Last updateTue, 27 Sep 2016 5pm

Conservation eases LAH water restrictions

Los Altos Hills’ expansive front yards and backyards – and orchards and vineyards – are notoriously thirsty. But if 2015’s water consumption data is any indication, residents now appreciate the severity of California’s drought.

“Last year was pretty severe, but this year, there’s lots of good news,” said Raylene Collins, Purissima Hills Water District secretary.

LAH commission welcomes new member

Attendees of the Aug. 23 Los Altos Hills Special Planning Commission meeting will notice a new face on the dais: Jamshid (Jim) Basiji.

Basiji, a town resident for 27 years, replaces Commissioner Jim Abraham, whose term expired in June. Like commissioners Jitze Couperus and Susan Mandle, both reappointed to their seats, Basiji will serve through June 2020.

LAH officials nix transient occupancy tax proposal

A number of factors played into the decision by the Los Altos Hills City Council last week to abandon pursuit of a local short-term rental tax. But perhaps the most persuasive argument arrived via a July 13 webinar, “Best Practice for Ensuring Short-Term Rental Ordinance Compliance.”

In New York City, the compliance rate of short-term rental permitting is 25 percent, according to the webinar, a production of local government management company iCompass. In San Francisco, the rate is 24 percent. In Hallandale Beach, Fla., it’s just 1 percent.

Mtn. View council considers competing rent control ballot initiative

Members of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition make themselves heard – and noticed – prior to the July 14 city council meeting at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy of the Mountain View tenants coalition

Backers of a charter amendment proposal for rent control are unhappy with the Mountain View City Council’s July 14 vote to proceed with a competing rent control ballot measure on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“What a message to be sending to their people,” said Juliet Brodie, an attorney representing the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. The group, comprising tenants struggling with rising rents, introduced a Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act in April. The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters validated the necessary signatures required to put the act on the ballot – on the same day the council elected to push a dueling measure.

Short-term rental debate could change Hills muni code

Los Altos Hills’ municipal code does not, in fact, permit short-term rentals like those offered through Airbnb and VRBO. But residents tonight have an opportunity to advocate for – or against – an ordinance change as city councilmembers debate the subject at their specially scheduled meeting.

“We think it’s important that the council hears both sides of the issue because ultimately, they’re going to be making a decision about whether to move forward,” said Suzanne Avila, city planning/building director.

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