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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday the 13th Update for September 11 2019

 

All,

An early edition as I am dealing with a number of things over the next few days and next week.

A couple items:

  • Staff met with some folks this week regarding planning, growth and big picture issues and it was a really good meeting. Staff is working on an overall plan for community engagement, education and the ability for folks to get involved in some key projects like the upcoming Housing Element Update, Climate Change and General Plan Stuff. You can get the gist of what we are working on from the August 30 Friday Update or look for the initial staff report which will go to the City Council on October 1, 2019. Here is the link to the August 30 update (<click)
  • Disappointment last week when the City was notified that we were not awarded a grant for the construction of the Senior Center Project. We will apply again in Spring, 2020!
  • The Hotel Winters enjoyed a “soft” opening the weekend of September 6-9 where they had 3 wedding parties and almost 80% occupancy. The Hotel looked amazing and the staff were excellent representatives of our town. Reservations for the coming week can be gotten at www.hotelwinters.com .
  • As hotel guests arrived, the flow of people into the Downtown was very evident. I was in two establishments on Friday and the customer service from our restaurants and tasting rooms was simply first rate. It just warms my heart when I see our town shine! The excellence we have in Winters is beyond reproach and it showed last week.
  • Getting some complaints about construction on the weekends from the new subdivisions. We are working with the developers to get a handle on both time and days for the many subcontractors.
  • Lots of discussion among businesses and groups on insurance requirements and the viability of events. We are scheduling a meeting with key stakeholders and we are going to figure all of this out. Not need to worry about any of the events in town not happening. We just need to work together on all of this!
  • This morning I participated in the 9/11 observance at the Public Safety Facility with members of Winters Fire and Police. It was a very respectful observation of an amazing occurrence. Our public safety personnel paying tribute to the more than 3,000 people who died on that fateful day was simply beautiful. The passion, commitment and loyalty to service is an amazing thing to see. Thanks to both Winters Fire and Police!

Last week I shared a little bit about my first year working for the City and mentioned that 9/11 was my second day on the job. A little more on that fateful day.

I watched the second plane go into the second tower of the World Trade Center when I was getting ready to come to work on that Tuesday morning at my brothers apartment in Sacramento. He had the Today Show on and mentioned a plane crashing into one of the buildings. We watched in horror as a news camera picked up the second plane roaring through Manhattan and exploding into the second tower.

I jumped into my City car, fumbled with the radio and found a talk radio station which was talking about the attack. On the ride to Winters I heard about the attack on the Pentagon and that they were shutting down all air traffic around the Country. Simply surreal.

When I arrived at City Hall, I ran into the building looking for a television. It was janitorial day and the two people looked at me like “who the heck are you” when I asked them for a tv. I spent a couple minutes trying to convince them that I worked here. Finally I showed the one guy that I had a key to my office and he bought that I was a new employee! The City only had a single, 13” television, no cable with a really cheap antenna with only a 2’ cord on it. I put the tv on a chair, found a bay area news station and got a horrible, but watchable picture and things unfolded.

Staff began to arrive to work that morning a little before 8. We all gathered in the upstairs conference room and watched the news reports and the eventual collapse of the World Trade Center Towers. What I remember most about the moment of the first collapse was our Recreation Coordinator Gloria Marion grabbing and holding on to my hand as the first building went down. We all stood there in silence, me and Gloria holding hands as the massive dust cloud erupted like a volcano on the New York Skyline. The ghostly figures walking from the streets, covered in grey ash in utter shock. We all had a tear in our eye and nobody really said anything.

Later that morning, our Police Chief, Steve Godden came to my office. He told me that all the government offices in the area were closing as a security measure against terrorism. I told him, that being the new guy, I had to ask why Winters would be a target for international terrorism. He mentioned the dam and we talked it out a bit and decided that we would keep the doors open for folks to come by with any questions.

Gloria Marion was one of the most social people I had ever met. From the theatre productions to her side job styling hair, she seemed to know everybody (and she did). That day it seemed like hundreds of people stopped by City Hall to check in. Most of the people were older, many just looking for someone to talk and visit. I think many were as in shock as all of us and just looking for a little reassurance to share some sorrow. Gloria had an incredible personality and a deep, assuring voice. I can only imagine the number of people she gave solace to that day but it was awesome. She and Nanci Mills held court downstairs and made a difference for many.

Because it was a Tuesday, the town was basically closed during the evening. The Buckhorn was open but nobody was there. Downtown was very different that night than people see it today with the Buckhorn and Tienda Liquor Store being the only businesses open in Downtown. The place was just empty.

We had turned off the little City Hall tv and I remember working late into the evening. I called my wife Kathy and we decided that we did not want our kids to watch the television of what had occurred, so she read to them that evening.

As I got into the car to head to my brothers apartment in Sacramento, I ran into Gloria walking up the street from a hair appointment she had with a customer. I pulled over to offer her a ride (she lived only a block from City Hall but I did not know that) and she politely declined. I thanked her for being there for so many people who visited City Hall that day. I also thanked her for holding my hand that morning as things unfolded. She looked at me and said “You looked scared”. We both smiled at each, laughed and I proceeded to drive off. I knew at that moment that I would really like working with Gloria. And she was right, I was scared!

The warmth of a small town sometimes comes out in different ways. When horrific events happen, its nice to know that we have the type of place where when people have some fear and need comfort, they know they have a place to come.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on September 6 2019

City Manager Update Friday Update on September 6 2019
All,

Just a few items this week:

  • The City Council meeting this week had a focus on Valley Clean Energy (VCE) and the possibility of the City participating in their Community Choice Aggregation plan which allows local authority in the purchasing of power and energy. Lot’s of discussion and I encourage people to view the meeting on the City’s YouTube Channel. http://www.cityofwinters.org/live-city-council-meetings/ For more information about VCE and their programs, go to https://valleycleanenergy.org/
  • Lot’s going over the next few weeks, so the City Council decided to adjourn to October 1, 2019 as the next meeting, so no meeting on September 17.
  • Warriors are at home tonight against St. Helena and it will be a tough one!

So, Tuesday, September 10, 2019 will mark my eighteenth (18) year as the City Manager of the City of Winters. It was an exciting week because the terrorist attack on our nation was the following day, September 11, 2001! For those who do not know my background, I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and that area is a little different than there!

A couple remembrances to share about my first year in town after these 18 years which give me perspective to this day about Winters, California………………..

  • The week following 9-11 was a town hall meeting at the Community Center which was organize in part by Debra DeAngelo and the churches in the community to bring everyone together about the attack. The place was packed with standing room only on to the rear patio. The community had come to share and unite in what had happened to our country. We had a number of speakers including me. The most memorable part of the evening for me was all of the volunteers of Winters Fire lining the back of the room. Many of the speakers talked passionately, but the thing I remember most was the standing ovation for the Fire volunteers in recognition of their service to our community. It was an amazing introduction to me of what was important about the little town of Winters, the volunteers and commitment to community.
  • The mayor of Winters at the time was Tom Stone. Not only is Tom a really great person, but he was highly influential and politically connected in Yolo County (I think he put up more signs for political candidates than anyone). My wife Kathy and I moved our two kids to a double wide mobile home in the middle of a walnut orchard two miles west of town. One of the kindest things is the entire City Council brought us dinner the evening that we arrived. It was one of the kindest gestures we could have ever imagined as our Welcome to Winters.
  • The week after Kathy and the kids arrived was Halloween, one of the most important holidays of the year for kids. Living in the middle of an orchard is not a great location for kids aged 5 and 7, so what the heck to do about trick or treating. I am in my office with long time City Attorney John Wallace talking City business when he looks at me and asks where my kids were going to trick or treat. I explained my dilemma and he proceeds to give me an address on Main Street where Bruce Guelden lived and said to be there with my kids at 6 p.m. and suggested I bring an appetizer and a bottle of wine. It was an amazing night, the kids went out trick or treating with a bunch of other kids from “the country” and it was a chance to for me meet some of the most influential and community minded people in Winters. John saving the day is something I will remember forever. One of the nicest things anyone could have done for a new family in town. If I learned anything from John and Winters is a very home spun perspective that it’s the little things in peoples lives which make all the difference with trick or treating being really important.
  • In March of 2002, we had an election which completely changed the City Council. The original Council who hired me included Chris Calvert, John Frazier, Tome Stone, Harold Anderson and Jiley Romney. In March, the City Council now included Robert Chapman, Dan Martinez, Bruce Guelden along with Harold and Jiley. Three new bosses who did not hire you can be intimidating for a “new” city manager and I was freaked out! I insisted that we have a “strategic planning” meeting for us to get on the “same page” in regards to the direction they wanted me to take the City. We met in the “green room” at the Community Center and the Staff in the meeting included me, Nanci Mills, Police Chief Steve Godden, Shelly Gunby and Fire Chief Scotty Dozier. I had pried a white board off the wall of my office and I asked them to list what was important and what they wanted me to focus on. This included a very measured and strategic approach to growth, Downtown revitalization, Putah Creek, public safety, a new library, working with the WJUSD, solid infrastructure and working to keep Winters as an incredible place to raise your children.

If I learned anything during my first year in Winters, it was about perspective and priorities. Volunteers and community values are critical, the importance of little things (being neighborly and caring about others) and mostly, the inherent goals of the community to move it forward yet maintaining a sense of place, identity and being unique.

In Winters, I have met some of the nicest and sincere people I could ever imaging knowing. I give thanks for the blessings of raising my kids in a town which really does care and the giving I have been able to do in return. 18 years is a while, but I still remember that Halloween at Bruce’s House as if it were yesterday. I’m a lucky guy!

Go Warriors.

John


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Friday Update: Planning Workshop Edition- August 30, 2019

City Manager Update Planning Workshop Edition August 30 2019
All,

On August 21, 2019, the City held a joint community workshop of the City Council and Planning Commission to discuss a number of key planning subjects including the status of any application regarding the North Area, an overview of the application and plan review process, the status of the General Plan and an overview of key planning issues in California. The Workshop was well attended and the public provided a number of important themes in their comments.

One of the most important takeaways was the importance that the City needs to ensure a very robust process of engagement, information and planning to bring the community into a process of planning all facets of the how, where and the pace of development within the City.

From the City Staff perspective and in my discussions with both City Council and Planning Commission, the message was heard loud and clear!

Key themes in the comments included:

  • The need for a robust community outreach and engagement of residents in planning the City’s future.  Multiple people noted that many of the City’s residents today did not have input on the current General Plan, and they should have input on how the City develops moving forward. Its time to get lots of folks involved!
  • Concerns regarding the pace, location and the phasing of growth within the City.
  • Questions and concerns regarding the current and potential growth boundaries of the City’s planning area.
  • Need for a review on the payoff of the debt owed on the 1992 General Plan.
  • The need for a review of General Plan policies and sections to reflect community values and aspirations.
  • The relevancy and applicability of the City’s current General Plan.
  • The importance of citizen input and collaboration in the planning process, review of the General Plan.
  • The need for a Climate Action Plan to establish baseline expectations for addressing this critical area.

Staff has taken these themes and is incorporating them into an overall land use planning work program which will be presented to the City Council on October 1, 2019.

At the end of the workshop, the Council provided staff with some specific direction on some key items including the following:

  1. Status of Northeast Area
  • Direct staff to maintain the informational website with current information regarding the project and application status.
  1. Land Development Application Process
  • Affirm the described land development application process for continued use with new applications
  • Direct staff to post the steps for a typical land development application process online as an informational tool
  • Direct staff to provide monthly updates to Council on activity related to land development projects.
  1. Status of General Plan
  • Direct staff to undertake an adequacy review of General Plan to identify required and other strongly recommended changes, as well as preliminary budget and funding information for making such changes
  • Direct staff to develop workplan for update of the Housing Element with preliminary budget and funding information
  • Direct staff to investigate mechanisms and a timeline to pay off the 1992 General Plan interfund loan

 Status of Annexation

  • Direct staff to undertake an adequacy review of the location and extent of the General Plan planning area
  1. General Plan Implementation
  • Direct staff to identify funding and prepare a workplan plan for adoption of a Climate Action Plan/Sustainability Strategy.
  • Direct staff to report on the status and adequacy of the City’s infrastructure master plans, including the status of the Flood Overlay Zone (FOZ), and the major projects financing fee program

Additionally, Staff is proposing projects to specifically address many of the themes which were presented at the workshop.  There are many details in development and some things will take time to prepare, (and may be modified) but will be presented at the October 1 meeting.

These include:

 

Public Outreach:

Without question, people at the workshop are interested in participation in planning the future of the City, and making sure that the City’s residents have input into land use and planning decisions moving forward. Making sure that our citizens have this opportunity will be the number one priority.

Staff is now working on the development of a public outreach strategy to maximize community participation in the review and prioritization of general plan policy development.

 

General Plan:

The work program will include the following to address concerns related to the General Plan:

  1. A General Plan adequacy review.
  2. The development of an overall strategy for the update of needed aspects of the General Plan, including funding and an overall framework.
  3. A General Plan Refresh Strategy which will include the overall scope and parameters for policy review, presentation and update of key General Plan Documents.

 

Fiscal Sustainability:

The important of establishing a clear picture of a sound financial future for the City to provide services, maintain infrastructure and sustain critical services such as school, public safety and the wide variety of quality of life services such as parks and projected senior services is critical. The work program will include a variety of fiscal models to help in the decision making process.

 

Public Information:

 

The importance of accessibility of information on planning is a critical part of the overall process. The work program includes:

  1. Maintenance and regular updates to the City’s North Area Planning Website to include project status reports, monthly updates, planning application information.
  2. Regular updates before the City Council on planning applications.

 

Climate Action Strategy and Plan:

 

The work program will include a program toward the update and adoption of a Climate Action Plan. This may include:

  1. Establishment of an Advisory Climate Committee/Commission to work with Staff and consultants in the update and review of a Climate Action Plan.
  2. Development of a Climate Action Plan Document which may include the update of the current draft document and a merge with the draft climate action strategy.
  3. The application of applicable Yolo Climate Resiliency Tool Box policies within City policies and programs.
  4. Environmental Review and adoption of a Climate Action Plan.

The proposal will be one of the most comprehensive planning and community participation efforts in many years for the City.

Stay tuned for more information!

Have a nice labor day!

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on August 16 2019

 

All,

Happy Yolo County Faire Weekend! Getting this out so I can go support the Winters FFA students and pour beer for Rotary. Here is the update:

  • The August 20, 2019 City Council Agenda has a bunch of items on it including the Air bnb Ordinance, a Resolution requiring “any” application which goes beyond the City’s General Plan/Urban Limit Line be accepted for processing by the City Council, a bus sharing agreement between the City and Hotel Winters, and updates on the Parking Master Plan implementation and a City Projects Overview. Also included will be the Groundwater Monitoring agreement for our Wastewater Facility, a Proclamation in support of the Yolo Food Bank, Funding for the Salmon Festival and the Street Closure for the Earthquake Festival. For the Agenda or the full Packet click HERE.
  • The Planning Workshop on August 21 at the Public Safety Facility will be from 5:00-8:30. The Workshop will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!
  • The First Street Parking Lot adjacent to the Hotel Winters was paved this week and we expect the marking of the stalls and finishing touches to occur next week. In total, 38 spaces which will include handicapped stalls and a high capacity electric vehicle charging station. Overall, it looks pretty good!

Finally, a big thanks to the “Guerilla Gardeners” who have become an important partner for the City of Winters in maintaining and manicuring the Downtown Area. All through the area from Railroad Ave to Main and First Street, these volunteers are doing an amazing job and showing a lot of pride and “Winters Spirit” in making our community look really good! A shout out and many thanks for a job well done.

Go to the County Faire, support our FFA and enjoy one of the last “free” experiences of its type in California!

John

 


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Friday Update on Thursday August 8 2019

 

All,

A couple of items this week:

  • From the City Council Meeting, the Air B&B Ordinance was continued to the August 20 Meeting with a request for more information on how Accessory Dwelling Units are treated within the scope of affordable housing and as vacation rentals.
  • Approved at the meeting was an upgrade to the City’s Building Permit System with direction to include a “citizen portal” to allow permit applications, payment and tracking online.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Wade Cowan was selected as the Alternate Board Member to represent the City on the Yolo Housing Authority.

Some miscellaneous items:

  • Due to unavoidable issues, the paving work schedule for Downtown streets and the First Street Parking Lot has changed: On Saturday, August 10, Vintage Paving will be doing road work on Railroad Ave and on Abbey St. The south bound lane on Railroad from Abbey to Main will be closed. The north bound lane will be open but moved over to the east side a few feet. Their will be no parking on the east side of Railroad from Main to Abbey during this construction period which is scheduled to be from 6am to 4pm. Abbey St will be closed on the West side from the west edge of the hotel to the First/Abbey intersection. There will be access to Napa Auto Parts and the Barber Shop from Railroad. Vintage will be paving the entrance into Newts Expressway, the entrance into the parking lot and will be paving Newts Expressway. On Monday, August 12, they will be paving the parking lot but no road closure.
  • Congratulations to the Winters Joint Unified School District for their open house and the launch of the new buildings on the Winters High School Campus. A really important sign of the upgrades to the school and the investment the community has in our education system.  10 new classrooms for our students. Well done!
  • Kudo’s to the Downtown Merchants for the Albarino Wine Stroll. A first class event which really took things to a new level! Estimates have the participants at about 400+.
  • For those interested in Planning and Development, mark you calendar for Wednesday, August 21 from 5:00 to 8:30 at the Public Safety Facility (700 Main Street). The Workshop for August 21 2019 will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!

City Hall is extremely busy! A key project I am working on involves the development of a key project list to inform the City Council and the public about the myriad of issues and projects we are working on. Lots of projects which are interconnected means the need to plan the appropriate sequencing to maximize the overall efficiency and effectiveness of how we proceed. For some folks it may seem frustrating but it is just the reality for how we need to proceed.

Finally, I would like to highlight the Police Department’s Cadet Program which provides personal development and leadership opportunities for young people in our community. The young men and women in the program have the chance to not only learn about law enforcement and public safety, but to make a genuine impact on their community and become role models amongst their peers and especially with children.

In 2019, the Cadets have represented the community in a number of events, most notably at the services for fallen Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona. I will share that I saw the cadets the morning of the services, looking amazingly professional and ready to go represent. They shined at the event and those in the Department and I could never have been prouder to have such fine young people wearing the name “Winters” on their uniforms. It was special!

Cadet positions are non- sworn volunteer positions and complement the Winters Police Volunteer Program. The goals of the Police Cadet program are to expose men and women to the various aspects of police work in order to prepare them for a career in law enforcement. The Police Cadet program also helps to provide quality candidates for all law enforcement. Cadets increase services the Police Department can provide to our community and can provide support in the following areas:

  • School, Park, and Bike trail Patrols
  • Community Events and Festivals
  • Safety Presentations
  • Traffic control and scene management during emergencies
  • Senior wellness checks
  • Vacation checks
  • Clerical/ Office Support

The program is administered by Cadet Program Director Officer Alan Pinette and Coordinator CSO Gail Jimenez. For more information regarding the Cadet Program please contact: Cadet Program Winters Police Department 702 Main St Winters, CA 95694 (530) 795-2261 ext 146 tips.winters@winterspolice.org Or download our information brochure by clicking this link: Cadet Brochure

Have a good weekend!

John


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Friday Update on August 2 2019

All,

Back from a couple of days in a very hot and monsoon driven trip to Arizona. A couple items:

City Council Agenda:

Discussion items includes:

  • Air B&B Ordinance
  • Designation of Alternate City Council Liaison to Yolo Housing Authority Board
  • Building Permit System Software Upgrade
  • Natural Resources Element Review

Consent Calendar Items Includes:

  • Purchase of a Float Sensor for East Street Sewer Pump Station
  • Amplified Sound Permit for Thanksgiving Dinner Fundraiser
  • Delinquent Utility Bills
  • Claims Filed Against the City from Foxglove Flooding

The meeting will also include a presentation on Climate Change and Resiliency.

A couple more items:

  • The Planning Workshop for August 21 2019 will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!
  • Transient Issues in the Creek have created work for our public works and public safety folks. A busy week with some law enforcement and emergency medical response.
  • First Street Parking lot and Newt’s Alley will probably be paved around the weekend of August 10. Overall both of these projects are looking really good.
  • Saturday is the Albarino Wine Stroll. Check in is at the Green River Tap Room. For full information, go to www.albarinowinestroll.com . It is going to be an amazing event.

Finally, the article in the newspaper on the Planning Commission was a little hard on my comments related to “millennials”. Mostly, my observation is that the overall processes need the participation of a broad cross section of the community, when it comes to issues, especially when looking at our future on issues like planning, economic development and shaping the future course for the community. Yes, I give a hard time to millennials, because they are a really tough group to outreach to in relation to community meetings. Millennials are good in their own forum (online, social media, etc) but when it comes to the melding of interests and groups in a community forum like a City Council or Planning Commission Meeting, they simply do not show up.

Some of this is clearly the fault of the City in trying to find those avenues which get into a more technical approach to engagement. We are looking into alternatives and if we have community members who know of effective community outreach tools in this area, I would appreciate hearing them. Social media seems to be a pretty difficult environment but there must be other avenues out there. Let me know.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on Sunday July 28 2019

All,

The heat of summer is upon us and this time of year marks the start of our fiscal year budget and a lot start for many things, meaning smaller agendas with the City Council.

The tentative August 6 City Council Agenda has the following:

  • Public Hearing on the Air BnB Ordinance
  • Presentation on Climate Resiliency (effects of heat)
  • Designation of an alternate City Council liaison for Yolo County Housing Authority
  • Installation of a float level transmitter for the East Street Pump Station
  • Amplified Sound Permit for Thanksgiving Committee Fundraiser

A couple updates on things:

  • First, if you are feeling ignored by not getting response to emails to City Hall, you are probably not alone. We upgraded all of our computer programs last weekend and most of us feel like we have landed on another planet. Be patient and understand that the positive effects of an “upgrade” take months to be realized. We will get there!
  • Mark Wednesday, August 21 for a joint City Council/Planning Commission Land Use Planning Workshop as an education forum on many of the topics brought up regarding the north area including Specific Planning, Annexation, General Plan and LAFCO Process. This will be an opportunity for the City, community and stakeholders to get on the same page on the status of many key issues. Look for details to come out in the coming weeks.
  • Staff met with about 20 community members with concerns about the North Area Planning issue. It was a facilitated meeting with many questions and some amazing input. I will share that I was grateful for the honesty and directness of folks along with some pretty direct questions to try and clear the air on things. Winters is blessed with many people who love the community. From the meeting, there is more common ground than disagreement on things and I am confident that we will get to understanding and agreement and move forward in a united direction. I will be scheduling a follow up meeting in the coming weeks to check in on some things we are working on at the staff level and get input. The meeting gets 5 out of 5 stars in my view.
  • The Planning Commission had a really good workshop on the Economic Development Advisory Committee Report.  Some really good input. We have an exceptional group on the Commission and the other night shows!
  • On July 9, I was on a panel for the “Sacramento Groundbreakers” which featured Visit Sacramento, Visit Lodi, Rob on the Road from PBS and me representing Winters. Click HERE for a link to the podcast, it came out pretty good for us.
  • The Hotel Winters is scheduled to have its grand opening on September 6, 2019.
  • The OLS Hotels Team who will operate the Hotel Winters have been training at City Hall and it is really pretty cool. Most of the hires are from here in Winters and the orientation process is absolutely amazing. This is going to be a first class hotel and the emphasis on excellence in the training of their staff shows. This is very exciting!
  • I personally walked through the Hotel this week with most of the rooms furnished and the ambiance beginning to emerge. The views from the rooms are amazing and really show off the town and vistas in a way unlike any other place in the City. We cannot wait for the community to see the project, the wait is absolutely worth it.
  • Look for the First Street Parking Lot and Newts Expressway to get rocked this week, concrete gutters installed and paving to happen over the next two weeks. The project is blessed with Vintage Paving as our contractor and their quality subs. The project is on schedule and will be really nice when we are done.
  • Rumor Control on the First Street Parking Lot- THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC PARKING LOT AND NOT EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE HOTEL.
  • Two HUGE projects on the City Manager’s desk are project lists for General City Projects from each Department and a Planning Project List. Both will be presented at the August 20 City Council Meeting. Lot’s going on and the project lists will show that.
  • The City hosted a quarterly meeting for the Sacramento Division of the League of California Cities with about 40 elected officials from the greater Northern California in attendance. An update on our Putah Creek Projects, a Tour of the PG&E Academy, a tour of our agricultural assets and finally a tour of Berreyessa Gap Winery and rootstock. It was a first class event organized by City Councilmember Jesse Loren with Buckhorn Truck Food, a presentation and welcome from Mayor Bill Biasi and a quality representation by our businesses. Our little town is the talk of the Sacramento Region and it did not disappoint! Kudos to all who participated!
  • The Albarino Wine Stroll is on August 3. Get your tickets at www.albarinowinestroll.com . $45 dollars per person which is a bargain!

Finally, controversy over the past few months has put a real critical eye on these Friday Updates. Social media has not been kind, often taking a different spin and taking something which is relatively non-controversial and making it the coming of the apocalypse. I have some folks telling me to end them.

I have been sending the Friday Updates out to a general distribution for the better part of eight years. In total, I hit about 8,000 people weekly through email, twitter, facebook and Instagram. The goal is pretty simple, to give folks a glimpse into things happening in the City in a concise format and some insight into things happening at Winters City Hall and my desk. I include some perspectives and stories in my own goofy way and sometimes bring a self-effacing approach to some situations. Yup, I am very patriotic, pro public safety, have a really dry sense of humor and put an unfiltered view on things (I get interesting feedback on lots of my views). Not trying to generate controversy, propagandize or proselytize, just my view which can be totally ignored and deleted.

The Friday Update is going to continue. For those on my  email distribution who don’t want to be on the list anymore, just respond and Ill take you off. On social media, just ignore it!

Try and avoid the heat and see everyone at the Albarino Stroll.

John


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Friday Update on June 28 2019

Friday Update on June 28 2019

Friday Update on June 28, 2019 City Manager Update
All,

A crazy busy week with lots going on!

First, a review of the City Council Agenda for Tuesday, July 2. Pretty short being a holiday week. The entire agenda and packet (with all the details and reports) can be located HERE.

  • TEFRA Public Hearing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments. This will be a mandatory hearing for the conduit financing for the project.
  • Memorandums of Understandings and Salary Schedules for most of the City’s employee organizations.
  • General Plan Element Review. The fifth of the nine (9) part series. This month we will focus on the Public Facilities and Services Element.
  • Contract with Switzer Enterprises for the City’s Information Technology Services.

Some of the items hot and going this week.

  • Good news, Burger King is ready to be opened. Final inspections and testing was completed today and they can open at any time!
  • The street and frontage improvements for the Downtown Winters Hotel were paved and concrete installed which is a major milestone for the project. Mattresses and furniture are starting to be loaded into the hotel which is very exciting!
  • OLS Hotels, the parent company of the Hotel Winters held employee orientations and training at City Hall. A very exciting day as we watched first hand the local jobs and opportunity being realized from the project. It looks like a first class organization and the new employees seemed to be just beaming!
  • The First Street Parking Lot and Alley Improvements are well under way. Grading for the project is almost completed, so additional geotechnical work is under way in the alley and they are setting up for the concrete work. Vintage Paving of Winters is the general contractor and we could never wish for better. Former City lifeguard, lifelong resident and recent Chico State Grad Kevin Hyde is the foreman on the job and doing an amazing job of managing the operations. Look for the project to come to completion over the next couple weeks!
  • The Planning Commission reviewed and is advancing a recommendation for the adoption of an ordinance to cover short term rentals such as Air B&B, Vacation Rentals by Owners, Etc. The review and work took almost a year and was very thorough, with multiple hearings, workshops and outreach. Look for it to be on the City Council Agenda in August.
  • Housing is becoming the State’s #1 priority with the Governor and Legislature announcing sweeping legislation, funding and penalties for achieving their goals on the expansion of housing. Look for much of this to come to the forefront by September with the release of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. For more information on RHNA, go HERE.
  • For an overview of key housing issues in Winters go HERE for a report delivered to the City Council and Planning Commission in May.
  • Staff attended multiple County meetings on the growing issue of The problem is growing significantly throughout the State and Region with Sacramento seeing an almost 25% rise. The most significant takeaway is that there are many people literally one lost job or rent increase away from being on the streets. The number of people living in their cars is increasing. The cycle seems to be from housing to eviction to couch surfing to living in a car to living on the street. Each of the Yolo cities (with the exception of Winters) have dedicated “homeless coordinators” extending services and providing a social aspect to city operations. The issue is serious and growing!
  • The City held its “2X2” with the WJUSD on Wednesday. The District is moving forward on their facility plans and many other projects. Lots of really good stuff for students in the coming years.
  • Saturday will be one year since the “County Fire” which burned almost 120,000 acres along the Blue/Berryessa Ridge. Let’s root for NO FIRES in 2019!
  • We had technical issues on this month’s edition of “Ask the City Manager”. We have a few folks in attendance in the Council Chamber and it was a good afternoon. We will fix the camera issue and be back next month.

Finally, the murders of Sacramento Officer Tara O’Sullivan and Davis Officer Natalie Corona were brought to reality for me over the past week with the amazing funeral for Officer O’Sullivan on Thursday and a chance for me to meet the parents of Officer Corona last week in Davis. The shattering of such bright futures and potential which would have undoubtedly have made incredible contributions to the law enforcement community is just heart breaking and hits to the core on the violence which exists in our society and is faced by law enforcement daily.

On Friday of last week (the day following the murder of Officer Tara O’Sullivan), I participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run from the Davis Police Station to the ARC Arena at UC Davis. Leading the procession and the first torch bearers were Merced and Lupe Corona, the parents of slain Davis Officer Natalie Corona. They were the nicest, most affable people, joking with the officers and laughing about Natalie’s affinity for running. They brought strength and resolve to all the officers present. They were absolutely wonderful!

One thing I noticed were the many females participating in the run and how young they all looked. I asked who they were (thinking they were relatives of some of the officers) and I learned that they were either new officers or cadets! First, I felt really old (everyone seems to look really young these days), but mostly I was encouraged to see the motivation of these young female officers coming into law enforcement. As we did the run, they had a number of chants and you could hear these young officers yelling loud and exuding pride and enthusiasm for their chosen profession. It was inspiring!

The tragedies of both Tara and Natalie are simply unconscionable,  but there is no question that they will be the heroic symbols to motivate the growing next generation of female officers who will choose to lead from the front in our public safety future. Law enforcement has yearned to recruit women into the ranks for many years and we are now seeing it grow even in the shadows of the recent tragedies.

From tragedy springs eternal hope and without question, the legacies of Tara and Natalie will be our law enforcement future.

No Friday update next week!

John


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Friday Update on June 21 2019

Friday Update on June 21 2019 City Manager’s Update
All,

Just a quick few notes:

  • First Street Parking Lot and Alley Improvements are well under way! Vintage Paving of Winters, CA is the contractor and they are doing an amazing job and we expect an amazing result on schedule!
  • Staff is working on outreach with folks concerned with some of the North Area Planning. I will be meeting with some folks next week!
  • Next weeks Planning Commission will have a recap of the Economic Development Committee Report and Air B&B.
  • Look for letters to go out to folks with Air B&B’s regarding payment of past due transient occupancy taxes. The issue has certainly made us aware of some folks and we will be in contact.
  • Winters Police will be participating in the Special Olympics Torch Run tonight at UC Davis!

Finally, the murder of Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan is a tragedy of incredible magnitude. Officer O’Sullivan was less than six months past her academy graduation and was cowardly gunned down as she attempted to help a domestic violence victim simply get some personal effects. The blow to the law enforcement community gives that sobering reminder of what being a police officer entails and the dangers which exist at practically every moment of their day.

Sacramento Police Department is an incredible organization with committed officers and solid leadership. Light a candle and show support for them and all officers during this incredible time.

John


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Friday Update for June 14 2019

Friday Update for June 14 2019, City Manager's Update
All,

A quick overview on the City Council Agenda then just a list of the projects which are on my desk and will be of particularly high attention over the next 12-18 months.

City Council Agenda for June 18, 2019:

  • Public Hearing on Weed Abatement
  • Planning Commission Appointments
  • Pension and Other Post Employment (OPEB) Policy
  • Amplified sound permit for Summer Concert Series (WFoL)
  • El Rio Villa Sewer Agreement Renewal
  • Olive Grove Subdivision Improvement Agreement for Phase 1
  • Swearing in of Police Reserve Officer Charlie Kharsa

Now the list of projects which are on my desk and will encompass a good part of my workload for the coming months and year:

  • Moving policy direction and review of the Economic Development Committee Report and Recommendations. The report will be back before the Planning Commission on June 25 for additional input, then to the City Council for more direction.
  • Not so “fun fact” on City Sales Tax. For the Fourth Quarter of 2018, sales taxes per capita for the City were $1,809, 2.5% below the same reporting period in 2017. The per capita average for the rest of Yolo County was $4,963, up 10.5% from the 2017 reporting period. This means that on average we are receiving $3,154 less per resident per quarter. This indicates dramatic “loss” of spending within our own economy and our own residents.  A perspective is that if we received the “average” of what Yolo County is getting, we would receive over $900k in general fund revenues to support parks, public safety and general City services.
  • Staff has been contacted and will set a meeting with the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) about potential membership. This would be a really important collaboration to generate opportunities for jobs and industry expansion in the City.
  • Develop an overall strategy on integrating the Draft Climate Action Plan and a draft Implementation Strategy. Climate is an important part of both future land use and economic development which will help address the City’s number one green house gas (GHG) issue- reduction of vehicle miles travelled.
  • The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process with SACOG is heating up and I will be engaging in the process which will lead to the release of the housing numbers and formula’s which are anticipated to be released in late summer.
  • The release of the RHNA numbers will trigger the process for an update of the City’s Housing Element. This will include the hire of a consultant, format, analysis, public outreach and working with both SACOG and the State Department of Housing and Community Development. This is a really BIG deal and will be a major effort.
  • The recent uproar and concern over the Bellevue North Property has triggered concerns over planning and overall direction. I plan to meet with people concerned with the issue to gain perspectives and input. A need for public outreach and information is definitely there and I will be working to provide all of that. Look for items before both the Planning Commission and City Council in the coming months. For information on the North Area Planning, click HERE for a website we have set up with the applicable information.
  • Succession Planning for some key retirements in Public Works and Housing/Economic Development/Planning is a big load. We are losing almost 30 years of experience/service with these retirements. When high caliber employees leave you lose quite a bit of institutional knowledge and capacity. Not looking forward to this at all.
  • Preparation for the Fiscal Year 20-21 and 21-22 budgets will be on us as early as the fall. Capital Projects, Public Safety and Utilities are all big topics. When it comes to government regulation, nobody gets is worst that local government. Looks for new regulations for water, wastewater and storm water which will be significant and cost a lot!
  • A needed remodel of the former Police Department will move Financial and Human Resources functions for better accessibility and functionality. This project will move into the next years budget but planning needs to begin now.
  • The Fairfield Inn is moving along but there are details on my desk which need work.
  • The Senior Center and Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments will shift to my plate for completion.
  • The Senior Commission on Aging will begin to take shape and my guess is that they will be active.

A couple areas which may be of interest:

  • Staff has been researching Air B&B’s in town and frankly, we are surprised by the number in our town. The interesting thing is that, except for the month of February, none have been submitting transient occupancy taxes. We are generating the lists of addresses to contact the proprietors and gain compliance. The good news is that Air B&B and VRBO provide 1099 tax forms for easy auditing to gain compliance with the tax requirements. It certainly looks like some of our “hosts” have been very successful.
  • I am expanding my “Ask the City Manager” to a City Council Briefing video which I will debut Monday on our Facebook page and Youtube Channel. Look for the posting as I will provide the same briefing given to City Council for the General Public.
  • Look for a re-look at turning Abbey Street into a One Way with diagonal parking. The street construction is showing the potential for this project to generate a high quality entry for the Downtown Hotel. Better preparation and getting folks out onto the street will help for a better evaluation.
  • A Job Fair for the Hotel Winters will be held on Wednesday, June 19 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at City Hall in the Downstairs Conference Room off of Abbey Street. To get started in applying, people can go to olshotels.com/careers

Have a nice Fathers Day Weekend!

John


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Friday Update on Thursday June 6 2019

City Manager Update, Friday Update on Thursday June 6 2019
All,

A week which has just flown by and my Friday is an absolute monster so the update will be a day early!!

  • Staff attended the Governor’s Emergency Management Preparedness Summit in Sacramento on Monday. The session included a presentations from Governor Gavin Newsom, State Director of the Office of Emergency Services Mark Ghilarducci and panels which included executives from many areas impacted by wildfire over the past year. I would give the Summit 10 out of 10 Stars for effort by the Governor and his entire team in raising awareness and the need for collaboration in preparation, response and recovery.

I will admit that I had never seen the Governor in person and my impression of him was quite a bit different than the typical sound bites and media presentations. Frankly, I was impressed with his grasp of the issues, he was very articulate and well informed on emergency management needs and realities. He was quite magnanimous in his appreciation for his emergency management executive team and the efforts of those throughout the emergency management field. His grasp on the need for collaboration and the need for reform of government regulation to enable fire prevention was commendable. I left impressed with his sincerity and demonstration of leadership on the issues. Overall, well done and worth attending.

  • One major takeaway from the Summit was an appreciation for the preparation and collaboration we have in Yolo County. County OES Manager Dana Carey and the Yolo Cities are extremely well prepared and could have been highlighted as a model for much of what they were talking about.
  • A key concern for the coming summer will the potential for power outages which could last for up to 5 days in the event that transmission lines are turned off. A reality is that a need to turn off transmission lines in Butte County could result in outages as far as Yolo County, essentially shutting down business and operations in communities for hundreds of miles. Getting information to businesses and residents will be critical in the coming weeks. People, especially those from vulnerable groups (elderly, sick, persons on oxygen) who need power need to begin making preparations in the event of extended periods without power.
  • City Staff met today to discuss the potential for a relocation of City Hall operations and maintaining our utilities and public safety capabilities. Generators, fueling contracts, maintenance of both water and wastewater operations and pumps all were topics. Key plans and assignments are going to be put in place to insure a continuity of operations in the event of an extended power outage. We all left the meeting with assignments to start things in motion to be ready in case the power goes out.
  • Winters Fire this week has been busy on two structure fires, one at Burger King and the other at a residence on Hill view Lane. Quick action in both were critical in preventing spread and preventing injuries to people and pets. A special thanks to Winters Police who were quick to the scene on Hillview, helping the residents and protecting the community.
  • On Tuesday, a combined meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission was held to discuss the Economic Development Committee’s Report and recommendations. A good meeting with a nice turnout and lots of really good questions. You can access the report HERE.
  • The City received its first transient occupancy check from Air B&B for the months of February and March. Something close to $20,000!

Have a nice weekend!

 

John


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Friday Update on May 31 2019

All,

A couple items for this week:

  • It is with a lot of regret that we have made the decision to cancel the 2019 Independence Week Fireworks Display. The need to relocate, logistics issues, the potential for fire and the reduction in overall quality just make shooting the show a bad idea. Winters High School will be available in 2020 so we will move any donations received into that show. Shooting the show at Shirley Rominger Intermediate School would require extensive weed abatement, closing Main Street, a buffer putting people in a detention area, a traffic/parking nightmare and shooting 3” and 4” fireworks versus the crowd pleasing 5” and 6” variety. Shooting a mediocre show over a dry grassy area is just silly and would be disappointing.
  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee Report will be presented in a joint meeting before the City Council and Planning Commission at 4:00 in the EOC Conference Room at the Public Safety Facility, 700 Main Street. HERE is a link to the report and recommendations. HERE is a link to a page with the background information, meeting agendas and other information.
  • Construction of the First Street Parking Lot will commence beginning the week of June 10. Look for preliminary work to begin within the next week then a full construction effort over a 2-3 week period in June.
  • Congrats to the Downtown Merchants on a final location and strategy for waste/trash removal and the beginning of alley activation. The future of Downtown is extremely bright with a very dynamic group leading the way. Pretty exciting!
  • The Senior Commission on Aging is on the June 4 City Council Meeting. An application process, interviews and appointment will follow.
  • Planning Commission allowed additional input in the Air BnB Look for it to be back on the June 25 Agenda.
  • Housing is a critical issue in Winters and throughout the State. Governor Gavin Newsom has listed it as a “crisis” and one of his highest priorities. Staff provided updates on key policies and issues at meetings in the month of May. Click HERE for the report provided which includes key links on policies, issues and resources.
  • A really cool event on June 12 will be a “Pop Up Garden Dinner” hosted by the Putah Creek Café featuring a four course family style dinner paired with Turkovich Wines. Sounds like an absolutely awesome event which will sell out fast. To make a reservation, you can purchase tickets here

Finally, the Memorial Day Weekend is the Davis World Cup Soccer Tournament where Winters AYSO sent 8 teams to compete against teams from throughout California. Soccer is pretty competitive and the Davis World Cup is a pretty prestigious tournament which closes the 2019-20 season.

Of the 8 teams, Winters walked away with 2 second place and 3 third place finishes, meaning each made the semi final games amongst elite teams in five brackets. Simply amazing!!!!

I referee the tournament and have an opportunity to meet and ref with folks from throughout the western states. People always ask me where I am from, with many assuming I am from Davis because I am “local”. When I tell them I am from “Winters”, literally every ref will comment “hey, I reffed a game with a Winters team and they played hard yet fair”. It’s always, “you have incredible players, coaches and teams”.

Saying I am from Winters is a real pride thing! Each of our teams become ambassadors representing the quality of play, competitiveness, the attitudes of our players/coaches/parents and they help define the impression people walk away with about our community. Most have never even heard of Winters but once they meet our teams on the field, they never forget! Our players and teams can compete with anyone on any field at any time and when the game is over, they know where we are from.

I tell our players that soccer is really a metaphor for life and that being from a small, yet mighty town gives them a huge advantage. They grow up challenged, supported and they have the opportunity to show they are second to none. Our kids compete on the same fields as teams from larger communities and leave victorious. They can do the same in life!  It doesn’t matter who they are competing against, in the end, you play with the same ball, on the same field and its more about determination.

I am always proud to say I am from Winters.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on May 24 2019

Tags : 

City Manager Update Friday, May 24, 2019
All:

Just a couple items this week:

  • Parking Enforcement in the Downtown will see us moving from warnings to actual tickets. Citations are $30. Lot’s of reasons to enjoy our Downtown and this is definitely not the ticket you want to get, so encourage folks to park in the City lots for extended periods to avoid the fine.
  • The City Council approved street work and the construction of the Downtown Parking Lot at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. Look for lots of paving and work to commence sometime in June.
  • Things are beginning to take shape on the Hotelwinters.com  . Street work, alleys and some nice finishing touches are starting to get done toward a summer opening! Exciting.
  • Staff participated in an important meeting between the League of California Cities and the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC). The goal is to work towards a “rural summit” combining cities and counties to work on issues which are distinctly unique to those in the smaller less urban areas. Councilmember Jesse Loren has been a key State-wide leader and advocate to advance issues for rural cities and things are starting to come together like never before. Really good stuff!!
  • Some of the common issues being discussed are access to Broadband, impacts of State Legislation on smaller jurisdictions, Infrastructure and affordable housing.
  • This weekend is the Davis World Cup Soccer Tournament and Winters is sending four, very competitive teams. Keep them in your thoughts as they play over the weekend toward the championships! Really proud of our kids in these competitions with quality coaches and really good players who represent our community well.

Finally, today, I attended the funeral mass and services for Don Rominger who passed away last week at age 89. He lived and farmed in Winters for 87 years and made a huge impact on the lives of many and was active in the Winters Community. Shirley Rominger Intermediate School is named for his wife who passed away almost 20 years prior. Don served on the Winters Fire District Board for 50 years and was honored last year by the District.

The services were a catholic mass followed by eulogies from two of his grandchildren, Cody Rominger and Julia Harder. The entire Rominger Family and its extensions all played a role in the services which were simply a beautiful tribute to an incredible man of faith, family, hard work, farming and commitment to the Winters Community. The services and eulogies paid a deserving tribute and celebration to family and a moral and committed life.

I personally met Don in October, 2001 when I attended my first Winters Fire District Board Meeting. Don’s first questions to me were “Where are you from” and “how long are you going to stick around”? My first impression was of a man who spoke with little to no filter in how he talked with you and he was the type of person willing to ask questions and say things that others typically kept to themselves. I absolutely loved the directness of his approach and quickly learned that many of his seemingly outrageous assertions about the District/City business relations on fire services in the past were 100% accurate. Don was a real character.

In my first few interactions with Don, he gave me some of the best advice for being City Manager in Winters: Understand that everybody knows or is related to everybody, be straight forward and don’t play politics, come straight at people on the issues. I have cherished that advice and respect and am grateful to Don immensely for giving it to me.

A common thread in today’s service was the word “commitment” which seemed to embody Don’s life. Family, faith, community, farming and a focused life are what made up Don Rominger.

Winters is blessed with a number Don Rominger’s who have made lifelong “commitments” to making this a special place. The culture, the multiple generations and the selflessness which embody the spirit of those who are “all in” are what makes Winters the community it is.  As I looked around the church today, I saw many faces of those who have given their lives to the Winters community. Funerals and weddings are special because they bring a lot of people who have shared common life interests together. Sad and good at the same time!

Don Rominger was a very blessed man with a beautiful family, leaving an incredible legacy and a community who is grateful for his lifelong contributions. Godspeed to Don!

John


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Friday Update on May 17 2019

Friday Update on May 17 2019

All,

Just a quick overview of the City Council Agenda for this week:

  • Consent Calendar has the City Wide Assessment Levy for FY 2019-20, an Amendment to the City Agreement with Solano Water for monitoring wells along Putah Creek, a contract to move forward with the application to PG&E to underground utilities on Newt’s Expressway, an agreement for leak detection services for the City’s water system, paving services for Newt’s Expressway and the First Street Parking Lot and the setting of the City’s Gann Spending Limit for the upcoming Fiscal Year Budget.
  • Two Presentations: the first will recognize “Elder Day on June 1st and the second will be a presentation from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.
  • Discussion items include Overage and Contamination in the City’s Waste Management Program, the Downtown Trash Enclosure Proposal and an overview on City/State Housing Issues.

A pretty full agenda!

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on May 10 2019

All,

A couple items:

  • The Stone’s Throw Housing Development will be holding a ribbon cutting and open house on Saturday, May 11 from 11:00 to 1:00. Take Neimann west, past SRIS, through the roundabout to Wyatt Street and look for the balloons. Tours of the models and food!
  • Saturday is the Winters Garage Sale. This year’s theme is “Only Really Good Stuff”. Expect sales throughout the core area of town and I am told there will be excellent prices and nothing but absolute treasures!
  • City Staff met with property owners on Grant Ave to discuss zoning and exchange contact information.
  • Mark your calendars for May 23 from 4:00 to 5:30 for the next “Ask the City Manager” segment. I ran into some folks at Berryessa Brewing and they told me they would bring tougher questions next time. Bring it!
  • June 4 starting at 4:00 will be a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission will be held at City Hall to review the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s Report and Recommendations. HERE is a copy of the report and HERE is a website with the background information from the report and information about the Committee.
  • Today, I attended the groundbreaking for the new campus for the Center for Land Based Learning who has called “The Farm” on Putah Creek its home for the past 25 years. With very mixed emotions, I watched as they unveiled a $4.5 million plan for new classrooms, farm fields an event center and partnerships in Woodland as they work to move their headquarters out of Winters and toward a very bright future. Their project will be amazing in advancing farming education for farmers, students and the world through their Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program, FARMS Leadership and Watershed Programs. The Center is a visionary and they will continue as a  world leader in farming education and stewardship. Their new location looks amazing! Kudos to the entire Center for Land Based Learning organization, their Board and leadership.

Finally, a word used quite a bit today at the Center for Land Based Learning event was “Vision”. The idea of picturing the future in your mind and steering yourself to making it a reality. Without question, they are doing that with their project in Woodland to lead their organization for the next 25 years!

With our City Staff, we talk about setting goals and I often paint the concept of “giving a diamond ring to the love of your life on the second deck of the Eiffel Tower at sunset of Valentine’s Day”. Some view it as a “Disney Dream”, but I would argue that it is something anyone can do if you just plan to do it.

Vision requires a very soulful introspection of where you want to get to and your overall commitment to seriously making something happen. It’s the idea of setting big goals and then establishing then executing a plan. It takes discipline, commitment and the ability to maintain focus and hope in even the most challenging circumstances. It means collaboration, partnerships and establishing relationships which generate the force multiplier that carry the vision to the heights that no one person could attain. In the end, I have learned that everything is a “team” sport and the greatest satisfaction is celebrating hitting key milestones surrounded by those who all made it happen.

Great vision is the ability to seek extra ordinary results and outcomes. I am convinced that any vision is possible and the difference is the amount of desire and commitment to reach the achievement. To have vision requires courage and the ability to transcend the cynicism and skepticism you will encounter. Its easy to be against something and hard to be a champion for something some may think is unimaginable or may seem inconvenient.

Life is a series of events and ultimately moving yourself forward. Reality will tell you that if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. A vision forward brings an opportunity for adventure and achievement, while sitting still means you are going nowhere and will ultimately get bed sores. Vision establishes the “future” for more people than just yourself and in many ways is a part of your “stewardship” for the possibilities and opportunities which will exist for others. When I talk to City Council Members about “leadership”, I often stress that the decisions we make or fail to make today will determine what will be or not be tomorrow. Vision is important because it really does determine tomorrow!

In Winters, we have many visionary people like Julie and Craig McNamara, Mary Kimball and the Center for Land Based Learning folks. Of late, people like Moyra Barsotti and Emarie VanGalio and the entire Project Playground Team who gave us all a lifetime opportunity to build the greatest playground of our time!

In a city, vision involves looking forward towards the interests of the entire population, both current and future. Where will people live, work and how will the community sustain a quality of life? What happens when you don’t execute the plan or it is left half done? How will we make great things happen which will positively affect people’s lives?

Vision is a collaboration of unique, diverse and talented people coming together to make something that some people feel is a “dream” a reality! Not easy.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Big Day of Giving is Important to Winters! May 2, 2019

All,

May 2 is the Big Day of Giving and the opportunity to support some of those organization who make Winters a special place to live. Here are some of the organizations serving our community who are participating.

  • The Winters Friends of the Library (WFoL) is a preeminent organization for Winters. Through the years, they have funded many tens of thousands of dollars toward expanded library hours, programming, furniture, speakers forums and were the leaders in getting the Winters Community Library to where it is today!
  • Putah Creek Council is the organization which has led the way to the ecological restoration of the creek. They were the ones who led the fight for water flows in the early 1990’s and continue the efforts today with incredible restoration work, enhancement of fish habitat and educational programming.
  • Winters Education Foundation supports Winters teachers and students through grants and programming which gets right into the classroom. WEF helps bring opportunity and quality programs in support of the WJUSD.
  • Center for Land Based Learning is one of those organizations which has put Winters on the world food map. From farm based educational programs for urban youth to community farming initiatives, the Center for Land Based Learning is setting an incredible standard in educating people about food and farming.
  • Winters Farm to School helps provide fresh food and nutrition education to students in Winters schools. They bring the bounty of our area to our children through a farmers market, education and the idea of building good life long eating habits from an early age.
  • Winters Museum, founded in 2018 is committed to the preservation and display of the heritage of the Winters Community. Photo’s, artifacts and themed displays make it the go to place in Downtown.
  • Winters Community Theatre not only entertains us, but they give back through renovations at the Community Center and enhanced opportunities for people of all ages.
  • The New Hope Community Development Corporation (CDC) Yolo County Housing is the non-profit arm for Yolo Housing. This incredible organization has brought a renaissance to public housing in Yolo/Solano Counties and continues to seek new and innovative solutions to many of the issues facing people in need of affordable and available housing.

Get out there and support our town!

John


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Friday Update on April 26 2019

All,

First, a HUGE shout out to Project Playground. They are paying for Josh Coulter Painting to re-stain the City Park Playground. It looks beyond amazing and (in my opinion) better than new. We have some talented contractors in our town (Josh’s crew) and the folks from Project Playground are the gift that keeps on giving. Well Done and people can see the work this weekend!

Yesterday was the inaugural of my “Ask the City Manager” program which will be held the fourth Thursday of each month in the City Council Chamber and can be viewed on the City’s Youtube Channel. For those wanting a replay, you can go HERE to view it.

Here is the written/Cliff’s Notes Version of my initial briefing of some hot topics this week:

  1. Fire on Edwards Street– Contained to a shed on the property. No injuries.
  2. Blue Mountain Terrace Apartments: this is a 63 unit senior affordable project with income restrictions for people living there. The project will be a combination of 1 and 2 bedroom units, not assisted living, but the second units can accommodate a caregiver if needed. The project is in the process of closing the many funding sources during the month of April, and we expect that the 18 month construction period will commence during the summer. They will have an application process for those wanting apartments there and when that arises, we will do our best to get the word out.
  3. Subdivisions: Stones Throw and  Heartland are under construction for their first phases. Heartland is expected to have final inspections on up to five (5) of their units this week. Stones Throw are about still weeks out on the finals for their first units. The projects are starting to take shape and will look nice.
    1. Summary of Units per year: A big question is how many units have been built in Winters in the past few years and how fast are we growing. If you measure growth by how many single family units receive their certificates of occupancy, in 2016 38 units, 2017 34 units and 2018 2 units. We expect that construction will pick up in the coming years with between 65 and 75 units a year for all subdivisions. The total units for Stone’s Throw is 395 and Heartland is 107. Our assumption is that each unit will bring 2.71 people.
  4. Improvement s to look for this summer:
    1. Moody Slough- Construction of the roadway from Rd 88 along the north boundary of the development area.
    2. Stones Throw Phase II- This will include additional grading and utilities for the second phase. Basically the north west corner of the project.
    3. Road 88 Paving- The road will be repaired from last years construction of the force main with a well needed reconstruction of the roadway.
    4. Influent Screen Project- WWTF- An $800,000 capital project to add a filtering screen in the aeration ponds.
  5. Public Safety-
    1. Downtown Parking Enforcement- Starting May 1, the chalk stick will be out and we will begin parking enforcement in the Downtown. Look for some warnings at the start, then citations to follow.
    2. Grant Ave Speed Zones- It’s time to slow down on Grant Ave as we dust off the radar devices and begin speed enforcement. Caltrans has certified the “speed zones” allowing for the radar enforcement.
    3. Car Thefts- 6 stolen cars in the past few weeks. Mostly from people leaving their cars unlocked with the keys in them. The tip of the week is to lock your car and pocket your keys to better improve not getting your car taken.
    4. Domestic violence cases- three felony domestic violence case in the past weeks. We can tell if it’s the weather or what but this trend needs to end.
    5. Molestation conviction- Winters Police brought a molestation case which has been in trial for the past couple weeks. The person was convicted of multiple molestations to multiple vicitims over a ten year period. Kudo’s and excellent work done by Winters PD on piecing the case together and their efforts in working with the Yolo DA.
  6. Fire Staffing- Summer 2019– Fire Season is now year round! Get ready for a hot summer and hopefully we will break out string of annual fires along the Berryessa Ridge.
  7. Planning Topics:
  8. General Plan Refresh- This is a FY 2019-20 Project for the City. We will begin working on an outline as other key projects take shape including the upcoming Regional Housing Needs Allocation Process takes shape, we prepare for the update of the City’s Housing Element and we have a clear view on our overall work load for the upcoming years.
  9. Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)- The Sacramento Region in conjunction with the State Department of Housing/Community Development develops an economic forecasting method which allocates housing growth through a process known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation. Each city is then required to develop their General Plan Housing Element to attain those units within its planning period. In our case, our certified housing element is for 8 years. This is a very controversial process and is sure to bring all the no/slow growth folks out to City Council Meetings. Governor Gavin Newsom has established a goal to build 3.5 million new housing units in the coming years. A perspective is that the current annual rate has been in the 200,000’s each year. I see pitchforks, torches and ropes in our future! Like they say, don’t blame the messenger and go to the source.
  10. Climate Action Strategy/Climate Action Plan– Through the Yolo Climate Compact, the City received a grant to update our carbon numbers and review key impacts the Winters Community has on climate. Staff has been working with Ascent Environmental on running numbers and they will be presenting an overall strategy which can be incorporated into our draft Climate Action Plan which will then be adopted. Look for these things to come forward something in the late summer.
  11. Civic Spark Fellowship– The City has received a grant to hire a fellow to help with implementation of key elements of our Climate Action Plan and Strategy.
  12. Preparation for the 2021 Housing Element Update– With the anticipated RHNA numbers coming out this summer, we will then begin formulating a strategy on the development of an updated Housing Element. This will be a 2020 project which will begin taking shape with the RHNA numbers.

North Area Planning- Nothing new to report on this topic. Still no application. The only recent discussions was a call to Bellevue North to get their permission to release some draft planning comments.

This weekend is Youth Day which is the reunion weekend for our community. Start it off with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast, the parade begins at 10 then time at the park. For those feeling they need to take their best shot at the City Manager, I will be sitting in the dunk tank at 2:00 at City Park.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on April 12 2019

All,

The City Council on April 16 will include the following:

April 16, 2019

  • Presentation by Yolo County Office of Emergency Services – Winters Evacuation Plan and Community Outreach Meetings in May
  • Planning Commission Vacancies- Three positions terms are up for renewal.
  • Reduction in City Impact Fees and Housing Trust Fund Loan Authority for Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project
  • SB1 Road Rehabilitation Presentation – Fiscal Years 2019/2020
  • Downtown Merchants Trash Enclosure Proposal
  • Purchase of Recycled Content Patio Furniture for Library Garden Project
  • Amplified Sound Permit Application – Liliana Bermudez
  • Climate Action Plan and Resiliency Update

A busy week on a number of key projects:

  • The City engineering project team met with representatives from the Stone’s Throw subdivision to discuss a number of infrastructure issues including the Rancho Arroyo Detention Pond, the linear park and the West Main Wastewater Pump Station. The developer has also prepared plans for the public improvements on “Phase II” of the project which will facilitate the need for construction of a number of improvements including the completion of the Moody Slough roadway, two phases of the linear park and mediation for storm drainage issues.
  • Phase 1A of the Stones Throw development will include a smaller lot/home product to be built by KHonanian Homes. They were at the Planning Commission in February and should begin construction in June. Once we have information of their sales, we will let people know.
  • Electricity has been pulled and is operational in both the Stone’s Throw and Heartland subdivisions.
  • The City and Yolo County will have a “2X2 meeting” on Tuesday, April 16 starting at 4:00 in the City Hall Downstairs Conference Room. The 2X2 is an information sharing meeting with 2 City Council Members and 2 members of the Board of Supervisors on issues of mutual interest. The agenda will include discussion of the I-505 Overcrossing Pedestrian Improvements, Mattress Recycling, County Annexation Procedures and the Fires at Hay Kingdom.
  • Staff is working on scheduling the presentation of the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s Report and Recommendations for late April. Look for an announcement next week.

Specific Plan Overview:

From last week’s update, I have received a number of questions about “what is a specific plan”, how does it play a role in relation to the City’s General Plan, annexation and eventual development. Here is an overview.

The purpose of a Specific Plan is to provide a vehicle for implementing the City’s General Plan on an area-specific basis. A Specific Plan is both a policy and regulatory document. It must be consistent with the City’s General Plan.

The most important aspects of a specific planning process includes:

  • public outreach/engagement and participation in the development of the plan
  • scoping to ensure conformance with existing plans
  • environmental review
  • economic and fiscal review analysis and consistency with community goals and visions.

The following framework is a draft guide the City Staff has developed with the goal of creating effective, efficient, and statutorily complete documents that share a common outline countywide. The content of a Specific Plan must meet the requirements of California Government Code Section 65451.

Here are some of the key components of a specific plan document:

  • Introduction and Summary: This would include a summary of the plan, key features, the background and history of its generation, the community involvement program, legal authority references, any related documents- specifically the relationships between the General Plan, Master plans, zoning, development standards, environmental documents, financial analysis and design standards. The plan must show consistency with the General Plan.
  • Project Visioning and Setting: The plan must outline a vision for the area including the purposes for the plan, desired outcomes and key principles to be implemented. The Plan must establish the setting for consistency with the region, site characteristics, surrounding land uses, the boundary and acreage and any off-site components (if any).
  • Land Use and Community Character: The plan outlines the overall goals and defines the land use through maps, descriptions and tables. This section also coordinates with other City land use documents like the form based codes, master plans and design standards. The plan outlines things like parks, open space, public facilities and schools.
  • Circulation: The plan defines and establishes circulation and traffic goals and design standards for the planned area along with key amenities such as the street cross sections, bike and pedestrian models, trails and walking areas, traffic calming and bus service.
  • Public Utilities: The plan includes updates to key master plans to outline the utility requirements for key areas such as water, sewer, storm drainage, energy, broadband and flood control. The plan also updates and forecasts for financing and funding mechanisms for the implementation of utility plans.
  • Public  Services: The plan identifies the key goals and implementation for the development of parks, schools, public safety and other key government services. It sets benchmarks along with funding concepts for accomplishing the goals.
  • Jobs and Housing: A key element is coordinating how jobs will accompany the housing which is proposed. The Plan merges with Economic Development and Affordable Housing Strategies. The plan expands on how to target key industries, local versus regional businesses, incentives for attraction and a focused plan and strategy. The affordable housing component includes an overall implementation plan, inclusionary housing and income eligibility.
  • Environmental Resources and Open Space: The establishment of goals and policies regarding Environmental Resources, Climate Change, Biotic Conservation, Agricultural Land Mitigation/HCP Coordination and general standards for insuring maximum environmental compliance.
  • Sustainability: Insuring that the building and construction will maximize benefits to the environment including water conservation, energy efficiency, green building, VMT Reduction, recycling, food miles, GHG reduction and other.
  • Implementation and Financing: The Specific Plan will include a plan for phasing and sequencing the overall development, market absorption, fiscal impacts and facility financing and an overall capital improvement program.
  • Administration: The plan will include an overall implementation program to include administration, compliance with the overall plan along with benchmarks and key milestones.

Thanks and have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on April 5 2019

All,

A very busy and active week.

  • Congratulations to Winters Fire Chief Brad Lopez on his official appointment and swearing in. Winters Fire has probably the strongest team in its history led by Chief Lopez now coordinating Administration and Operations, Captain Art Mendoza who oversees prevention and is the Fire Marshall and Captain Matt Schechla who oversees Facilities, Training and Medical Operations. Their leadership is amazing and our public safety has never been stronger.
  • The street lights in the roundabout are taking a beating! We lost the second one from someone missing a turn and driving up onto the sidewalk. The jinx on the situation is that we had on that very day received the replacement for the other light taken out about a month ago.
  • Staff met with Yolo County representatives to discuss fire issues at Hay Kingdom. The fires over the past few weeks have created issues which need to be remedied. I think I speak for a lot of folks who agree that the City routinely smelling like a bad ashtray.
  • Staff has been working with the Downtown Property Owners and businesses on a project to consolidate their trash operations into a single location to beautify the Newt’s Expressway Alley and begin the Alley Activation Master Plan.  The merchants have brought a request to locate the trash enclosure on the new parking lot location on First Street and the alley (which would take out a couple parking spaces) This will come before the City Council on April 16 2019 for a decision on the location of the enclosure.

We had a very busy City Council Meeting with public input regarding concerns on development, planning and annexation which are related to a possible request for a Specific Planning Process for the most northerly properties in the City. Lots of issues and questions came up, so I thought it might be beneficial to clarify some things and answer some of the questions directly.

Questions:

  1. What proposals have been received by the City from the property owners and what is their request from the City?

The representatives from Bellvue North who owns the majority of the property in the north part of the City’s planning area have not submitted any plans or official requests to the City as of today. Staff has been in  discussions with them  regarding the potential for a long range Specific Plan for their property. Discussions have predominantly focused on the area where the planning would occur, the process and scope of the work which would be undertaken, reimbursement of costs incurred by the City to be paid by the applicant and the need for extensive public engagement, environmental review and planning.

Staff has specifically told Bellvue North that any specific plan must include a planning process which includes all land both inside the City Limits and within the current planning area which are outside the limits which would need to be annexed. We put it on Bellvue North to work with the remaining property owners (there are three others) to participate in the planning effort, which they have said they have done. The reason for including the remaining properties if so the final plan will have complete continuity for the entire area.

  1. What land are we talking about, how much is in the current City limits, how much is in the planning area, how much land would be annexed?

A simple geographic reference and roughly speaking it is for the properties located just north of Niemann Street and Moody Slough (not including those properties on Niemann). Bellvue North owns 183 acres which are currently within the City limits, 210 acres which are within the City’s planning area but not in the City limits (the acreage which would need to be annexed) for a total of 393 acres. There are approximately 130 acres owned by other property owners which are in the planning area but not in the limits which are owned by others (and would need to be annexed at a later time). In conversations with Bellvue North, they have discussed the idea of possibly expanding the City’s planning area by approximately 270 acres on additional land they own north of the City’s General Plan area. They have also suggested they are interested in establishing a 480 acre agricultural mitigation area just north of the City.

The numbers included here are directly from the Bellvue North. In meetings, they have shown maps and photo’s but not submitted or given anything for the City to keep. I would venture to guess that over the years, we have seen no fewer than 6 versions, all different with very little specificity on ultimate land uses.

  1. Has the City Staff and City Council been meeting with the north area property owners and what has been the context of those conversations?

Yes. Over the years, we have met with representatives of Bellvue North, their owner Greg Hostetler, their engineers and environmental consultants on numerous occasions regarding multiple topics including flood control and drainage, Moody Slough, the prospect of creating public access for bike and walking trails, water, wastewater re-use, environmental projects, economic development opportunities and planning. In total (both in and out of the City) they own literally thousands of acres and are a major land concern so without question, Staff talks with them.

As Staff discussions with Bellvue North moved toward  the potential for a request coming to the City, their representative, Jeff Roberts requested  to meet with the City Council Members in February for an opportunity to introduce himself, talk about the prospects of a specific planning process and the overall process for public engagement, plan development and environmental review. The Council Members met individually(so as to avoid a violation of the Brown Act) with Mr. Roberts, he brought in some large photo’s of the properties and talked about the concept of the specific plan, possible expansion of the planning area and agricultural mitigation area. Staff (me) sat in on each meeting to assure continuity of information delivered to the Council and to answer any questions or provide clarification on issues which might arise, especially on process. One City Council Member met with Mr. Roberts on a second occasion and Staff participated in that meeting also.

In the past, Mr Roberts has inquired about the prospect of submitting a subdivision map for the 183 acres already in the City limits for development (which they can do at any time). Staff has suggested that a more comprehensive planning effort, such as a specific plan would be more beneficial to the City. The logic behind this position is that a broader planning area gives greater opportunities for a cohesive long term outcomes which would benefit the City.

As part of the Economic Development Advisory Committee Meetings (EDAC in 2018), Jeff Roberts representing the property owner came in as a guest speaker to answer questions regarding potential economic development opportunities on their property. The EDAC has included extensive recommendations on land use and flood control in their report. Because many recommendations were specific to Bellvue North land, Staff provided drafts of the report to Mr. Roberts so their group would not be surprised or unaware of the discussions. As Mr. Roberts was considering submitting a planning request, Staff repeatedly suggested that they wait to allow public discussions to occur (through the Strategic Planning Workshops) so they could hear public input outside of their request before submitting and starting another process.

As an aside, Staff meets constantly with property owners, businesses and prospective property owners about land use. At the City of Winters, we work to maintain optimum transparency and customer service for people who own property, businesses or are looking to invest in the City. Its simply what we do both big and small! The biggest complaint about government is people’s inability to “get answers” so we work to keep an open door and be accessible.

  1. Has a request for proposal (RFP) been released for planning firms to assist the property owners in the development of a specific plan?

The City Staff is unaware of any RFP by Bellvue North for planning services. We have told them and they have acknowledged that they want to bring a quality planning organization as part of any application to work with the City on such a project, so it would not be out of the ordinary for them to look to hire someone. This is no different than a property owner who hires an architect to help them design a home. In this case, Bellvue North will have a large group of planners, engineers, environmental consultants, etc within their team and doing an RFP is how you get proposals.

  1. Has the City entered into a reimbursement agreement with the developer to cover costs to pay the City for services associated with working with the developer?

Before considering or working on any submittal by Bellvue North (or any applicant), the City has provided our standard form “reimbursement agreement” which provides for the applicant to cover all City costs in the consideration of their application. In this case, we requested a $20,000 deposit and they have executed and sent the agreement it back.  We do this for all projects to insure that the City costs are covered.

As a perspective, the City hires and pays all consultants associated with processing an application by any developer. This includes the project manager, environmental consultants, engineers, traffic engineers, financial consultants, etc as well as City Staff. The City team works independently of the applicant, reporting only to the City and not the applicant. This is done to avoid any conflicts. It is through the reimbursement agreement that the City receives the funds to pay the consultants.

  1. Has the City been in contact with the Yolo Local Agency Formation Commission regarding annexation information?

Yes. LAFCO is the agency responsible for all annexations and it is logical to contact them on process and law. Our discussions are also a courtesy to keep them in the loop that something might be on the horizon. We have been talking with them about annexation issues for probably the past 5 years!

  1. When will the City be moving forward on an update of its General Plan, doing a General Plan “Refresh” or additional  planning work?

General Plans are extremely expensive and the City still owes almost $400,0000 from the 1992 plan. Timing on this depends on whether a planning application is submitted by Bellvue North which would essentially do a comprehensive update on all of our planning documents and in essence, an updated General Plan. The City has received a $100,000 grant towards a “refresh” of our documents to make them more user friendly and in line with State goals for how planning documents look. A refresh would most likely occur in our 2019-20 Fiscal Year.

Tuesday night was an active discussion with lots of issues.

Have a nice weekend!

John


  • -

Friday Update on March 29 2019

All,

A couple items this week:

  • The Planning Commission Meeting included an overview and consideration of an ordinance regulating temporary rentals better known as the “AirBnB Ordinance”. The Commission had a very in depth discussion of the various aspects of the ordinance which would allow a combination of streamlining, public input/review and the ability of the City to condition various aspects of this part of the new economy. Frankly, it was one of the best discussions the Commission has had in many years. The Commisioners were absolutely exceptional in their review of the materials. Perspective on concerns for those wanting the permits as well as neighbors. Look for the final recommendation on an ordinance to be before the Planning Commission either late April or early May. Kudos on a job done well by the PC!
  • The City Council Meeting will have the Second Reading of the PD Overlay for the property on Second Street, Senior Advisory, Acceptance of the radar/speed zone survey along Grant Ave and an overview of the Land Use Element of the City’s General Plan.
  • Staff will be meeting with the folks from the Stone’s Throw Subdivision to discuss a number of issues, including construction of the Three Oaks Linear Park, Moody Slough Improvements, Storm Drainage and Phase II of their project.
  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee will release its final report which will be posted on Monday morning .  Key recommendations include expanding light industrial zoning, planning for the north area of the City, addressing flood zone issues and collaboration with neighboring regions and with the local business community.
  • Staff is tracking two key legislative and regulatory issues. One includes a statewide tax on water services and the return of Hexavalent Chromium 6 with the SWRCB Division of Drinking Water. Not like we don’t have better things to work on!

Today, I attended the Sacramento Valley City Manager’s Group at the City of Davis Police Department. To begin the meeting, we heard from Chief Darren Pytel who gave us an overview of dealing with the murder of Police Officer Natalie Corona. To say it was riveting would be an understatement as the Chief gave a summary of the incident along with the ramifications it has had on the Davis Police Department. Simply unfathomable and much respect to the men and women of the Davis Police Department for their professionalism and humanity in dealing with the situation then and now moving forward.

One of my biggest takeaways from the event was the Chief describing how fast social media took the situation. He described the need to provide notification to the family of Officer Corona’s passing and how social media beat him to getting back into the Police Station to get a phone number before the family and friends were alerted to the situation from media and the social media system. Imagine the idea of being alerted of the death of a loved one on Facebook?

Without question, technology has expedited things but at some point, we need to question the veracity of spreading this type of information outside the human interaction and dignity which notification of such an issue deserves. People post information without even questioning or considering the impacts on the sensitivity on those with the greatest impact, such as family members. Just a takeaway.

Finally, Chief Pytel shared a quiet tribute paid to Officer Corona. In the early morning of January 11th  following her passing, the body of Natalie Corona was transferred from the UC Davis Medical Center to the Yolo County Morgue. He described a procession which left the Medical Center at 3:30 am with literally hundreds of police officers and family in tow behind the hearse. On virtually every overpass between the Medical Center and Woodland there were fire trucks and ordinary folks with lights and candles paying honor to the fallen officer. The community coming together in those moments was the start of the healing for the family, Davis PD and the greater public from a very tragic and heart wrenching event.

Chief Pytel and his entire team are outstanding representatives of what is really important about leadership in law enforcement, especially when they are forced into critical incidents like the murder of a fellow officer. Humanity, professionalism, the rule of law, compassion and dignity were all in play on the evening of January 10 and Davis PD made the law enforcement community and Officer Natalie Corona proud.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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