Overview:

City Council resumes meetings this week with a relatively short agenda heavy on administrative items.

City Council resumes meetings this week with a relatively short agenda heavy on administrative items tying up business from last year.

The only new ordinance on the agenda is an expanded prohibition on smoking in multi-unit residential buildings.

Current rules already ban smoking in elevators, public parks, the beach, inside public buildings outdoor dining hotels and within 20 feet of entrances to buildings open to the public. The expansion would also ban smoking in the common areas, except designated smoking areas, of any multi-unit residential building and public right-of-way areas (sidewalk, street, and other public-right-of way) within 20 feet of any doorway or open window of a multi-unit residential building.

The new rules also shift responsibility for enforcement. Under existing laws, violations are subject to fines of up to $500 but individuals must bring a civil action in small claims court against the violators. The new rules would shift enforcement directly to the City’s code enforcement teams who can issue tickets and administrative citations directly.

“The City has received complaints from residents in multi-unit residential buildings indicating they are reluctant to file a lawsuit against their neighbors and asking the City to intervene with direct enforcement action against those who violate the City’s smoking laws in multi-unit residential properties,” said the staff report on the issue.

Returning items on Tuesday include revisions to rules about public comment, lobbying rules, the contract for wayfinding signs and affordable housing incentives.

Council adopted temporary changes to its agenda management and public comment rules last year to try to make it easier for individuals to participate in meetings. Public comment was consolidated at the start of the meeting in addition to providing the option for speakers to talk when an item was discussed. A survey found no statistical benefit to the revised vs. original system with roughly the same number of public comments received. The pilot program expired on Dec. 31 and Council is being asked to decide on reverting to the old system or coming up with something new.

In December of last year, BIG Outdoor was awarded a contract to install up to 50 digital wayfinding signs in the city. A competitor protested that decision and despite threats of both lawsuits and a referendum, the contract will return for a second reading on Tuesday.

Council passed a temporary zoning rule last year to encourage development of 100 percent affordable housing projects. Those rules expire in February and staff are recommending they be extended through May while permanent rules are developed.

The consent calendar includes approval for a new festival attached to a statewide bike race.

According to the staff report, the AIDS/LifeCycle Finish Line Festival incorporates both a finish line experience for 2,500 cyclists and 650 7-day volunteers (called Roadies), as well as a reception point for event vehicles, supplies, and equipment. The event would be held on June 10, in the 4 South Beach Parking lot. The Ride is a seven day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, co-produced by and benefiting San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Council will meet on Jan. 10 in City Hall, 1685 Main Street. Closed session begins at 5:30 and open session will begin no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

editor@smdp.com

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...