Gilroy City Council to look at three contentious issues Monday

City officials are mulling a $100,000 traffic study for Welburn Avenue in Gilroy.

The Gilroy City Council will look at three hotbed issues at its
6 p.m. meeting Monday.
The first item on the agenda is a Pacific Gas
&
amp; Electric Co. presentation on SmartMeters as part of a study
session, followed by a Council decision on whether to send a

vote of no confidence

to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Council will
also decide whether to initiate an appeal to the Planning
Commission’s decision to let Mi Pueblo keep its bright corporate
colors as proposed by Mayor Al Pinheiro.
The Gilroy City Council will look at three hotbed issues at its 6 p.m. Monday meeting.

The first item on the agenda is a presentation by Pacific Gas and Electric Company on SmartMeters as part of a study session, followed by a Council decision on whether to send a “vote of no confidence” to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Council will also decide whether to initiate an appeal to the Planning Commission’s decision to let Mi Pueblo keep its bright corporate colors as proposed by Mayor Al Pinheiro.

SmartMeters

SmartMeters has sparked concern throughout California as homeowners complained their electric bill doubled or tripled after having a SmartMeter installed, leading to an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission on the accuracy of the meters.

Many Gilroy residents were “confused” when PG&E employees installed devices in their homes without being previously notified.

A SmartMeter is a device that electronically monitors energy usage in 15 minute increments and is on track to be installed to all Gilroy residents by July 2011. PG&E says the device is supposed to help pinpoint power outages and eliminate the need for meter readers.

High-speed rail

As the first “New Business” item, the Gilroy City Council will consider casting a ”vote of no confidence” against the HSRA after about 100 frustrated South County residents showed up at the Oct. 4 Council meeting.

A vote of no confidence would show the City Council does not support HSRA policies.

The Council was divided: One side wanted to cooperate with the HSRA and the other wanted to be more aggressive mirroring some public sentiment that the HSRA has not provided enough information on the project.

Expected to begin full operation in 2020, the $45-billion, 800-mile system is slated to have routes from Sacramento to San Diego with connections to the Bay Area and a major stop in Gilroy. The HSRA has narrowed the options for the rail line running through Gilroy. It will either be aligning with the current Union Pacific tracks and run through the downtown corridor or cut through the rural area east of U.S. 101. A combination of the two routes is also possible.

Mi Pueblo

The next contentious issue is Mayor Al Pinheiro’s request to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to allow Mi Pueblo’s to keep its color scheme.

Pinheiro will motion to place an appeal on the City Council agenda concerning the Hispanic foods store’s bright facade.

After watching the Planning Commission’s Oct. 7 meeting, Pinheiro said he decided to bring the issue to the Oct. 18 Council meeting because the commission had not properly questioned whether the Hispanic foods store chain was complying with city code.

Section 51.50 of the Zoning Ordinance allows the City Council to appeal a decision made by the planning commission within 20 days, but it’s not common for the Council to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision, Pinheiro said.

The result of the Planning Commission meeting was a 5-2 vote to approve Mi Pueblo’s appeal.

The San Jose-based Hispanic foods chain has 17 locations throughout Northern California with $2.8 million invested in the Gilroy store.

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