Mtn. View names new parks and rec director

The city of Mountain View recently appointed John Marchant its new community services director.

Marchant, a 20-year city employee, replaces for the retiring J.P. de la Montaigne in overseeing the city’s parks and recreation services. He will supervise a department of 89 employees with an annual budget of approximately $24 million. Under Marchant’s purview are the Center for the Performing Arts, Rengstorff House, Shoreline Golf Links, the Shoreline Amphitheatre, forestry and roadway landscaping and volunteer management.

Los Altos council passes 5G regulations, weighs in on housing bills

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Residents opposed to the installation of 5G small-cell node technology have posted signs around town.

At the July 30 Los Altos City Council meeting, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins called for unity in furthering the Los Altos Community Center project, noting that the all-women council could represent female leaders everywhere by unanimously approving a funding request that would prompt contract signings and shovels hitting the pavement.

“This is a major accomplishment despite the fact that I am disappointed,” Bruins said of the split 3-2 vote allocating approximately $4 million more than anticipated for the project’s completion. “We could have shown how five women got this thing across the finish line.”

Water infrastructure project underway in Los Altos

California Water Service crews are at work in Los Altos’ Rancho neighborhood and the surrounding areas, installing a new water pipeline aimed at strengthening infrastructure reliability and resiliency for customers and enhancing fire protection in the area for first responders.

Los Altans fight FCC regulations, 5G

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Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A sign posted on a telephone pole at the intersection of Jordan Avenue and San Juan Court in Los Altos protests the installation of small-cell node technology.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted to schedule a special meeting for a final review of an urgency ordinance aimed at regulating the installation of small-cell node technology across the city. The meeting, slated for Monday evening, occurred after the Town Crier’s deadline.

In discussing the approaching wave of cellular providers applying to spread 5G technology in Los Altos, a topic that first surfaced at a July 9 council study session, varied opinions emerged.

Split vote from council authorizes city to execute Hillview contract

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
More than two years after the Los Altos City Council approved the creation of a Capital Improvement Project for the design and construction of a new Hillview Community Center, the city approved the bid of San Carlos-based Gonsalves & Stronck to kick-start the overhaul of the existing center, above.

It’s official. After a 3-2 vote from the Los Altos City Council at its meeting last week, contracts will be signed and demolition of Hillview Community Center is imminent as the city anticipates the long-awaited rebuild to begin in three to four weeks.

According to City Manager Chris Jordan, the city prequalified six general contractors to work on the project, five of which attended a pre-bid meeting. Only one of those qualified contractors submitted an official bid – San Carlos-based Gonsalves & Stronck Construction Co.

Airbnb providers hit with fees, restrictions under new Mountain View law

Mountain View residents offering short-term rentals on their properties will need to pay the city for that privilege after a new ordinance took effect last month.

The city council last October introduced an ordinance that establishes operating standards for such rentals, which are often conducted through online platforms like Airbnb. Under the new law, property owners offering short-term rentals (STRs) beginning July 1 were required to register with the city.

The process carries a host of fees. For starters, the city requires $165 annually for registration, which officials said is “designed to recover the city’s cost of regulating STRs.” Guests and renters also are subject to the city’s transient occupancy tax, equivalent to 10% of the rental costs. And renters must pay for an annual business license fee.

Such regulation stems from residents’ concerns in recent years that the proliferation of Airbnb rentals was adversely impacting neighborhoods by bringing excessive traffic, parking and noise.

Los Altos doesn’t allow any residential short-term rentals, defined as stays less than 30 days. The city council in May 2018 adopted an ordinance prohibiting such rentals, with the exception of hotels.

While Mountain View’s law allows unlimited hosted rentals where the operator is present on-site, the city limits unhosted rentals – where the owner is not present – to a maximum of 60 nights annually.

Unhosted rentals have sometimes resulted in parties generating noise, trash and overflow parking. The new law prohibits “special events, weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, and other similar events which have the potential to cause traffic, parking, noise, trash, or other impacts in the neighborhood are allowed at the short-term rental property during the short-term rental,” the ordinance states.

In addition, STR operators must provide the city and their neighbors with the contact information for a local person able to respond to concerns and complaints within 60 minutes. The city can revoke registration and prohibit a property from being used for failure to comply with regulations.

Operating without registration will result in a first-notice warning with 30 days to comply, followed by a $500 fine with the second notice and a $1,000 fine with the third notice. Operating with revoked or denied registration, or exceeding the 60-night limit for absentee operators can result in fines of $500 per day.

Shonda Ranson, the city’s communications coordinator, said Mountain View has more than 800 STR operators listed on various platforms over the past year, but only one had fully registered as of last week.

The city has extended a grace period to Sept. 1 to allow for registration “before we start checking for compliance,” she said.

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