A Year of Promise for Foster City
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A Year of Promise for Foster City
On January 21st, we held our annual Vision and Policy Summit. We set aside this time to review our accomplishments of the last year and to set our priorities for 2017. Overall, the day went well, and we had honest, open discussions. Since I realize that most residents are not able to set aside an entire day to join us at these meetings, I would like to summarize the day-long meeting to update you all on what we were able to accomplish.

We had a busy year and managed to implement some initiatives that were productive and benefitted Foster City, directly and indirectly. However, I would like to focus this article on highlights of the vision and future initiatives we discussed at the summit. We are in the process of scheduling a dialogue series to inform and update the public about the original City plan vision and the current environment. To be successful, we will need to engage participants from different disciplines with varied viewpoints in positive conversations on subjects related to our focus areas. The series of conversations will include Land Use – Past, Present and Future; Workforce Housing; Transportation and Mobility; and Commercial Retail. The meetings will include an informational component, an expert panel discussion, and a breakout session for the public to provide comments and ask questions on the topic of the particular meeting. These conversations will span over the course of the entire year.  

Each of the subcommittees reported on their activities over the year and solicited comments from the Council as to possible new initiatives to explore within their subcommittees. Mayor Bronitsky and I are on the Land Use Subcommittee. Some initiatives we are exploring for this year include looking at using some of our reserves to relieve some of the costs to residents of the levee work and the Recreation Center remodel (or rebuild). We will also be pushing for more public outreach this year. The possible redevelopment of the Sea Cloud 2 area was discussed. Several ideas were tossed around, including the building of a public gymnasium at the site. The subcommittee will explore this idea further and will examine the costs and feasibility of such a redevelopment. A Parks System Master Plan and re-examination of our land usage was also discussed with a view to the best use of the land in Foster City. To assist with the costs of potential redevelopment, we discussed the possibility of a public-private partnership, which has been successful in other cities in the Bay Area.  

In our land use discussion, I mentioned that we need a place for people to meet after work or on the weekends – a place to hang out with friends. Not only would this add vibrancy to our City, but it could also alleviate some transportation issues if we could entice some company employees to stay after work with friends and delay their trip home. We will be exploring such possibilities.

We discussed communications and public engagement through our subcommittee consisting of Councilmembers Perez and Pollard. Our Communications Department has implemented several initiatives that include increasing our social media presence. Our outreach has improved over the past year, and we will continue to work on gathering public input on City initiatives.  

Through the Transportation Subcommittee consisting of Councilmember Pollard and Vice Mayor Hindi, we continue to look for solutions to our traffic issues. One task for this year is to explore and identify potential public-private partnerships to assist in relieving some traffic. SCOOP is working well, and we will continue looking at other such opportunities.

The Economic Development Subcommittee consisting of Mayor Bronitsky and Vice Mayor Hindi is tasked with exploring opportunities to assist small businesses, as well as HOA’s, as part of the Sustainable Foster City Plan. One initiative we will be looking at is how we can invest in our community by providing services that our residents and businesses want/need. A few ideas are grants, loans, property investment, and property improvements.

Councilmember Perez and I are also on the Infrastructure Subcommittee and we continue to monitor all of the City’s capital improvement projects (CIPs).

We held a lively discussion of the mayoral election process, which historically has been through a rotation-type system. However, this process has not been followed every year, and for the last two years, I have advocated for a written process and procedures. During our conversation, having seen the resistance to such written procedures, I asked that we, at least, form some criteria of which we can all be aware that will guide us through the year if we wish to gain support for the position of Mayor. We discussed leadership qualities and how to show such qualifications through specific criteria, but because no consensus was apparent as to documenting activities that might show leadership, the conversation ended.  

At the end of the summit, we discussed some topics that we will prioritize this year. These include: a potential transit occupancy tax increase; forming an Education Facilities Citizen Ad Hoc Committee to gather input and feedback from residents regarding the new school to be built at Charter Square; repurposing properties for workforce housing opportunities; a “Walk with the City Council” event as an outreach opportunity; and exploring opportunities to work with the Chamber of Commerce.

This year promises to be another exciting year for Foster City. With the Levee Project, the new school project, and the Recreation Center remodel/rebuild, we will want your input.  

On a personal note, I will be working to make myself more available to you to discuss your priorities and issues. As always, I am available at cmahanpour@fostercity.org.  

 

Council Corner

February 01, 2017
A Year of Promise for Foster City

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200