Officials are exploring the idea of building a new Fremont City Hall, adding another element to ambitious plans to create a mixed-use district that they hope transforms a moribund 110-acre area into a regional destination.

Three weeks ago, staff employees and the five-member City Council toured city halls in Redwood City, Mountain View, Cupertino and Milpitas to do some window shopping and compare notes on those cities' civic centers.

"We looked at Redwood City and Mountain View to see how they merged their city hall with active and successful downtowns," said Jessica von Borck, Fremont's urban initiatives manager.

Milpitas has one of the newest civic buildings, but Cupertino held special interest because its City Hall includes areas for the community, which is one of Fremont's goals.

"We want to create a downtown that provides public spaces," said von Borck. "We want to make part of our civic center area open to the public for events and art shows."

The new City Hall would be built next to the old one, at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and State Street, where Fremont's Family Resource Center is located.

Of course, ambitious proposals like these come loaded with an arsenal of questions, such as: How much will it cost? What would a new City Hall look like? How much will it cost? Where will the Family Resource Center go? And -- one more time -- how much will it cost?

The city is paying San Francisco-based Studios Architecture Associates about $150,000 to study those questions, and they are expected to deliver some answers by early next year, said von Borck.


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"At that point, we'll take a step back and identify how to move forward," von Borck said. "We really don't yet know the costs or how many buildings we'll need. We're in the data-gathering stage right now."

Oakland council settles on redistricting plan

Council members tentatively approved redrawn political maps for City Council and school board districts this week to reflect population shifts documented in the 2010 census.

The new maps mostly preserve existing electoral districts. The major changes include uniting the Haddon Hills and Cleveland Heights neighborhoods directly south of Lake Merritt in District 2 represented by Pat Kernighan; and uniting Maxwell Park in East Oakland in District 6 represented by Desley Brooks. Both neighborhoods for the past decade had been split into multiple council and school board districts.

Brooks, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said Maxwell Park should be united in District 4, which is represented by Libby Schaaf. To make room for placing all of Maxwell Park in Brooks' district, the council shifted a lower flatlands neighborhood from District 6 into District 5, represented by Noel Gallo.

The council still must hold a special hearing on the proposed maps next month before giving final approval in December.

Hayward delays vote on social nuisance ordinance

The Hayward City Council on Tuesday tabled for a week an ordinance that would hold owners responsible for nuisance behavior on their property.

Councilman Francisco Zermeno asked for the delay. Council members were given proposed changes to the ordinance on Tuesday, and he said he wanted more time to review the recommendations.

Currently, the only way for the city to crack down on owners of properties where crimes and unruly behavior is through the courts. The proposed ordinance would create an administrative process to deal with the problem properties. A landowner could be fined up to $5,000 if the problem is ignored after a warning letter is sent.

The council will take up the proposed new rules at its upcoming meeting Tuesday. Also on the agenda is an overhaul of Hayward's alcohol sales regulations.