Lafayette

Wireless ordinance heading to city council

Policies that would guide the location and appearance of cell phone towers and help improve telecommunication infrastructure in Lafayette are heading to the city council for adoption.

Planning commissioners unanimously decided Monday to recommend that city leaders adopt a wireless communications facilities ordinance. That ordinance was drafted by a subcommittee comprised of two city council members and two planning commissioners who received input from the public and wireless industry representatives.

In a report, city staff says the ordinance's strengths include a two-level review process of proposals, required periodic review of installed facilities and monitoring of radio frequency emissions.

The city adopted in January a 45-day temporary moratorium on new permits for wireless communications facilities following a city review of cell phone towers after residents voiced concerns about their proximity to homes and schools.

The council is tentatively scheduled to consider the ordinance Oct. 22.

City studies housing downtown

City leaders will be considering in October amending the municipal code to allow for affordable housing downtown following a recommendation from the planning commission.


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The change would amend Lafayette's zoning ordinance to allow multifamily developments by right in areas where discretionary land use permits are currently required. City staff believes requiring housing projects to apply for land use permits in the downtown commercial zoning district is a "governmental constraint" to affordable housing required by the state, according to a staff report.

Lafayette leaders have been working for several years to comply with state law that requires cities to update their housing elements in order to meet regional housing needs. The proposed changes follow the recent approval of the city's Downtown Specific Plan, which sets guidelines for future growth.

The review is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 22.

Plaza Way Overlay, roundabout on Monday council agenda

A much-debated roundabout on Mt. Diablo Way will be getting another look from city leaders, who will also be considering improvements and additional parking on a historic stretch of Plaza Way.

A public hearing is scheduled Monday to continue a discussion begun in August on the East End Pedestrian/Bike and Streetscape Improvement Project. That plan calls for street improvements on a portion of Mt. Diablo Boulevard including intermittent center medians and a roundabout at the intersection of Golden Gate Way and Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

City leaders had suggested staffers look at other options after citing concerns including future maintenance costs. In a staff report on the city's website, www.ci.lafayette. ca. us, engineering services manager Tony Coe illustrates alternate scenarios for the roundabout but is recommending that the city approve the circle.

Opponents have set up a website arguing against the roundabout at www.noroundabout.org.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Lafayette Library and Learning Center community hall, 3491 Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

Orinda

City looks at financials

City leaders received a snapshot this week of Orinda's fiscal health in the form of unaudited yearly financials that show city revenues exceeding expectations.

According to preliminary data, the city's general fund has a surplus of $40,000 and expenses are $60,000 less than projected. The report also shows that the city's internal service funds, which are earmarked for aging assets or future costs of insurance settlements and updating the general plan are funded; it also shows that the city transferred money from the general fund into the capital improvement fund for the Glorietta Storm Drain Project and other road projects. The report is available at www.ci.orinda.ca.us.

The audited financials will be presented in December.

League of Women Voters council forum Oct. 11

The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley and the Orinda Association are hosting a city council candidate forum Thursday at the Orinda Library. Incumbents Steve Glazer and Victoria Smith will face off against challenger Linda Delehunt for two open seats on the city council.

The debate begins at 7 p.m. at 26 Orinda Way.

A school board candidates roundtable will be held at the library at 7 p.m. Oct. 15.

J& J Ranch input being accepted

The city planning commission is accepting public input on an environmental impact report of the proposed J& J Ranch subdivision surrounding the Joaquin Moraga Adobe.

Documents longer than three pages must be submitted to the planning department no later than 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5. Materials shorter than three pages can be submitted to the department by Friday, Oct. 5 or to the planning commission Oct. 9.

Ten copies of each are required.

Developers hope to place 13 lots on the 20-plus acre property owned by Danville-based J & J Ranch. Plans call for the restoration of the historic Joaquin Moraga Adobe and its conversion into a private recreation center.

For information, visit www.ci.orinda.ca.us

Third annual Olive Festival Oct. 7

The county's first and only Olive Festival is back for a third year, set in the Wagner Ranch Nature Area, next to the Wagner Ranch Elementary School, 350 Camino Pablo in Orinda.

The free festival is Sunday, Oct. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Local olive company and founding sponsor McCauley Olive Growers will provide tastings of oils from their hand-picked olives, and Berkeley Olive Growers from Oroville will be on hand with their award-winning organic oils

Local chef Wendy Shay will provide a food demonstration and visitors can buy delicious food catered by her company Herbs & Spices Games include the Olive Toss, Olive Dash, and Olive Pit Challenge. Artists of the Nature Area will be painting in the Olive Grove, and the Barretts from Woodland and Orinda will demonstrate the preparation and pressing of olives for oil.

Teens and youth from Scout programs, Others First at Orinda Intermediate School, Miramonte High School and ALMA Music Program are donating their talents to the festival, as are Orinda Rotary community volunteers, seniors from Orinda Village and students from Saint Mary's College.

The goal of the event, organized by the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area, is to raise funds to preserve the 40-year tradition of teaching Orinda children about the environment and how their ancestors lived in closer contact with nature.

For more details on the day's events visit our website www.fwrna.org

MORAGA

Moraga school district to reconsider abuse policy

Trustees will meet Wednesday to take another look at the district's administrative regulations on child abuse prevention and reporting.

The school governing board will address proposed new wording and other changes to the district's policy on mandated reporting at the monthly board meeting. Administrators had hoped last month to add wording that would require all mandated reporters in a team to report abuse but were advised by their attorney that doing so may go beyond the requirements of the California Penal Code.

The district has been working to strengthen school policy in the wake of a investigations into mandated reporting failures in the 1990s.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, 1010 Camino Pablo.

Professor awarded prestigious poets' fellowship

Brenda Hillman, an English professor at Saint Mary's College, has been named a 2012 Academy of American Poets Fellowship recipient by the academy's board of chancellors.

Hillman is the author of eight full-length collections from Wesleyan University Press, including "Practical Water" (2009); "Loose Sugar "(1997), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "Bright Existence" (1993), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America, among others. She is currently finishing a series -- a tetralogy -- of books on the earth's elements; the last volume explores the element of fire.

Since 1946, the Academy of American Poets has awarded fellowships to American poets for distinguished poetic achievement.

The fellowship, which includes a $25,000 prize, was the first award of its kind in the United States and remains one of the nation's most prestigious poetry honors. Recipients are nominated and elected each year by a majority vote of the academy's board of chancellors. Previous recipients include poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.

Walnut Creek

Lindsay Wildlife Museum to hold gala

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum will hold it's annual "Fall For Our Wildlife Gala" 6 p.m. Oct. 13. Held at the Round Hill Country Club in Alamo there will be live entertainment, auctions and former Contra Costa Times columnist and museum curator emeritus Gary Bogue will be honored.

The museum cares for 80 native California wild animals and treats more than 5,300 injured or orphaned animals each year in its rehabilitation hospital.

The price for tickets at the gala starts at $200.

To buy tickets or for more information go to http://wildlife-museum.org/gala.

Politico to speak at WC library Oct. 2

Bay Area political commentator Joe Tuman will discuss the local and national political landscape 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Walnut Creek Library.

Tuman, broadcast political commentator and former Oakland mayoral candidate, will look at the future of redevelopment and its impact on California cities as well as pension reform and how local and state government is addressing this pressing issue, according to a news release.

The presentation is free and part of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation's Live! from the Library speaker series. It will be held in the Oak View Room at the library, 1644 N. Broadway. To reserve a seat or for more information go to www.wclibrary.org

-- Jennifer Modenessi and Sam Richards