Gilroy City Council meeting recap: Councilman says he’s not
running for mayor; the Council will soon vote on a URM ordinance,
and the saga over a cherry orchard is to be continued.
That’s all, folks. Peter Arellano – the lone Gilroy City Council member the Dispatch was unable to contact last week to ask if they were running for mayor in 2012 – said Monday between open and closed sessions of the City Council meeting he would not be running. Of the seven Council members, Dion Bracco and Perry Woodward have announced intentions to run.
In other Council news from Monday:
– In his report to the Council, Mayor Al Pinheiro said he would bring information to the council regarding downtown’s unreinforced masonry structures – or URMs – during the Feb. 7 Council meeting. Pinheiro said recently a task force consisting of himself, Councilman Perry Woodward and local developer Gary Walton would bring to the Council a new ordinance that would no longer require downtown URM owners to purchase full retrofits to reopen.
– The council voted 7-0 to award the Christmas Hill Park parking lot rehabilitation project to Jos J. Albanese, Inc. The project will include repairing asphalt and painting new parking stripes in the lot south of the park’s main entrance. The project is not to exceed $232,109.90.
– During a study session, the Council unanimously approved a staff recommendation to continue hearings on a proposed 349-unit affordable housing project that would be constructed a cherry orchard near Bolsa Road.
– During Councilman Bob Dillon’s report, he announced he would be running for mayor in 2012, then chuckled that he was only kidding.
– By a 5-2 vote, the Council voted to retain its legal counsel, Berliner Cohen. Woodward and Leroe-Muñoz voted against the motion. Woodward said he wanted the city to hire at least one in-house attorney to handle “the lion’s share” of legal matters. Woodward later said, “I’m not saying for a moment we should stop using Berliner Cohen, but we need to be much smarter about how we use Berliner and Cohen.” For the 2009-10 fiscal year, the city spent $629,000 on legal fees – $19,000 more than 2008-09, but $262,000 less than 2007-08, according to city figures.
– The Council voted 6-1 to accept a staff recommendation to not install a new stop sign at the corner of Sixth and Eigleberry streets. City Transportation Engineer Don Dey said the city looked into putting a new stop sign there in 2007 and “Not much has changed” since. The installation of bulb outs – which allow drivers to ease into an intersection to view crossing traffic – was also discussed.
– In new business, City Administrator Thomas Haglund said the agenda for the Council’s goal-setting session – or retreat – would be available by Tuesday morning. He said the agenda had a “large volume of items” to be discussed. He said he had a plan for getting through it all. “And we’ll certainly do our best to execute that plan,” he said. The retreat begins at 9 a.m. Friday.
– The Gilroy City Council on Monday night approved a change in the city’s zoning rules that will allow ground floor offices in downtown without conditional use permits.
The Council voted 6-0 to approve the amendment, which will be in effect for three years.