CANYON

Multiagency wildfire meeting April 10

A multiagency meeting to discuss the challenges of a major wildfire in Canyon will be held April 10 at the Canyon Elementary School.

Representatives from the Moraga-Orinda Fire District, Cal Fire and East Bay Municipal Utilities District are scheduled to attend the meeting. County supervisor Candace Anderson and staff from Congressman George Miller's office have also been invited.

The program will begin with a presentation about a fire in an isolated community and how the community was spared thanks to prior collaboration between residents and fire agencies. MOFD and Cal Fire will then discuss challenges of a fire in Canyon and staff from Congressman Miller's office will discuss grants for removing hazardous vegetation.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at 187 Pinehurst Road.

Lafayette

Council denies batting cage appeal waiver

City leaders denied this week a request from a resident to waive the fees for an appeal of a planning commission decision to allow a batting cage on her neighbor's property.

Resident Michele Chalmers asked council members earlier this month to consider waiving the $1,900 appeal fee required to re-evaluate the batting cage abutting her property. Chalmers says excessive noise from the "sport court" is making her backyard "uninhabitable."

This isn't the first time the city has received complaints about the facility. Last year, the owners were asked to submit a land use permit application for lighting installed without a permit. In March, the planning commission approved the permit with conditions including the removal of exterior lighting and reduced height.

The city had already reduced the appeal fee from $2,775.

City eyes converted housing, capital projects

The city's planning commission will discuss April 1 what to do with a handful of residential units downtown that have been converted to businesses and other nonresidential uses without proper permitting.

City staff identified two properties on Golden Gate Way containing 20 residential units that have been converted without permits during a study of housing supply downtown. Property owners have been asked to provide records of when the units were converted and commissioners will decide how to work with those whose units were converted after the city's 1986 ban on changes without a land use permit.

Staff is recommending a sunset period of five years before all non-permitted units in a building must be converted back to residences.

Commissioners will also review the city's 2014 Capital Improvement program and weigh it's consistency with the general plan. Proposed projects include the reconstruction of eleven failed roads, pavement work on select arterial street and remodeling of the Lafayette Community Center's Manzanita Room.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center community hall.

Learn about 'high efficiency irrigation' on April 13

High efficiency irrigation will be the focus of a garden class April 13 at the Lafayette Community Garden.

Landscape architect and East Bay Municipal Utilities District representative Scott Sommerfield will discuss irrigation equipment and best practices for landscape and irrigation design, installation and maintenance in "Irrigation and New Norms for the California Landscape." The class will be hands on and participants will put together part of an irrigation system they can use at home.

For information, visit lafayettecommunitygarden.org.

ORINDA

"State of the City" address April 15

Mayor Amy Worth will deliver a second "State of the City" address April 15 at the Orinda Library Auditorium.

The evening is scheduled to begin with dessert and coffee, followed by the mayor's address. Worth gave an address March 20 at an Orinda Chamber of Commerce sponsored event. The second address was scheduled to provide residents the option of attending an evening program, according to the city.

The free event begins at 7 p.m. at 26 Orinda Way. No RSVP is required.

Council recognizes new commissioners

Orinda leaders welcomed several new commissioners and committee members at a council meeting March 19.

The appointees are: Jason Lurie, to the Parks and Recreation Commission; Bing Ryan, Susan Vandegrift and Sandy Breber ,to the Finance Advisory Committee; Cat Schmidt, to the Public Works and Aesthetic Review Committee; Laurie Smith and Eric Anderson, to the Historic Landmarks Committee; Mark Marchiel and Terry Murphy, to the Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Commission; and Richard Westin, to the Art in Public Places Committee.

Get into action with Orinda Action Day

Residents wishing to help beautify Orinda can make a difference April 20 during the annual citywide clean up day.

Projects will take place at schools and creeks on both sides of town. Participation by scout troops and community groups is especially encouraged.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. at Liberty Plaza on the day of the event. Food and free T-shirts will be available and pizza will be served around 11:30 a.m.-noon when projects are completed.

For information, visit www.orindafoundation.org or e-mail orindafoundation@gmail.com.

MORAGA

Bollinger Valley Draft EIR up for review

A draft report on the environmental impacts of a proposed 126-home development in northeastern Moraga is up for public review.

The town will be accepting public comment on the Bollinger Valley draft EIR during a 45-day period following the draft's release. A copy of the report will be available for review at the town offices, the Hacienda de las Flores facility, the Moraga Library and online at www.moraga.ca.us.

The project's developer is asking for several appeals including a general plan amendment to build on the 186-acre site.

The planning commission will hold an informational hearing on the draft report April 17 at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School Auditorium, 1010 Camino Pablo, and will make a recommendation on the general plan amendment to the town council.

Garden Farm plant sales through April 21

The Moraga Gardens Farm's annual plant sale continues on Saturdays and Sundays April 6-21. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each sale day.

The timing of the sale is ideal, as it is optimum to wait until April 15 to plant vegetables outdoors in Lamorinda.

More than 2,800 organic plants grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides will be offered. Plants include many hard to find heirloomn varieties, which have proved to do well in Lamorinda -- 20 types of tomatoes, four kinds of eggplants, eight peppers and nine different herbs.

Cost of the 4-inch potted plants is $2, and of 1-gallon plants are $5. Proceeds will help pay for the operating expenses of running the farm.

Moraga Gardens Farm grows a variety of vegetables and fruits, which are shared by the volunteer members, local markets, and local charitable organizations that fed the hungry, including the Contra Costa Food Bank. The farm is located at 1370 Moraga Road, just south of the Moraga Fire Department.

Contra Costa

'Re-imagine our creeks' meeting April 1

On Monday April 1 residents in the Diablo Valley are invited to a public meeting to envision the future of the creek corridors in central county cities and neighborhoods. Residents will have a chance to talk with civic leaders and urban designers about ways to beautify communities, ecologically restore the creeks and feature them as civic amenities, while still maintaining flood protection, according to a news release.

The numerous creek tributaries in the Walnut Creek Watershed were controlled and made into channels in the 1950s and 60s to protect from flooding. But now there are other ways to control creek that are more attractive and less hurtful to habitat.

Some cities in the state have developed sections of creek that have become an economic boon for "retail businesses such as creekside restaurants, or for neighborhood amenities like linear parks with jogging trails, while maintaining much of their natural ecology," according to the release.

Residents are called to help shape a future vision for the Walnut Creek Watershed from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 1, at the Walnut Creek Main Library, 1644 N. Broadway.

The meeting will showcase design plans and project concepts created by UC Berkeley graduate students in Environmental Planning and Landscape Design. The meeting is organized by the Walnut Creek Watershed Council, the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District and Friends of the Creeks.

-- Jennifer Modenessi and Sam Richards