Welcome back, ya'll! We are happy to share two positive notes from the latest City Council meeting.
First, a recommendation was put forth and approved to establish a two-person Council Subcommittee for the impending Downtown planning discussions.
What's the purpose of the Downtown Subcommittee you ask? According to Planning Director Drummond Buckley, its goal is to provide general feedback to, and be a sounding board for, planning staff regarding downtown planning issues. Decisions regarding downtown planning that can not be made by staff will continue to be decided by the City Council as a whole.
Newly-elected council member Inga Miller volunteered to serve on the Downtown Subcommittee, stating that conversations during her campaign had given her insight and perspective regarding the community's current desires for downtown. Council member Darlene Gee suggested that Mayor Eve Phillips serve as the second member of the Subcommittee. Both were unanimously agreed upon. And voila, we have a newly (re)formed Downtown Subcommittee.
Historically, Phillips has eschewed changes to downtown, while Miller ran for office on the platform of improving it. Meetings of the Downtown Subcommittee will be noticed and open to the public, so you bet we'll be following closely to see where this goes.
In other promising downtown developments, the city is moving forward to gather fresh perspective from both Main Street America and the Urban Land Institute - two organizations well-suited to give expert recommendations on our downtown.
Planning Director Buckley stated that consultants from Main Street America will be conducting interviews with stakeholders and community members on February 7th and 8th. WUDO is thrilled to have been invited to participate and be interviewed. These dates coincide with the February 7th City Council Meeting and it seems that MSA will attend and discuss Orinda's downtown with the City Council at this time. We encourage you to attend, and we'll be telling you a bit more about Main Street America right here, next week.
Similarly, the Urban Land Institute will begin their Technical Assistance Panel process in April 2017.
We are encouraged to see some positive movement in the first month of 2017, and hope the momentum can continue throughout the year.