, David Mittelman and Joshua Mittelman to the Emergency Preparedness Committee and Bree-Anna Vail to the Woodside History Committee.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to hire a consultant to aid in the planning for the next state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment cycle and voted unanimously to introduce an amendment to the municipal code for bidding on public projects. The code will no longer include specific dollar amounts — thresholds which are set and periodically updated by the state. The aim is to streamline the process and eliminate the need to make future amendments to the municipal code whenever the state updates the thresholds.