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Most of us that live, work and play in Foster City believe that it is a fantastic place. Much of the credit for that lies with the City Staff and prior leadership. But the residents and businesses have had much to do with the quality of life here as well.
Foster City, however, is changing. We are now a fully built-out city and, as such, we need to look at new ways to sustain and grow what we have built. In that spirit, on Monday January 13, 2014 the City Council and the City Management Team held our annual team building and policy setting meeting and I want to share with you some of what will be upcoming this year.
At the first City Council meeting in February we will start looking at changing the process for major development projects so that new development and major redevelopment projects come to the City Council first. That way the Council, and the public, can have an opportunity to comment on proposed projects before they are far along in the permitting process. This will give us all an early chance to weigh in on changes to the City and allow us to manage our growth proactively. It is critical to manage change so that we do not lose what we have here.
Also in February we will begin to take a fresh look at all of our codes and laws with an eye towards streamlining and modernizing our procedures, making them more user friendly. As you know, our Staff is generally great to deal with, and certainly that will continue, but there are certain routine activities that can be streamlined and made even more efficient. This will be an on-going process, but we are getting started soon so if you have ideas in that area, please come and share them.
On the 10th of February we will have a special study session on the initial implementation for our City's first Economic Development Plan – Sustainable Foster City. I have written rather extensively about this and so I will not repeat all of that here, but if you want to come hear more about it, or give some input, please come to the meeting.
In February we will also hopefully be resolving some additional outstanding issues from last year, such as a smoking ordinance and a possible revision of the hedge-height requirements. These are important issues to many of us, so please look out for them and come give us your comments.
As the year rolls on we will be looking at issues relating to further shared services in the fire department, the use of Park-In-Lieu fees from developers, affordable housing funding sources, grant funding, and other issues of significant importance to our City and its economic stability. Many new development and redevelopment projects are in the works and we will need to review and consider those as well. In my last Council Corner I wrote about our upcoming outreach programs that I expect to start in February and I am very much looking forward to meeting with and learning from many of our residents and businesses.
Over the coming year we will be looking into how to improve our public outreach. We have these articles, various emails that people can subscribe to, a website and we participate in various social media sites, but we are still concerned about how to have better communications with our residents and businesses. We will tackle this issue this year and I hope you will attend and share your ideas with us.
Finally, one other issue of note, this year we are going to study ways to invest in our City. One of the items on our policy calendar is to look into City-made loans at below market interest rates to property owners wishing to do energy upgrades. We hope to partner with PG&E and our local tradespeople to offer opportunities for property owners to improve their property at lower costs as a way to incentivize them to make such changes for the betterment of the City as a whole. When we start discussing this issue later this year, it would be great to get feedback from the residents as it is a move into uncharted areas for us and any advice would be most welcome.
There are many other new and exciting things that I expect we will do, or at least start in 2014 so I hope that you do what many in Foster City already do, and get involved. Residents and business involvement continues to be one of the most important assets of our City and as we grow and change it becomes even more important. Please stay involved.
Those are my thoughts. You can always share your ideas with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (650) 286-3504.
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City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404