Yolo County / State of CALocal Weather Alerts
There are currently no active weather alerts.

Author Archives: admin

  • -

Friday Update on March 23 2018

All,

Today is a long one:

City Council Agendas:

April 3, 2018

  • Starbucks Final Acceptance & Notice of Completion
  • Youth Day Parade Permit, Amplified Sound & Request for Annual Donation
  • Nature Park Extension Project Approval
  • Budget Discussion
  • 2nd Year Submittal for SB1 2018/2019 Project List

April 17, 2018

  • Homeless Coordination Project 3-Year Contract
  • Public Works Presentation
  • Budget Discussion

Department Updates:

 

Public Works Activities:

  • Backflow testing is occurring City-wide and affects most businesses. This is a requirement of our water utility and is a foundational element of insuring public health.
  • Four electric vehicles (2 GEMS and 2 Miles Electric cars) are going to auction next week.
  • The Toddler play structure (formerly at City Park) is being installed at Valley Oak Park on 3/29-3/30.
  • Finishing pulling wire for new lights inside the playground area at City Park.
  • Staff is spraying weeds, replacing street signs, repairing sidewalks, installing (2) ADA ramps.
  • SB1 Street Projects are going out to bid in the next 2 months.
  • The State of California has a new item for maximum contaminants- 1,2,3,-TCP Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) has been issued by the State Water Board.  The MCL is 3 per 1 trillion parts. The City had a positive hit at one of our wells (which had recent maintenance and replacement of parts) resulting in a re-sample, which will be taken on Monday and inspected by the engineers at the Department of Drinking Water (DDW).
  • The Waste Water Treatment Facility Master Plan will go to the Planning Commission in April, then on to the Council.
  • Staff met with the Green River Tap Room Partners about water and sidewalk improvements.
  • A new  soil cap, monitoring plan, and annual funding for the Old City Landfill are now being required by the State for the landfill.  A public hearing at the Water Board is scheduled for the end of May.
  • Staff will be meeting with the Yolo County Consortium proposing a energy purchasing alliance called Community Choice Aggregation.

 

Economic Development/Housing:

  • Staff met with our consultant for the Winters Older Adult Programs and Services to receive an update on her progress.
  • Staff will attend a Homeless and HPAC meeting in Davis.
  • Staff will be presenting an update on the senior center to the Winters Senior Foundation Board meeting next Wednesday.
  • Finalizing the Prop. 84 grant for the construction of Walnut Park.
  • A commercial broker for a national auto parts firm is interested in coming to Winters.
  • TCAC (Tax Credit Allocation Committee) is recommending the award of a 4% tax credit for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments.

Planning:

  • 11 sets of plans for the Callahan Estates models have been received in Building office.

Police:

  • Both Police and Fire met with the WJUSD in regards to their emergency operation planning and will move forward with a tabletop exercise in the next year.
  • An agreement has been established with the WJUSD regarding nonstudent crossing guards has been signed.  Police Department will provide training and will then be able to enforce any vehicle code violations.
  • Officer Jose Hermosillo was recognized and honored as Officer of the Year at the American Legion Post in Woodland.
  • March training for the Police Department includes defense tactics and active shooter training.
  • As part of department outreach, Community Services has given two senior fraud presentations and upcoming events include Burger-with-a-Cop, Youth Day, WMS Popsicle-with-a-Cop in conjunction with
  • Officers are wearing mourning bands for two officers killed in the line of duty in Pomona and Marin County.

Fire:

  • The Yolo County Fire Chief’s dinner, hosted by Winters Fire on March 13th, was well represented and a big thanks to all staff members involved in putting this event together.
  • The annual Public Safety Awards dinner will take place on April 7th.
  • Staff read to kids at the Winters Community Library yesterday and had a good turnout.
  • Captain Matt Scheckla will be working through this year and next year to receive his Chief Officer Fire Certification by attending (4) week-long classes and initiating a task book.
  • Consortium meeting to be held at the Yoche de He Fire Department to determine training.
  • At the Fire District Board meeting last week, Don Rominger, who has served nearly 50 years, submitted his resignation letter. He will be honored at the annual Fire Appreciation Dinner and by the City Council.
  • Expanding skills in EMS services and what EMT’s are allowed to do re: patient assessment.  Department now has a glucometer to check blood sugar levels in patients, EPI pens and can administer Narcan, which is also on board the ambulance.
  • A grant has provided for two mass casualty rescue task force/trauma kits which are now deployed on board the service engine and the squad.
  • Dana Carey, Yolo County OES and Cal Fire representatives held a community meeting last week to talk with property owners along Hwy. 128 about mitigation efforts and to get permission to work on their property.  The meeting was well-received.
  • Winters Fire will be coordinating a regional training program in water, high angle, search and rescue called the Monticello Drill which has been scheduled for April 22-23.  Staff are working with Yolo County Sheriff’s Office regarding off-road, horseback and aircraft rescues.  Staff continues to move forward in planning this multi-jurisdictional exercise.

City Manager:

  • Staff is working on means for updating portions of the City’s General Plan. At the City Council Meeting, Staff was asked to research resources through the State which was done this week. Lot’s of resources are available for some pretty complex issues.
  • Staff is evaluating various elements of the general plan guidelines and will work some update elements into the upcoming budget and work plans. Kind of a general plan update “light” to make sure we are in a good position.

General Plans are essentially, the goals and vision for a community and represent the overall “business plan” or “blue print” for how a City will evolve and develop itself.

Staff spent a number of hours this week going through the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) Website which has many tools and resources for updating general plan documents. It’s a pretty good website with lots of information and suggestions on policies and formats for document preparation. The “guides” are very well written, mostly by researchers and law schools with addendums which refer you to other websites, the government codes and more documents. It is the proverbial trying to get a drink of water from a fire hydrant. If you are into the malaise of bureaucratic speak, policy nuances and legal ease, this is cyber nirvana!

While the City’s current general plan policies are pretty solid vision statements for the wants and desires of the City, there is a direct conflict between some of the service, park, jobs and amenity goals and the sustainability aspects of the land uses permitted in the City. Kind of like having a goal for an Olympic swimming pool only allowing for a 5 gallon bucket of water to fill it.

General Plans are individually unique and complicated. They work to implement the goals of many stakeholders into one plan. Many of the State requirements are heavily politically motivated and try to meet the very diverse needs of jobs, housing, industry, the environment and politics within the realm of a single planning document for each community.

They are extremely expensive! Every aspect of a general plan is required to be studied, justified and legally worded which means lots of consultants and attorneys who charge extremely high rates. The development of these plans is governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Government Code and many aspects of legislation. The key is the constant threat of litigation from any number of sources, many of whom have very little stake in a local community, except for the general plan process. Planning (not necessarily doing) is a massive industry which is fed by the requirements of the State.

In many respects, general plans become a self fulfilling prophecy for the industry it feeds. One thing I have learned about California is that the way you become wealthy is to have legislation passed which makes people (especially government and taxpayers) buy your services or product.

See everyone at Coffee Fest this Saturday.

John


  • -

  • -

Friday Update on March 16 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

· City Council Meeting will include the Project Acceptance for the Starbucks right of way improvements, Housing Element Progress Report, Olive Grove Subdivision Map Approval, a Fire Department Presentation, Recognition of Gwen Pisani as a State-wide Woman of Distinction and an Update on the General Plan Update.
· The Callahan Estates Subdivision Builder, Crowne Communities submitted 11 plan models for plan check in the Building Department. They are getting ready for construction once we pass winter.
· Staff is working diligently on the undergrounding of the utilities in Newt’s Expressway which service the north side of Main Street in Downtown. The project will include the formation of an assessment district for the Downtown property owners to do some needed utility upgrades for their buildings. This is a significant development and hopefully something the property owners will take advantage of.
· Winters Police had a VERY successful “range day” this week. All reports say that it was a good week of training and coordination for the Department.
· The dedication of the Playground at City Park has been moved to May 17, 2018. The time is from 3:00 to 5:30.
· Things are looking up on the Downtown Hotel. The second story is rapidly rising. The mass of the structure will soon become evident to folks as the third story and the parapet walls take shape.
· Staff has received interest in the construction of a skilled nursing facility in town!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

John


  • -

03/20/18 City Council Meeting – Revised Agenda


  • -

Friday Update on March 9 2018

All,

A couple items of note from this week:

  • The really big news was with the Winters Senior Foundation and their qualification as a 501-C- 3 “non-profit” organization. This is a big accomplishment and one which positions them to move forward in a very positive manner. Congratulations to Karen May and the entire Board of Directors for their hard work in getting this major milestone completed. The Senior Foundation is an incredible organization, doing some very good things. They have a very bright future moving forward!
  • Yolo Bus is reviewing proposals for a new contract with various transit providers. I participated in the proposal review and the interviews of the prospective operators. A very good process which should be completed sometime in April.
  • Car break-ins are continuing in town and people need to lock their vehicles. Winters Police are doing an incredible job of catching the people and recovering stolen property. Folks need to realize that car break-ins and  theft are no longer serious crimes and those caught are only given a misdemeanor citation, thus not jail or real trouble. Lock your vehicles and do what you need to secure your property.
  • The City received our Sales Tax Report for the third quarter of 2017. Winters receipts from July through September were 10.7% above the same period in 2016. Service stations posted a 14.7% increase as gas and oil priced increased prices at the pump. Restaurants and quick serve restaurants were up 5.7%.

Thanks,

John


  • -

  • -

Friday Update on March 2 2018

All,

City Council Agendas:

March 6, 2018

  • Support of SB5, California Clean Water & Safe Parks Act
  • Economic Development Composition – 2 At-Large Members
  • Public Works Projects List and Review of Capital Projects – FY 18-19 and 19-20
  • Support of Reducing Crime in Keeping California Safe Act of 2018

March 20, 2018

  • Final Acceptance of Starbucks
  • Public Improvement Agreement & Final Map for Olive Grove Phase 1 Project
  • Fire Department Presentation
  • Presentation by the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus’s Woman of Distinction- Gwen Pisani

Some notes on City operations:

  • Water Well 2 is under rehabilitation. The Well casing is being scrubbed and cleaned.
  • The expansion of Putah Creek Park is in the planning stages. The Winters Putah Creek Committee, Putah Creek Council and others will lead the way on this project.
  • Year end reporting is under way for both Water and Wastewater with State regulators.
  • Public Works removed the tot lot from Valley Oak Park and will relocated the relatively new structure previously installed at City Park to this location. This will be a really nice project!
  • Walnut Park will soon have new park signs which will close the project out.
  • Senior Task Force will be headed to Woodland next week to look at services and facilities.
  • PG&E is adding buildings to the Utility Village.
  • Police will be training at the PG&E Training Academy next week on an active shooter scenario.
  • Fire is joining the West Valley Training Consortium which will greatly expand our training resources for both full time and volunteer/reserve staff.
  • Planning is under way for the Monticello Dam Drill annually put on by Winters Fire. This year will include helicopters, water rescue, confined space, rappelling down the Dam face and search and rescue. Essentially everything which can go wrong at the Dam, will go wrong!

Local note, the Winters Friends of the Library Fruit Tree Sale is 8:30 (WFOL Members) and 9:00 to 11:00ish this Saturday in the Mariani Parking Lot on Railroad Ave. WFOL members get in at 8:30 and others at 9:00.

Finally, national politics and some irresponsibility by some folks are causing challenges to local law enforcement.

The demonization of federal law enforcement agencies in recent weeks has a trickle down effect on the ability of local police to do their jobs. The trust, goodwill and outreach campaigns from our public safety agencies can be immediately dashed when fear of law enforcement is used and people are told to “not open your doors” if law enforcement come to your homes as a means of advancing political agendas. A basic premise is that if someone has not done anything wrong they have nothing to worry about.

“Police” is a universal identification for local, State and Federal agencies. It is a term people know and understand. Few people will differentiate between a uniformed local or federal agent with a badge and vest who is knocking on their door.

At the local level, our Police Department respond to all calls and are not agents for federal agencies, including ICE. In California, SB 54 strictly prohibits our Police from asking for immigration forms or status. No matter the call, local law enforcement are there to protect and serve persons, regardless of documentation status. Period.

Some of the greatest targets and victims of crime are recent immigrants. These folks should not fear law enforcement but know that they can and will be protected and they should report crimes which happen to them. Police are here to help them and should not have any reservations on calling for our help.

I really feel for the men and women in the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who are getting a really raw deal in the current political climate. Both are very important agencies (with incredible people working for them) with core missions which protect us all. These law enforcement agents have taken oaths to uphold and defend laws and our constitution. They are sworn protectors who risk their lives in the same vein as our local police officers and public safety personnel. They can be put in some of the most dangerous situations in law enforcement.

You just wish all this madness would stop!!

Thanks,

John


  • -

03/06/18 City Council Meeting


  • -

  • -

2018 City Elections General Municipal Elections Consolidated

2018 City Elections
General Municipal Elections Consolidated (pdf)

The City of Winters will be conducting an election on June 5, 2018
.
The offices to be filled are as follows:
Three (3) Council Member Seats – Four (4) Year Terms (Anderson, Cowan, and
Neu)
City Clerk – Four Year Term (Mills)
City Treasurer – four Year Term (Sebastian)
If no one, or only one person is nominated for each office the council may
appoint someone to fill the office.
February 12th – March 9th, 2018 is the filing period for nomination papers. If
nomination papers for an incumbent of the city are not filed by March 9, 2018 the
filing period will be extended to March 14, 2018. No incumbent may file during
the extended period of time.
Nomination papers must be filed with the City Clerk during normal office hours
If anyone wishes for more information, please call Nanci Mills, City Clerk, City of
Winters at 530-794-6701.


  • -

Friday Update on February 23 2018- Parking Information Edition

All,

A couple items from a very good meeting on parking the other evening:

  • The Parking Committee held a joint workshop with the City Council and Planning Commission to review the draft Parking Plan and Recommendations. Click HERE to go to the draft plan which includes the recommendations. Attached to this update is a table summarizing all of the recommendations (HERE/PDF).
  • To view some of the key statistics on parking demand within the Downtown, click HERE to see the parking utilization between 7 AM and 5:00 PM and click Here to see the demand between 5:00-9:00 PM. The survey was done on a busy Friday with an event at the Community Center and the Buckhorn Devillibis Room reserved. Click HERE to go to the presentation which includes information on total parking demand (70%) and includes data on employee parking. Overall, some really good stuff!
  • To view information regarding the estimated impact of the new Downtown Hotel, go to slides 30 and 31 in this presentation. Click HERE. To understand the concept behind “shared parking” which was adopted for the Downtown Master Plan, look at slides 9-12. Slide 12,  the “unshared” side shows a compounding when cities use a “fixed” system, versus the shared concept which factors in the actual need based on fluctuations in demand based on time of day. In total, it shows a 38% overage of parking supply which is both expensive and unsightly! The effect is lots of empty parking lots throughout the day.

All of the information is included on the City’s Website page for the Parking Committee located HERE.

Lots of information but important from a big picture standpoint.

John


  • -

02/27/18 Planning Commission Meeting


  • -

Friday Update for February 16 2018

All,

This weeks update is an overview of the items we discussed at our weekly staff meeting this week.

Meetings Next Week:

Downtown Parking Report- Public Workshop

Topics to include:

  • Paid Parking
  • Parking Enforcement
  • Business Improvement District and Assessments
  • Lighting
  • Employee Parking restrictions
  • Zoning and Urban Design
  • Others

City Council Agendas:

February 20, 2018

  • Street Closure Request for Coffee Festival, Saturday, March 24
  • Presentation by Yolo Emergency Communications Agency
  • Budget Discussion and Department Reorganization of Admin. Services, Human Resources, and City Clerk Functions
  • Staff Promotion to Mid-Management Position
  • Final Acceptance of Public Improvements for Roundabout on Grant Ave. (SR 128) at Walnut Lane
  • Resolution in Recognition of Putah Creek Council’s 30 Year Anniversary

February 21, 2018

  • City Council and Planning Commission Joint Workshop for the Winters Downtown Parking Plan; September 2017 Draft Report being presented by Kimley Horn.

March 6, 2018

  • Street Closure Request for Monthly Car Shows Sponsored by The Buckhorn Steakhouse
  • Public Improvement Agreement & Final Map for Olive Grove Phase 1 Project

March 20, 2018

  • Final Acceptance of Starbucks?

Department Updates:

 

Public Works:

  • Repaired sewer main line on E. Edwards and sewer lateral on Edwards due to root invasion.  Would like to budget to camera the mainline prior to slurry sealing.
  • Tony is changing registers on meters.
  • 24 yards of DG delivered to finish the area between the futsal court and the play structure at City Park.  Irrigation is being re-routed due to the futsal court.
  • Staff is working on graffiti removal, starting at the trail.  Also watering elderberry bushes, cleaning any debris along the trail, and removing gravel and debris along the sidewalk and edges of the car bridge and along the edge of the roundabout.
  • Will rent lift next week to trim trees.
  • Staff is spraying weeds along the highway 128 and will finish on the west side of town.
  • Meeting today with Alan regarding Rule 20A.
  • Working on the projects list and scheduling a date for the piano drop.
  • Will submit comments to SACOG for MTIP (Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program) projects that include the I-505 overpass.
  • A draft amending the Martinez Putah Creek Farms agreement has been sent to Ethan for review.
  • Yolo Resiliency Workshop scheduled for 2/23, 8am-12pm, to look at big climate issues, ie: heat and heat-related emergencies and how departments can work together.
  • Residents on Hillview want an extra street light.
  • Talking with the folks from the cat trap/neuter/release program, who would like to provide this service free of charge to the residents at Yolo Housing and are looking for ways to transport the cats and their owners to receive this service.
  • Ice pigging is scheduled for March 28th to clean the water lines.

 

Planning:

  • Meeting today with a representative of the Valadez property.
  • Signed off on Starbuck’s for now until new construction begins on the Chevron station.
  • Working on a staff report for the 2/27 Planning Commission meeting regarding a monument sign for Chevron, Starbucks and Fairfield Inn that is similar to the ARCO, Burger King, Taco Bell sign; will check the sight distance.

 

Police:

  • 30 people attended Movie Night last weekend; it was a good joint group effort with the Fire Department.
  • The PD may receive $1,500 back from the probation department from the Kershner DUI cost recovery.
  • In the past, the PD has been reimbursed by the State for training, but this isn’t the case anymore.  POST requires that officers stay current on their training and one solution is to hold POST trainings in the EOC/Training Room at the Public Safety Facility, where two officers will be able to attend at no cost.  Some classes have already been scheduled, including Interview & Interrogation and Taser classes.  CHP also offers several free training opportunities at their facility in W. Sacramento.
  • In response to the shooting at a Florida high school, CSO/Detective Gonzalez emailed the Winters Superintendent and principals to let them know the department is available for anything they may need.  Gonzalez was present at the high school and McCoy distributed stickers at Waggoner today.
  • PD is working with schools to provide a teacher guide that includes red and green pages to display in their window to indicate to those outside whether a classroom is safe or not.

 

Fire:

  • The FD is using lunchtime recess out on the playground to interact and re-engage with the kids.  It is the desire of the FD to provide public safety within the community, but regarding the school shooting scenario, they have to be prepared for not if, but when.
  • FISH FRY IS TONIGHT!!!
  • Engine 26 is back in service and is doing well.
  • An OES standard annual inspection will take place on 3/13.
  • Fire Management meeting is being moved to once a month instead of bi-weekly.  Brad will send John an invite to the next meeting.
  • Fire Commissioner Jack Thomas passed away on February 9th.  Services will be held at St. Anthony’s on February 20th.

 

City Engineer:

  • Callahan (Crown Homes) is calling for a meeting to coordinate the infrastructure with Winters Highlands (Homes by Town).  The Main Street Pump Station is being built by Homes by Town, so Crown Homes is waiting.
  • Working with CalTrans on a possible u-turn at Grant & Matsumoto to access Starbucks.  A median will be installed on Grant to prevent left turns other than the left turn lane.  Drivers will be able to enter Starbucks drive-through from Matsumoto once the Chevron construction begins.
  • The Winters Starbucks location has just been added to the Starbucks app.

City Manager:

  • Working on budget items.
  • Will review the Capital Projects section of the upcoming Fiscal Year Budgets with the City Council at the March 6 Council Meeting.

Finally, a couple comments on the school shooting in Florida.

The need for the City and School District to coordinate on active shooter scenerio’s is critical and needs to be ongoing. The City and WJUSD went through a comprehensive planning and scenario exercise in 2014 but the reality is that most in that training have moved on. Time for another training.

The situations of active shooting events are almost unfathomable from a tragedy standpoint. Both victims and first responders are affected for their lifetimes. How we deal with the situations needs to be planned and calculated so as to effectively deal with those affected. It is a delicate balance and a part of the business we are in as a City.

Over the years, Winters has seen many tragedy’s on the small scale, yet very similar in nature, whether it be shootings, car crashes or drowning. The effects on our personnel are often traumatic and we have mechanisms in place to respond to the tragedy to counsel both families and our first responders. I will share that there are some folks who have moved on after some incidents, choosing other careers.

Emotion, empathy, shock and sadness are absolutely critical elements of dealing with the worst situations. They are signs of strength which need release during incidents. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a very real thing, which needs to be dealt with immediately to help the psyche of those who have found themselves in horrible situations. Trying to internalize or be callus simply does not work and is something which we avoid.

At the City, we have multiple levels of address for various situations. Our leadership promotes an active debrief for all moderate and major incidents; we have our Chaplain Program (with K9 Kepi who is trained to sense PTSD); we have a professional psychiatric firm on 24 hour call to meet with our staff. We have learned to not take any situations lightly.

I will share that my instruction to our Chief’s is that in the event of a traumatic situation, once stabilized and secured, that we limit the exposure of our personnel to traumatic scenes. I have a very firm belief that “not everyone needs to see the crime scene”.

Without question, the tragedy in Florida has rocked that entire community beyond measure. We need to keep those families and first responders in all of our thoughts. There were many hero’s on Wednesday and I know so many of them drove vehicles with light bars and sirens. I give thanks every day for those who have taken the call of public service who sometimes find themselves in the worst situations imaginable. I am grateful for those who risk lives and save lives.

John


  • -

02/20/18 City Council Meeting


  • -

Downtown Before and After

Downtown Before and After (pdf)

A little perspective on the evolution of Downtown Winters through capital projects done through our revitalization efforts. The goals of the Downtown Master Plan were to provide for a more pedestrian orientation, with people having an opportunity to walk through the core and experience the charm. Parking has been viewed to be on the periphery and improvements were made to create a sense of arrival and “place” for people and cars. Kind of a fun look at the evolution.


  • -

Friday Update on February 9 2018

All,

Last week, I attended the State-wide City Manager’s Department Meeting which gives me a chance to get up to date on critical issues and items affecting cities and  the State. Here is a review of some of the key issues and a brief sense where the City of Winters is affected for each.

Some of the major topics hitting California cities include pension costs, housing, transportation and homelessness.

Pension:

Unquestionably, the ballooning deficit for the funding of public employee pensions is an issue which stands to cripple municipal services in the coming years. The combination of reduced investment earnings at PERS, the increased contributions needed to fund pensions from member cities and the long term sustainability of employee pensions will become an enormous impact to how services are provided to the communities in California.

As forecasted, the incremental increase of PERS contributions for cities and counties will see median increases of almost 89% over the next 7 years with a typical city in California seeing an median dollar increase of near $2.3m per year in contributions. The percentage of pension costs to payroll shows that the median is almost 42%. In Yolo County, both Davis and Woodland will see over 50% of their payroll cost being pension related and Yolo County- 38% and West Sacramento seeing 39%.

For Winters, we are forecasting that our pension costs will increase from the current 22% of payroll to 27% in FY 24/25, an increase of almost $400k annually. To address this, Staff is looking at assigning a dedicated funding line item in our budget which is strictly pension related. Over time, the amounts will incrementally increase over time to develop a funding source to eliminate future increases so as no one year of shifts in pension costs will cause. The goal is sustainability for pension obligations, a smoothing mechanism to alleviate the peaks and valleys and a solid plan which will help the City over the next 30 years deal with this issue.

Housing:

 

Without question, the California housing market has become unaffordable for many folks, especially young families and persons seeking rental housing in both metropolitan and rental areas. The California Legislature and the Governor have made the “streamlining” of permitting a priority in many of their policy prognostications, but the reality is that they are doing very little to move the ball on helping address the situation, especially when it comes to affordable housing.

A perspective– Two summers ago, someone associated with Winters City Hall found himself between rental housing, downsizing into his own apartment from a shared one. As he left one, waiting for the word on another, he found himself on the verge of becoming homeless and needing to live in his car. Anyone with a millennial child can absolutely relate to this situation because of the tight supply of rental properties everywhere.

Some key factors inhibiting housing production include:

  • Environmental Review- The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a complicated, process driven morass of consultants, attorneys and advocates which by its nature is meant to slow and discourage development. It adds huge costs to projects and makes even the most positive and desirable projects subject to litigation and outright extortion from many groups. Neither the Governor nor Legislature, which control the elements of CEQA have taken any steps to cure some of the reforms needed and it is nowhere on their radar. The facts are that powerful groups which profit immensely from CEQA (attorneys, consultants, environmental groups and unions) stand in the way of any types of reforms. Don’t look for anything soon.
  • Labor Supply- The economic downturn and recession of 2008 significantly reduced the number of contractors and skilled carpenters, electricians, etc. The construction industry has literally become an enormously tight scheduling exercise where subcontractors and the various trades are lined up to build. Any deviation from the scheduling “window” for a trade whether it be weather, supply or any number of variables can result in significant delays if that window is missed. The ability to get any contractors for even home renovation projects can be difficult.
  • Approvals- Cities can be extremely slow to review and approve projects, taking months, if not, years to consider even the most basic subdivisions (see CEQA above). The 2008 downturn witnessed a huge reduction in planning professionals who help process applications dwindle and the many consultants (traffic, environmental review, habitat, etc) also has been reduced. It is tough to find qualified professionals and it may take years for the supply to return.
  • Financing- The loose lending of the early 2000’s which gave rise to the 2008 “mortgage” crisis has resulted in extremely tight lending criteria from underwriters. This means that even the most successful builders in the hottest markets can typically only get funding for a handful of units (5-10) at a time. Combined with the shortage of contractors and labor/material supply, it really slows things down.

A perspective on the Winters real estate market is as follows:

  • The supply of available units for sale or rent is practically non-existent. There are very few units and those that hit the market are purchased immediately.
  • As of today, we have close to 550 units approved and entitled to build and we will see two of those subdivisions (Stone’s Throw and Callahan Estates) under construction now with the first units for sale beginning the summer of 2018. We expect the construction timeline for these units to be 6-7 years.
  • Winters desperately needs rental housing. The need for quality, market rate apartments in town is huge.
  • Senior Assisted- Older folks hit that point where they need assisted living arrangements and we currently have zero. Some of our longest term residents live out the last days of their lives in Woodland, Davis or other points east and west. Population often dictates the development of assisted living facilities, so we will need to see an increase in population to make this side of the of the housing market work.
  • Affordable Housing—The lion share of housing production in Winters over the past 10 years has been affordable. The Orchard Village, Winters Apartments II and rehabilitation to Winters I and Almondwood have all been positive!
  • Senior Housing—The proposed and approved Blue Mountain Terrace Apartments will be 63 Senior Affordable Units on East Baker Street behind the Yolo Credit Union. This project has been stalled for almost 2 years as we work on gaining funding.

Winters falls into the region controlled by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) which serves as the regional transportation and planning agency. Each “planning area” like SACOG has a requirement to develop a “regional housing needs allocation (RHNA)” which essentially established housing development goals and estimates for each city and county. Also known as the RHNA number, it is very controversial and draws the ire of many people, especially the slow to no growth community. The California Department of Housing and Community Development recently released a report “grading” communities on their housing availability and production in direct relation to meeting the RHNA “goals”. Good news for Winters, where we received a passing grade while some other communities did not fare as well.

Bottom line, we have single family housing production in our future but we still have a need for rental, affordable, senior and assisted living. We will see!

Transportation:

Anyone travelling in metropolitan or toward even the most remote suburbs can relate to the growing traffic congestion which is engulfing our roadways. As the supply and availability of housing has been pushed into remote areas without a correlary of jobs in the same areas, commutes are longer and gridlock is occurring for extended durations.

Amongst cities in metropolitan California both north and south, the issues are chronic.

How is this affecting Winters:

  • From a traffic count perspective, we know that the vast majority of working Winters leaves the City between 6:30 and 7:00 am each weekday. We know that the majority of folks return home sometime between 6-6:30 pm. The vast majority of folks go south toward the Bay Area. We also know that the commutes are starting earlier (morning rush hour in Winters used to begin closer to 7:15) , meaning that can surmise that as people head to work, they need more time for travel due to traffic.
  • Our evening traffic on Grant Ave is increasing on evenings. These are not people from Winters or Lake Berryessa, they are Sacramento bound commuters seeking relief from the congestion of Highway 80. A key factor are our “smart phones” with both “Maps” and “Ways” guiding people off of Highway 80 to 128 which guides them through Davis to save some time. Next time you are at Berryessa Brewing on a Friday night, watch the traffic passing going east. It is an eye opener!
  • Smart technology is completely changing traffic patterns. The algorithms of Ways and Maps are sending cars through residential and rural areas versus the previous highways and arterial roads. In metropolitan areas, once quiet residential streets are effectively becoming cut thru’s for persons leaving congested arterials.

While Winters does not have congestion and our biggest issue seems to be people trying to figure out how to negotiate the new “roundabout”, we can still expect to collectively experience what is rapidly becoming one of our State’s largest issues.

Homelessness:

I shared last week my shock at the number of homeless I saw in Southern California. It was an absolute disaster and something which seems to be spinning out of control. The largest attended session at the City Manager’s Conference was the Homeless Session and there was standing room only to get in.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area (Pico Rivera) and lived in Orange and San Bernardino Counties. The amount of homeless “everywhere” was stunning.  I was personally shocked by the numbers of people literally living on, under and around bridges as we drove through the region.

As I visited with my peers from many cities, it is clear that some level of collective intervention is needed. Law enforcement personnel have become mostly social workers and psudo-psychologists in dealing with persons living on the streets whose biggest crime seems to be simply trying to live in an untenable situation. The police and sheriff deputies have few resources at their disposal except to just push folks from one location to the next. Most have a shopping cart and a dog with all their belongings just piled in a heap.

Who are the homeless- literally every demographic……. from young to old, male and female, families, they are all there. Homeless are not just people with “issues”, they are people with no way to find housing

A noted urbanist and someone I have worked with in the past is Chapman University Professor Joel Kotkin the often controversial urbanist who once predicted that Los Angeles would become the “Calcutta” of the United States” based on the broadening income and economic disparity which will ultimately divide the classes. He points to the reduction in certain safety net programs (mental health is one) as fueling the divide. His prediction seems to be materializing.

In Yolo County, the problem is becoming pervasive. I will share that our Yolo Manager’s Group (Each City Manager and the County Manager), homeless are a regular topic. Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento all have HUGE issues with very little relief or answers in sight. Caltrans will tell you that their facilities are becoming extremely impacted by homeless seeking shelter. Because of climate, northern California issues pale in comparison to Southern California, but they are still very real.

For Winters, our homeless population is practically non-existent. This is mostly due to the lack of shelter and social services due to our very rural nature and population size. Our homeless population is either very temporary and is transient or they are the offshoot of family problems which have people more kicked out of homes for various durations.

A lot of heavy issues with no immediate or easy answers.

John


  • -

02/21/18 Joint Workshop of City Council and Planning Commission


  • -

  • -

Friday Update on February 2 2018

All,

A couple items for the week.

·         A very light City Council Agenda with two presentations. The First will be on the Yolo County Emergency Medical Services Agency Annual Report (these are the folks who bring us ambulance services) and Yolo Transportation will be discussing the County Wide Capital Improvement Program. Short and easy!

·         The Winters Police Department released a couple press releases this week on a couple issues. The first included a juvenile arrest regarding the break in at Berryessa Sporting Goods. The second involved a alert citizen who reported some strange folks dumping a stolen car in a neighborhood (both were arrested on car theft charges). The Police also arrested a suspect who was found with stolen items from a car burglary. In each case, information was reported by alert citizens.

·         PG&E is installing the utilities to Starbucks, so that double macchiato latte is just around the corner for some lucky person!

·         I attended the State-wide City Manager’s Conference this week in Southern California. The consensus on the top issues facing cities are Pension Liabilities, Housing, Transportation and Homelessness. The State is an absolute wreck in each of these areas and there does not seem to be a clear path on any of it.

·         The State Department of Housing and Community Development has released its report card on affordable housing production for cities. In Yolo County, both Winters and West Sacramento received passing grades while Davis and Woodland landed on the naughty list. A good sign for us with pending legislation coming down which will result in State mandates for those not meeting certain housing goals.

A big take away from the City Manager’s Conference was the struggle that many communities are facing with homelessness and vagrancy in their communities. In many places it is epidemic and in Southern California it is everywhere. Downtown Los Angeles is practically one giant 10 block homeless encampment and the freeway overpasses literally have folks living on them.

The problem has many causes which need address. These include but are not limited to the following:

·         Lack of affordable housing in the urban and suburban areas. People in need and on the streets will congregate near social and safety net services, which means the more populated zones. When affordable housing is not present, they simply live on the streets, inside storm culverts, under/on bridges or any place they can find.

·         Mental health help in California is really under-funded. Many of those on the streets are dealing with mental and substance issues. Many of these folks used to be housed in prisons and were released under AB109 with the promise that there would be increased funding toward mental and health programs. The State has not followed through on these safety net assistance programs and these people are left to fend for themselves.

·         Basic economics and a vast divide in income levels. There really are the haves and have not’s in our society and those who cannot afford housing are fending for themselves. Many families end up living in their cars which includes children.

There are many contributing factors including the shear lack of housing production following in the economic collapse of 2008 and the end of programs such as community redevelopment agencies which were the key production vehicles for local affordable projects.

It was a very eye opening topic for me at this conference and a struggle which California will be dealing with for some time.

John


  • -

WM street pile green waste pick up resumes Mon., Feb. 12, 2018

WM is back to monthly street pile green waste pick up. The next street pick will be on Monday Feb. 12th. Residents are encouraged to use their green waste/compost bins with brown lids, which will be serviced next week and every other week after that. Please do not leave green waste out on the street for more than a couple of days prior to street pick up. Refer to your WM service calendar for ongoing details.


Search

Department Links:

-City Clerk

-City Council

-City Council Agendas

-City Manager

-City Manager's Update

-Economic Advisory Committee*

-Future Leaders*

-Hispanic Advisory Committee*

-Personnel

-Planning Commission

-Putah Creek Committee

-Administrative Forms and Reports

-Website Posting Requirements


Note: to view online City documents, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer. Click to visit Adobe's download page (external website).