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Calendar for week of Feb. 28

 Here’s this week’s calendar. Just about to head to San Leandro to see what they say about options for a medical marijuana ordinance. Tomorrow, the Hayward City Council is poised to take steps to save redevelopment assets from a possible state take. And Wednesday’s Sustainability Committee meeting could be a big one, as they will be looking at the draft Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance. They moved that meeting into the main Council Chambers instead of the work session room, in case people turn out. Continue Reading

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Hayward’s latest green proposal would affect homeowners

"RECO lawww!"

"RECO lawww!"

Hayward’s mulling a Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance, or RECO, and we had a story on it in today’s paper.

City officials really want to hear from the public on this. At the last Sustainability Committee meeting, some citizens expressed that they didn’t think the city was doing a good enough job of letting people know about it. There was talk of possibly including a notice in every water bill, but that would be fairly cost prohibitive.

 San Francisco and Berkeley passed such ordinances back in the 1980s.

Alice LaPierre, city of Berkeley building science specialist, said many residents “are on board with the idea of efficiency” and that the intent of the ordinance is to “protect residents from rising energy costs.”

“They will see a payoff immediately, and they’ll notice they have a more comfortable home,” she said.

Hayward residents at the last meeting and Realtors alike said they’re all for energy saving measures that will help the environment. But the real estate people I spoke with said it should be done in a more voluntary manner, instead of putting prohibitive requirements on homeowners or parties involved in a real estate transaction. Continue Reading

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Events for week of Jan. 31

Items of interest: If you have any acquaintances in the restaurant industry, the city is holding a “Survive to Thrive in the Restaurant Industry” event on Feb. 7. Talk about ways to evolve, such as using social media to promote your eatery.

Also, on Wednesday the Hayward Sustainability Committee is going to be talking about the Residential Energy Conversation Ordinance, something that has brought out the real estate community to speak against it at past meetings. Continue Reading

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Calpine says Russell City Energy Center is a go

Calpine_Vertical2_tmb

UPDATE: Here is the story.

The EPA rejected all appeals regarding the federal air permit issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Calpine representatives say that was the final hurdle for the 600-megawatt facility near the Hayward shoreline; spoke briefly with opponents, who said there may be other ways to block it.

Working on a story for tomorrow, but find the Calpine release after the jump. Curious quote from Kim Huggett, the new president and CEO of Hayward’s Chamber of Commerce about how the power plant will “be a magnet for bringing new business to Hayward.” Continue Reading

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Cal State East Bay development blocked

Here’s our story on a judge’s ruling regarding a large parking structure and new dorms planned at the Hayward campus. Basically, the judge agreed that CSU didn’t do enough to mitigate the effects of more cars and residents. City Attorney Michael Lawson said the university planned to ask the state for money to help the city handle the extra load, but would have gone ahead with the projects whether they got the funds or not, putting the burden on the city.

The university plans to double its student body in the next 20 years or so.

You can find more information about the projects on the CSUEB website. The parking lot and dorm reports are under the subheading “Cal State East Bay Hayward Campus Master Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report Volume II

To view the case, go to Alameda County’s DomainWeb site and enter case number RG09480852.

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Conversations about conservation concerns

Any thoughts on Hayward’s Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance? Here’s our preview story on the special Sustainability Committee meeting tonight, and here’s the city’s report on the matter. At previous public meetings, members of the real estate community turned out to speak against it on the grounds that it can only damage a market that’s already hurting, particularly if the requirements are triggered upon sale of a property.

Staff is recommending three such triggers: Older homes have a deadline in 2023 or 2025 for upgrades, improvements costing more than $50,000 would require compliance for the property, and buyers would have two years after purchase to comply. Costs of various retrofits ranges from around $1,000 to $4,000, according to the report.

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Foam fight tonight in Hayward?

Tonight’s City Council agenda includes a public hearing on a Styrofoam ban. You can read the entire item here.

Hayward wouldn’t be the first city to pass such a ban, and it wouldn’t be the first city to have said ban opposed by the Chamber of Commerce. According to an e-mail from Councilman Bill Quirk, that opposition is expected at tonight’s meeting.

Save the Bay also checked in and will be there to speak to the importance of such a ban.

Also on the agenda: A work session on regulating hand-cart vendors, which are currently banned from operating but do anyway.

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Hayward board and commission interviews this week

UPDATE #2: The official appointment and swearing-in ceremony for selected members will take place at the Sept. 14 City Council meeting.

UPDATE: Selections for the Planning Commission are Mariellen Faria, Sara Lamnin, Diane McDermott. For Personnel/Aff Action it’s Satinder Pal Singh and Gurjit Kaur. For Library, Kari McAllister. Keep Hayward Clean and Green, Monica Ruiz, Frances Sagapolu, Seleacia Taylor, Carol Baks Pecil and Werner Heisserer. Human Services, Diana Fagalde. Council Economic Development Committee, Terry Swartz, Chris Lam, Waseem Khan, Kanti Patel. DT Biz Improvement Area Advisory Board, Katherine Kelley, Beneba Thomas, Elie Goldstein, Benjamin Schweng. Citizen’s Advisory Committee: Rowena Gilmore, Ray Bonilla Jr., Flo Samuels, Allison McManus, Robert Leppert, Jim Todd and Julius Willis, Jr.

Hayward-City-Hall-2Hayward has a total of 44 applicants for posts on various boards and commissions. There are three vacancies on the Planning Commission, seven on the Citizen’s Advisory Commission, three on the Economic Development Committee, four on the Downtown Business Improvement Area Advisory Board, seven on the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force and one each on the Human Services Commission, Library Commission and Personnel And Affirmative Action Commission. Applicants for the Planning Commission: Continue Reading

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Big city lights near the bridge?

billboards

CORRECTION: Whoops! I was given incorrect information regarding what happened at last night’s meeting. The item that was postponed was NOT the Clear Channel billboard — it dealt with a cell phone tower at the Stonebrae Country Club.

Planners APPROVED the billboard 5-to-1 with Rodney Loche dissenting. The decision may be appealed to City Council.

The Planning Commission approved postponed making a decision on a billboard that would brighten up the approach to the Hayward-San Mateo bridge.

Clear Channel wants to put in one of those LED billboards, the ones with the changing ads. Like the Xtronx ones you see at Southland Mall or in San Leandro near Marina Boulevard. Sizewise, the Southland billboard is 14-by-26 feet. The Marina one is 20-by-30. The new one would be more of an elongated rectangle, the same size as a billboard currently there: 14-by-48 feet.

The city report is pretty extensive, and goes into possible side effects on drivers (deemed not distracting enough to be a safety hazard) and wildlife (overall light output won’t be much more than current billboard, and trained away from marshes).

Two planners recused themselves from Thursday night’s vote, and it was decided that with the current deficit of two commissioners, they will wait until September to make a decision, after the new members are seated.

It would make entrance and egress more exciting, but a lot of people don’t like those adboards and say they belong in, say, Times Square. This one would have some added benefit to the city because 12 percent of the adspace would be dedicated to city and community events, at no cost.

Here’s an interesting article on cities that have digital billboard bans.

Any thoughts on such a billboard?