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Belvedere California Notifications

   April 27, 2012
Belvedere E-Notifications

Power Pole.jpgMid-San Rafael Underground District

The major work on the Mid-San Rafael Underground Utility District has been completed for quite a few months.  Final connections were delayed a bit due to some property connections that took more time than expected and crew move-out/move-in by PG&E, AT&T, and Comcast.  Working with the property owners in the District, PG&E and AT&T have completed all of their connections.  The only public utility that remains to complete their work is Comcast.  Cablecom (Comcast's field contractor) is in the area and should complete work within the next two weeks.  AT&T will then return to remove the poles and remaining wires.  The City keeps constant pressure on the utility companies to complete their work; but we are ultimately at the mercy of their scheduling and crew demands.   Much of the earlier connection work required the cooperation of each District property owner and coordination with that owner's electrician for the cut over of service.  The remaining work does not.  Once Comcast completes, no further property owner coordination will be necessary and AT&T will remove the remaining poles and wires.    

Presidio Parkway.jpgDoyle Drive Closure Information

Doyle Drive will be closed April 27-30...because sometimes the fastest way to open is to close! This closure allows traffic to be shifted off Doyle Drive and onto a temporary, seismically safe roadway while the existing Doyle Drive is removed and the rest of the Presidio Parkway is built. The project has been carefully planned to keep traffic moving during the full roadway replacement and to avoid on-going closures of Doyle Drive. After the weekend closure and shift, traffic will flow adjacent to the existing Doyle Drive on the completed Phase I structures (southbound bridge and tunnel) and the temporary bypass through the end of the project. Opposing traffic will be separated by a moveable median barrier. Please expect delays as drivers adjust to the new condition.  For more information, see the Weekend Closure Fact Sheet.

Community Bench Project

Along the western slope of Community Park there are trees, daffodils, and sadly a few remaining utility poles.  But soon!  Soon there will be trees, daffodils and rock-faced benches built into the slope thanks to the efforts of the Parks & Open Space Committee.  The benches were designed to enhance Community Park and in particular, enhance the view pleasure of attendees of community events occurring in the Park.  It is anticipated that the project will begin in the next few weeks and complete prior to the first Concert in the Park in June.  Stay tuned!

San Rafael Avenue - ADA Sidewalk Improvement Program

The City is required to provide ADA compliant access along San Rafael Avenue to City Hall (from Tiburon Boulevard) and from City Hall along San Rafael Avenue and Beach Road to Main Street.  Much of the sidewalk is complete along San Rafael Avenue and Beach Road to Main Street, but the portion along San Rafael Avenue to Tiburon Boulevard needs work.  The project is a significant undertaking and the City will be saving up funds to construct the improvements necessary.  However, because of the project's sensitivity to driveways, trees, parking, and private improvements along the path, the City will be engaging the impacted public in community input meetings to gather feedback and concerns.  Ultimately, an ADA compliant sidewalk MUST be installed.  The western side of San Rafael Avenue is not a viable alternative for several reasons, not the least if which is its necessary transitions in order to even contemplate compliance.  The eastern side is the intended recipient of the sidewalk and the City will work with the affected property owners such that private improvements, trees, and parking are minimally impacted.  This is a slow-moving project as the City needs to accumulate funds to pay for the sidewalk's installation. 

MCIL.jpgMarin Center for Independent Living Presents "As Time Goes By..." - Wednesday, May 2 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm

The Marin Center for Independent Living presents, "As Time Goes By..." a free community forum on Wednesday, May 2 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at Tiburon Town Hall,  1505 Tiburon Boulevard. 

The program was developed in response to requests by older adults who wish to have an honest discussion about aging, healthy care giving, caring for the care giver and respite care.  Featured experts include: Dr. Patrick Arbore from the Institute on Aging in San Francisco, Jeffory Morshead, Local Author of Alzheimers, The Long Goodbye (The Emotional Aspect of Care Giving) The MCIL Personal Care Registry, and Senior Access.  Complimentary snacks and beverages.  Call today to reserve your space - (415) 459-6245 extension 17. 

Salmon Kiss and Release.jpgTiburon Salmon Institute - Salmon Kiss and Release - Saturday, May 5

Come help kiss and release 2,000 Chinook Salmon Fingerlings into the San Francisco Bay on May 5th for the 8th annual Salmon Kiss and Release at Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon.  The fun begins at 10.a.m. when the Casa Grande Truck arrives with the fingerling Chinook Salmon from the Feather River Hatchery. The Casa students will bring the fish to our waiting youngsters who will carry them to the bay and start them on their way out to the Pacific Ocean. We will then look forward to their return to Feather River in several years to start the process over.

Join the Tiburon Salmon Institute in association with United Anglers of Casa Grande, Trout Unlimited, the Tiburon Romberg Center, the San Francisco Tyee Club and Foundation, and the California Department of Fish and Game and listen to the local music of Brett Boyd and the Beautiful Losers. Enjoy the barbecue put on by the Tiburon Volunteer Fire Department and participate in a special interactive Native American ceremony to bless the salmon on their journey.

Most of all, come support our children as they give back to the San Francisco Bay and help preserve the great salmon migration we enjoy every year. There will be information booths from all our partners on hand to tell you how you can get involved in preserving our San Francisco Bay estuary for future runs of salmon up the many rivers and creeks that flow into this unique salmon habitat.

The fun all starts @ 10 a.m. in Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon. Just take the Tiburon Blvd. Exit off of Highway 101 and look for the salmon signs! Hurry, because the salmon will be leaving on the 12:30 outgoing tide! The party will end at 2 p.m. as the salmon make their way to sea.  For more information, contact Brooke Halsey, Executive Director, Tiburon Salmon Institute - (415) 435-2397 -

Ned's Way - Dairy Knoll Project

The City of Belvedere, Town of Tiburon, and Belvedere-Tiburon Joint Recreation (BTJR) have partnered to design and build a Joint Recreation Facility on Ned's Way.  The facility will be a first for BTJR and the excitement is hard to contain.  For more details, visit the City Manager's Blog later today.

MVRS.jpgMill Valley Refuse Services - Contact and Rate Application for 2012-2013

In April, the City Council approved amendments to the Mill Valley Refuse Services (MVRS) Franchise Agreement.  The amendments  were the first significant changes to the franchise agreement in nearly 17 years.  The amendments were designed to bring the agreement into the present day with respect to current operations and and rate methodology.  It was a cooperative process between the City and MVRS that entailed a significant amount of work on both sides.  The new agreement will be used as a foundation on which to review the 2012-2013 Rate Application submitted by MVRS in April.  Each year, by April 1, MVRS submits a rate application for adjustments, if necessary, to the refuse rates in the community.  The City Council reviews the rate application at a Public Hearing typically scheduled for June of each year.  This year is no exception.  Sometimes, the rate application is merely an increase consistent with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and other times the requested increase is beyond the CPI due to increases in costs (fuel costs, costs of insurance, tipping fees, etc.).  The rate increase requests are often independently audited for validity.  The 2012-2013 rate application reflects a cost increase request of 4.15%.  The request is being independently audited and will be reviewed by the City Council at the June City Council meeting.

Design Review - A Re-Design In The Works

The Planning Commission is holding a Study Session at 6:30 pm on April 30 to begin discussions on re-designing Design Review in Belvedere.  Design Review in Belvedere affects properties and property owners at nearly every level – from minor landscaping to major remodels to views and to privacy.  The Design Review Code is intertwined with the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Tree Ordinance, Building Codes, Parking Ordinance, and more.  Like a loose string on a shirt, pulling at one end can cause unraveling at the other.  In addition, the Design Review Ordinance and every other Code in the City’s Municipal Code is designed in support and defense of the City’s General Plan that was most recently and extensively updated with more than 34 public meetings in 2010.  

The duty of staff and the Planning Commission is to support and defend the City’s General Plan and ensure the fair and equal treatment of development projects under the framework of the General Plan.  This is an important concept in that simply-stated, community-driven goals in the General Plan, such as “Establish a harmonious relationship between structures and the site” get codified into “There should be a balanced and harmonious relationship among the structures on the site, between the structures and the site itself, and between the structures and those on adjoining properties.  All new buildings or additions constructed on sloping land should be designed to relate to the natural land forms and step with the slope in order to minimize the building mass and bulk and to integrate the structure with the site.”  How does one exactly interpret that law?  What information does one require in order to interpret and apply that law?  What details on the plan will be necessary for the Commission and staff to make informed recommendations and decisions relative to the law?  Pulling on the strings that surround this single law might unravel other areas or might have unanticipated consequences in the ability of the Commission and staff to apply the simply-stated, community-driven goal of the General Plan.  Add to that the “process-oriented” information required in order to make that informed decision on whether a project conforms and does not conform to the law and you can quickly see how things can get unintentionally burdensome.

There are a number of stakeholders that need opportunity to provide input into any proposed changes as well as input into what works and what does not work in the current laws and their application.  This process of redesigning design review in Belvedere will not be quick – but it will be thorough.  At the conclusion, it is hoped that with a significant amount of input from the community; active involvement by stakeholders; and a little bit of visioning on the part of the Commission and City Council, Belvedere and the community will be better served and certainly more involved. 

My recommendation to the Commission to fully engage the public at every level and to ensure that all stakeholders have a chance to affect change is as follows:

  • Host the Study Session on April 30, 2012 to review historic and present-day documentation; discuss project expectations; and provide staff with feedback on what issues should be a part of the discussions.
  • Appoint a subcommittee of the Commission to start a series of stakeholder meetings to gather detailed input on what works, what doesn’t, and what the process should look like.  The meetings can be scheduled in any order but should distinctly involve the three stakeholder groups:  Architects, Contractors, Homeowners.

The stakeholder meetings will occur over May and June.  These perspectives will then be merged together in a Report to the Commission at a Town Hall style Community Meeting to be held in July.  The Commission will discuss the feedback, gather additional feedback at the Town Hall style meeting and provide some direction to staff and the Subcommittee to refine some of the goals and objectives.  From July to September, staff and the Subcommittee will refine the goals and objectives and report to the Council at a Joint Meeting of the Commission and Council in October and the Council will provide specific direction back as to what direction to proceed.  It is anticipated that changes will move forward to adoption by the end of the current calendar year.  This open and public process seeks to engage the stakeholders at every level and encourage their participation in forums that are designed to elicit frank discussions as to their experience and expectations. 

Design Review in Belvedere is challenging and stakeholders are encouraged to be a part of the process from start to finish.  Only then will the experience but as full and transparent as should be expected.

Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Looking For An Intern

The Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society is looking for a summer intern to work on their Homes Legacy Project. The purpose of the Homes Legacy Project is two pronged, to continue a historical homes survey that was conducted in the 1970’s and to the record the oral histories of the residents of these homes.

The ideal intern will have
- Excellent communication skills- possibly some experience doing oral histories
- Computer Literacy- particularly in Microsoft Windows and Word
- Have an outgoing nature and great organizational skills
- Be comfortable photographing buildings and rooms
- Have an interest in local history and architecture
- A driver’s license and use of a car would be useful

Working under the direction of the Landmarks archivist, the intern will be responsible for setting up appointments with residents, visiting them in their homes to conduct the survey and eliciting their personal histories and recollections.

The mission of the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society is to acquire, preserve and maintain artifacts, landmarks, and open space of local historic significance and make them available to the public.

The Landmarks Society of Belvedere and Tiburon manages and maintains the Old St. Hilary's Landmark and the surrounding wildflower preserve, the China Cabin, the Railroad Ferry & Depot Museum, and the Landmarks Art and Garden Center.

The Landmarks History Collections includes photographs, fine art, artifacts, maps, documents, and a reference library. The Society activities include historic publications, botanical and architectural tours, concerts, lectures, and exhibits.  For information, contact Landmarks at (415) 435-1853.

Dollar.jpg2012-2013 City Budget Process

Staff has been working on the 2012-2013 Budget since March and final modifications are in the works as we speak.  As you know, the City continues to budget conservatively and we are required under State law to maintain a balanced budget.  This year is no exception.  The City's current budget and draft for 2012-2013 is conservative and balanced.  Unlike many other communities, the City does not issue debt for its capital projects - we operate on a "save-spend" philosophy and consistently do more with less.  Ten years ago, the City had 21 full-time employees and 3 part-time staff.  Of those, there were 6 police officers.  Today, we have 20 full-time employees and 2 part-time staff.  Of those, there are 7 police officers.  Today, we do more with less.  You can find copies of present and past City budgets, audits, financial statements, salary and benefit resolutions, pension actuarial reports, and more on the City's website via the Archive link.  The City is and will remain 100% transparent in all of its operations.    

It is anticipated that the City's Finance Committee will review the Budget at its meeting in May and a final draft of the 2012-2013 Budget will be before the City Council at a Study Session at the end of May.  The Budget will be scheduled for adoption at a Public Hearing at the regular City Council meeting in June.


George Rodericks
City Manager

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Sincerely ,

George Rodericks
City Manager
City of Belvedere

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