CITY OF ORINDA
January 4, 2000
A REGULAR MEETING OF THE ORINDA CITY COUNCIL WAS HELD ON
THE ABOVE DATE IN THE COMMUNITY CENTER AUDITORIUM, 26
ORINDA WAY, ORINDA, CALIFORNIA, MAYOR JOYCE HAWKINS
A. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:12 p.m. by Mayor
Mayor Hawkins announced that the Council met in closed session from 6:30 to
7:00 p.m., Conference with the City Manager and City Attorney concerning
negotiations with Orinda Employee Association employees regarding salaries and
fringe benefits pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.6(a). The closed
session was continued to the conclusion of the regular Council meeting.
B. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG led by Mayor Hawkins.
C. ROLL CALL:
COUNCILMEMBERS PRESENT: Laura Abrams, Joyce Hawkins, Allan Tabor,
Gregg Wheatland, Amy Worth
COUNCILMEMBERS ABSENT: None
D. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
MOTION: By Mayor Pro Tem Worth, seconded by Councilmember Wheatland,
adopting the agenda. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.
E. ITEMS FOR THE GOOD OF THE CITY
E-1. Report from Miramonte High School Liaison, Meghan Daily.
Meghan Daily reported on the activities at Miramonte High School.
E-2. Introduction of new employees Leah Owyang, Accountant/Analyst; and
Keith Hiscox, Maintenance Worker I, and Becky Wallace,
Leah Owyang and Becky Wallace were unable to attend the meeting due to illness.
Andrew Gaber, Acting Public Works Director, introduced Keith Hiscox,
Maintenance Worker I. Mayor Hawkins welcomed Mr. Hiscox and presented him
with a City of Orinda pin.
E-3. Appointment and introduction of Rob Garner as City Treasurer.
Mayor Hawkins introduced Rob Garner, presented information on Mr. Garner’s
experience and background, and thanked him for accepting the appointment.
MOTION: By Councilmember Tabor, seconded by Councilmember Abrams,
appointing Rob Garner as the City Treasurer. The motion passed unanimously by
F. PUBLIC FORUM (Agenda Items Only)
G. CITY MANAGER'S REPORT - No report.
H. PUBLIC HEARINGS
H-1. Consider an appeal of a Planning Commission decision denying a
variance (VAR 99-10) to allow a reduced front setback associated with the
construction of a new single family residence at 38 Valley Drive.
John Everts, Associate Planner, reported that the hearing tonight is to consider a timely
appeal filed by Larry and Anna Uhrich of the Planning Commission’s December 1, 1999
denial of a request for approval of a front yard setback variance associated with the
construction of their new single family residence at 38 Valley Drive. A concurrent
Development Plan for the project, which incorporated the reduced front setback
contemplated in the variance request, was approved by the Design Review Board on
November 4, 1999.
Linda Roodhouse, City Attorney, stated that it is important to remember that the Planning
Commission did not address the size of the house that would go on the lot, nor did it address
whether or not a variance would be appropriate for any proposed house on that lot;
therefore, to imply that because the Planning Commission approved the subdivision and put
the limitations on the lot that it was impliedly also permitting or approving a variance or a
certain size of house is not true. What the Planning Commission did with respect to the
subdivision is immaterial to this discussion.
Ms. Roodhouse further stated that there is also an implication in some of the materials that if
the variance is not granted the house will have to be built where there are some existing
trees. This is not a necessary, logical reason of the fact that the Council may or may not
grant this variance. If the variance is not granted, a house could be designed in a different
way so the Oak trees are not jeopardized.
Councilmember Abrams stated that there are story poles for two different residences and
asked if there is another plan anticipated. Mr. Everts stated that there is presently a
development plan for the adjoining lot and there is an indication that the Design Review
Orinda City Council Minutes 2 January 4, 2000
Board will approve this. The proposed house is approximately 4,550 square feet; it is .88
acres. A variance has not been applied for in conjunction with this application.
Mayor Hawkins opened the public hearing.
Speakers: Anna Uhrich, 10 Claremont Avenue, stated that they are building the home for
themselves. They addressed the issue based on City code 26-2.2006 and its requirement for
a variance. They have a number of encumbrances on the property that other properties in
the neighborhood do not have. Their property is zoned R-20, and the property, from the
property line to the top of the creek bank, in some areas is only 85 feet, therefore, their
building area is very small. Referring to the map, Mrs. Uhrich explained how the house will
be situated on the property. She stated that they do not feel that they have designed a house
that is outrageously out of proportion to the neighborhood; their house is not extraordinary
and they have support from the neighbors.
Larry Uhrich, 10 Claremont Avenue, stated that they wanted to fit in with the neighbors;
they have talked to everyone on the street. The main variance they are asking for is the
garage which they designed with a side entry.
Councilmember Tabor referred to page 3 of the appeal letter (Exhibit B), “All indications
from staff, the precedent of the existing properties along the street and the support of our
neighbors suggested this variance would be approved,” and asked which staff member told
them they thought the variance would be approved without the Planning Commission
hearing it. After some discussion between Councilmember Tabor and Mrs. Uhrich
concerning staff’s remarks to them regarding the approval of the variance, it was determined
that staff did not assure the Uhrich’s that their variance would be approved, and staff
informed them that only the Planning Commission could make that decision.
Councilmember Tabor referred to page four of the appeal letter, “Lastly we feel as though
we have been put into a ‘double jeopardy’ situation,” and stated that even though the Design
Review Board was recommending a variance, did they have before them the requisite of the
variance and made findings a fact to support a variance. Mrs. Uhrich stated that she could
not answer that question. Councilmember Tabor stated that the DRB cannot do that.
Councilmember Tabor asked staff if, during the DRB hearing, whether the DRB was given
the findings that are necessary with respect to a variance and undertook a public hearing to
make the findings that the facts justified a variance and therefore were recommending it to
the Planning Commission based on findings, or were they just making a recommendation
that they thought this was the best place to put the house. Mr. Everts replied “the latter
would be the case.”
Ted Urban, 125 Alta Haciendas, owns the adjoining property at 40 Valley Drive. He stated
that although he is listed as an applicant on this matter, he has no interest in the property.
Mr. Urban stated that he supports the applicant. He explained the building envelop when
the subdivision was approved. Mr. Urban stated that although the DRB does not act on all
the findings, it does take into account how big a house needs to be and how it fits the site.
Orinda City Council Minutes 3 January 4, 2000
The DRB had the prerogative to reduce the size, scale and mass of the house to fit within the
envelope. The DRB determined that the house fit reasonably on the site and therefore fit
within the confines of a variance. He stated that this is an important finding because it is the
finding that they can make.
Councilmember Wheatland asked Mr. Urban if the statements made by the Uhrich’s in their
letter were based upon what he had told them. Mr. Urban replied yes, the only difference
being the storm drain issue. Councilmember Wheatland asked Mr. Urban if, as the owner of
the property and as a member of the Planning Commission, he made any representations to
the applicants. Mr. Urban replied that he made it clear to them that this would be a difficult
process; and until the Planning Commission acted, this matter could not be determined. He
went on to say that in his personal opinion, the findings could be made for a variance on this
application. He stated that he did not attempt to represent the Planning Commission; he did
not make any presentation before the Planning Commission; and he did not make any
representations as to the size of house they could expect.
At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Worth, Mr. Urban clarified the storm drain easement.
Referring to the map, he stated that it is not a dedicated easement. Under the City’s
definition of a constrained lot, any easement that can’t be built on is removed from the net
building area. If the easement does not belong to the City, or anyone, it is the net building
area. The net building area when his map was approved by the City exceeded the allowable
net area to make it a constrained lot. As soon as it was dedicated to the City, it reached the
threshold. The City’s deciding to convey that into a deed and entitlement for a utility
easement changed this from an unconstrained lot to a constrained lot just by the calculation
in the net building area. It was the City’s choice to take title over the easement.
Jack Chapman, 2 Valley Court, neighbor of the proposed residence, stated that he is in favor
of the variance. He described the constrained lot and the way the house is planned to fit on
the lot. He stated that in reviewing the application, staff recommended the easement; the
DRB supported it; neighbors are not complaining. The house fits in with the community
and will fit nicely on the lot. He recommended that Council consider granting the appeal
Councilmember Wheatland asked Mr. Chapman if he was in the room during the Planning
Commission’s discussion of the matter. Mr. Chapman replied yes. In answer to questions
of Councilmember Tabor, Mr. Chapman further replied that he did not have an interest in
Paul Franklin, 145 Glorietta Boulevard, spoke in support of the owners.
Ann Ward, spoke in support of building the house.
Mayor Hawkins closed the public hearing.
Councilmember Worth asked if this is a physically constrained lot. Mr. Everts replied the
lot is a physically constrained lot. If the area of all the easements are subtracted from the lot,
the lot is approximately 11,750 square feet.
Orinda City Council Minutes 4 January 4, 2000
Councilmember Wheatland asked what the ordinance says is the allowable size of a home
within that lot limitation. Mr. Everts replied that for a PCL, it would be in the “high 2,000s”
unless certain findings can be made. He went on to say that the DRB felt the findings could
reasonably be made because of the mitigations that the applicants had introduced. They are
below what they would be allowed under the FAR ordinance, but above what they would be
allowed on that lot.
Councilmember Wheatland referred to the tentative map approval for the subdivision (6-7-
94), condition 25 states, “…site drainage shall be conveyed to a location acceptable to the
Public Works Department,” and asked if that is correct. Mr. Everts replied, “yes”.
Councilmember Abrams stated that she is convinced that the size of the house is acceptable
and she can make the findings that the placement of the house within the setback that is
required is a result of the configuration of the lot. She is further convinced that the location
of the house meets the concern about bringing houses away from creeks and oak trees, etc.
The home is not dissimilar to other homes in the neighborhood.
Mayor Pro Tem Worth stated that although she is reluctant to take a different position than
what is being recommended by the Planning Commission, having reviewed the site, she
agrees with Councilmember Abrams’ conclusions.
Councilmember Tabor stated that he is pleased to see that the neighbors are in support of the
project, and that there was consideration for the scenic easement and the oak trees. He
stated that in his opinion, the Planning Commission misinterpreted what he thinks its duty
was with respect to the variance—it was not to discuss where else the house can go, the
question is, can they meet the findings? He stated that he believes the three findings can be
made—there is no special privilege—many of the homes are much closer to the curb than
this house; it meets the intent and purpose of the respective land use district because it is
one-half acre and it is more than small in relation to the lot; moving the house back will
deprive them of the privilege of the rights enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity. He is
in favor of upholding the appeal and granting the variance.
Councilmember Wheatland stated that another option that the applicant’s have is building a
house with a different footprint or building a house of a smaller size. There are many
options that can be accommodated by these property owners within the constraints that they
knew of at the time they purchased this property that would allow them to build a very nice
house of equal size or slightly smaller within the allowable setback and without encroaching
on any easement. He went on to say that in terms of entitlement, he has to take into
consideration what the county did--many of these variances were granted in the 1970s by
the County. He questioned what the City should be doing now, and for the next appeal that
comes before the Council. He cannot make the findings because a few weeks ago Council
denied a variance for encroachment into a side yard setback and one of the main reasons that
was denied was the applicant wanted to build a house larger than what would fit
comfortably in the buildable area of the lot. He believes that is what is happening here—
these applicants have proposed a home that is slightly bigger than will fit comfortably within
Orinda City Council Minutes 5 January 4, 2000
the buildable area of that lot. He stated that he would seriously entertain an application that
would have the front line of the house approximately where it is now but without the
encroachment of the third car garage.
Councilmember Abrams stated that what needs to be taken into consider when driving down
the street is that it is only the garage, a very small portion of the house, that will be within
the 22 ½ foot setback. In the case of the other homes, the entire structure is 23 feet from the
curb. She asked if we allowed for reduced setbacks to encourage side-loaded garages in the
Mr. Everts stated that the reduced setback was a design tool included in the physically
constrained lot ordinance.
Councilmember Tabor stated that Council denied the Lucille Way appeal because no one
else in the area had a variance. The other problem with that home was that it was 20 feet tall
when it was supposed to be 18 feet—there was a corridor effect—the top wasn’t recessed—
it was a violation of many of the rules in the ordinance. With the current application, they
are well within all of the rules that we have for this home. We need to consider whether
other people in the neighborhood have these privileges.
Mayor Hawkins asked Ms. Roodhouse if a previous body having made the decision has any
effect on privilege. Ms. Roodhouse stated that traditional variance law stated that the
privileges that people whose improvement comply with the law is the standard by which
you measure whether you are giving this person special privilege. The comparison with
people who already have variances under traditional variance law is not the correct
comparison. Using the subject lot, you ask “if the variance is granted will they then be
equal to a lot where there is a house without a variance.” The problem is that the language
of this particular standard doesn’t clearly reflect what traditional variance law intended.
Every body has the right to make its own decision. “It deprives the subject property of
rights enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity.” She stated that those properties have the
right to build on those lots with a variance, strictly speaking, under the language here. Ms.
Roodhouse stated that Council would look at what has happened on other lots if they were
looking at that particular finding.
Mayor Hawkins stated that normally she would not be in favor of this variance, and in many
ways agrees with Councilmember Wheatland; however, she is going to vote in favor of this
because she feels the problem here comes from the original subdivision. Council needs to
look at what it is creating when it creates subdivisions. When we create something, look at
the possible building areas and consider if the possible home size conforms to what our
FAR regulations are. She went on to say that there could be a smaller home on this lot and
it could be built without a variance. Further, the other reason for approving this relates to
the double jeopardy issue. The applicants have gone through a redesign at the request of the
DRB and have gone through a great deal of expense and this is followed by a decision to
turn down the variance. Although she doesn’t disagree with what the Planning Commission
did because they acted within the letter of the law, it was the process that was wrong.
Orinda City Council Minutes 6 January 4, 2000
Councilmember Wheatland stated that he does not believe the City created any problem
when it created the lot. It created a lot that would comfortably accommodate a home of
approximately 3,200-3,400 square feet. Many of the other homes in the neighborhood are
between 2,500 to 3,400 square feet—there are a lot of homes in that neighborhood that are
MOTION: By Councilmember Tabor, seconded by Councilmember Abrams, granting
the appeal and granting the variance. The motion passed by a vote of four ayes, one no.
Councilmember Wheatland dissenting.
I. POLICY MATTERS
I-1. Discussion of proposed Ivy Drive neighborhood traffic calming
Andrew Gaber, Acting Public Works Director, introduced Rob Rees, Traffic Engineer, Fehr
& Peers. Mr. Gaber stated that due to the location of the two schools and Ivy Drive being a
through street and used to by-pass congestion on Moraga Way, this area is unique from
other areas in Orinda. He stated that staff has talked to the Fire Department about some of
the improvements. Changes requested by the residents that they felt would alleviate some of
the traffic issues include the repainting of the center lines, the use of the dots for the center
lines, parking restrictions at the school and a No U-Turn sign.
Mr. Gaber stated that a letter from the School District was distributed before the meeting
tonight explaining its proposal to deal with some of the issues.
In response to a request by Mayor Hawkins, Mr. Gaber stated that staff held a community
meeting at OIS in September. He and Mr. Rees reviewed the suggestions generated at that
meeting and met in December with representatives of the neighborhood. The neighborhood
has seen the report and what the City is recommending.
Mr. Rees stated that in addition to the two schools that Mr. Gaber mentioned, activity to and
from Del Rey School also impacts Moraga Way and is another reason why people that are
trying to get to Miramonte High School use Ivy Drive. Mr. Rees further stated that the City
is faced with a difficult situation because there is a lot of anecdotal issues going on—a lot of
subjective issues. The Council will have to look beyond just the facts of what the traffic
volumes and speed studies have said.
Councilmember Abrams referred to Attachment B, “on a temporary basis, install a traffic
circle at Ivy Drive and Coral Drive and at Coral Drive and Eastwood”, and asked for
clarification on what “temporary basis” means in this case. Mr. Gaber replied that this
would involve installing large traffic dots and delineators first; observe it for six months and
query the neighborhood to see how they feel about it; conduct speed studies to see if it has
reduced speed in that area before spending money to make them permanent.
Orinda City Council Minutes 7 January 4, 2000
Councilmember Abrams asked if we would restrict parking at those intersections. Mr.
Gaber replied yes. She then asked if it would effect the property of people who front those
intersections. Mr. Gaber replied, “ other than parking, no; however, if we go to a full circle
design it will be necessary to widen the pavement and relocate curbs and gutters.”
Mayor Hawkins asked staff if they had considered putting dots or bumps in conjunction
with the narrowing of the lane so it forces people to slow down. Mr. Gaber stated that staff
is not proposing the type of dots that are on Hall Drive and Moraga Way. They are
proposing the use of orange reflectors instead of the yellow line.
Mayor Hawkins asked if staff would consider extending that for a longer distance in order to
narrow the driving width which would force motorists to slow down, and yet a fire truck
would not be effected by it.
Mr. Gaber replied that staff didn’t consider this because of the cost; the dots are two to three
times as expensive per linear foot as the striping.
The following speakers addressed the traffic problems on Ivy Drive and spoke in support
of stop signs at Ivy Drive and Descanso.
Keith Marks, 3 Descanso Drive; Anthony Huber; Linda Kennedy, corner of Ivy Drive
and Coral; Pete Williams, 237 Ivy Drive.
The following speakers addressed the traffic problems on Ivy Drive and spoke in support
of the City’s traffic calming measures: Vic Ryerson, 116 Ivy Drive; Karen Lum, 93
Coral Drive (distributed a letter from Georgiena Campbell, 92 Coral Drive, requesting
traffic calming measures in the neighborhood); Doreen Marr, 93 Coral Drive (requested
that the traffic calming measures be done at the same time); Rosemary Armstrong, 89
Coral Drive; Tim Silveira, 64 Ivy Drive; Sarge Littlehale, 4 Carolyn Court; Arthur Ross,
14 Ramona Drive.
The following speakers did not express support for a specific solution, but felt something
should be done: Rudy Ruppenstein, 204 Ivy Drive; Betty Murphy, 248 Ivy Drive;
Benjamin Buzzo, 27 Descanso Drive; Nancy Chenoweth, 192 Ivy Drive.
Other comments made by the speakers included the need for continued police
enforcement; because the problem is only during school hours traffic circles could be a
detriment; the center line should be reinstalled; increase the speed limit violation fine and
post the cost of the fine with speed limit sign; assign a police officer over peak traffic
time; at peak hours, post a movable no-thru-street sign or small movable barrier in the
middle of Ivy Drive; work with Miramonte High School staff to develop a transportation
management plan to include bussing or a shuttle; develop a central Orinda park-and-ride-
lot; encourage a school ecology project to foster alternatives to the auto; encourage an
adequate, user-friendly drop-off and pickup site on Miramonte campus; explore the
possibility of a north access to Miramonte; get the School District involved; consider a no
left turn from Moraga Way onto Ivy Drive between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., residents
Orinda City Council Minutes 8 January 4, 2000
excepted; a no left turn to southbound traffic prohibiting the taking of the short cut and
installing a right hand turn at El Camino Moraga.
Marcus Hibser, Marcus Tamm & Associates, addressed the letter from Ed Silvas,
Facilities Director, OUSD, and stated that the School Board has not seen the letter nor
have they reviewed any of the plans that have been developed because this is still in the
preliminary stage. He spoke on some of the mitigation measures that the school has
taken which have had limited success. He stated that the School District is meeting with
the community to determine what the issues are. Two major issues that have been
identified are traffic, and parking caused by both school bus and parent parking on Ivy
Drive. The key elements of the plan are: the new traffic circle layout in the campus
entrance provides additional drop off/pick-up area for parents; increased curb area will
allow more cars to back up within the campus, relieving some of the congestion on Ivy
Drive; the revised circle also includes a double loading area, which should increase the
speed of the morning commute, thereby lessening the time that cars are in the area; a road
through the campus running north to south has been added with adjacent parking; the
road will be for busses only and will keep all busses off the street during loading and
unloading, thus eliminating the associated backup.
Councilmember Abrams asked if the lane that would go from the upper field to the circle
is adjacent to the creek and behind the homes and therefore the homes would have the
traffic in front and the busses behind. Mr. Hibser replied yes, this is the District’s
proposed solution. Issues that need to be further addressed are the costs; a lot of the
playfield will be eliminated by the new roadway; the proximity of the creek and the
environmental impact it will have on the creek.
Councilmember Wheatland asked if the School District has personnel that helps monitor
the pick up and delivery of students either from within the circle or on the street. Mr.
Hibser replied that there are three separate monitors for the traffic; one person in the
circle, one at Coral Drive, and one where the busses drop off at the upper field.
Mayor Pro Tem Worth stated that the change in the State Vehicle Code requires all traffic
to stop in both directions for a school bus. She asked for clarification as to whether what
is outlined in the letter was still in the study stage. Mr. Hibser stated yes. He went on to
report that only four or five community members were able to attend the initial meeting.
As a result of the meeting, they made an appointment to meet with City staff.
Mayor Hawkins referred to the time frame for the proposals, noting that there is only so
much the City can do on the streets, and a lot will have to be done on the campus. It is
important that the community is aware.
Nancy Kaible, Boardmember, OUSD, stated that plans for construction at the site are
very preliminary. The on-going construction at the school site has added to the traffic
problem on Ivy Drive. Financial constraints hinder progress on some of the solutions;
i.e., program needs. They will try everything they can, and that they can afford, to
mitigate this problem.
Orinda City Council Minutes 9 January 4, 2000
Mayor Hawkins requested that the City’s list be transmitted to the School District so
those citizens can be notified of the future hearings of the School Board.
Councilmember Wheatland stated that he believes the School District needs to be much
more active in promoting the school bus program—particularly during the first few
weeks of school, and suggested more active communication between the parents and the
Sue Severson, Boardmember, OUSD, addressed the Council from the audience; her
comments were not audible on the tape.
Mr. Rees addressed the issue of stop signs stating that a study was done by City staff at
the Overhill Road/Tara Road intersection when stop signs were installed at that location.
Right after the stop signs were installed, the stop sign compliance by drivers was
reasonable—between 12 and 40 percent of the drivers did not stop—depending on the
approach; 60 percent to 88 percent of the drivers did stop. Later, between 35 and 47
percent of the drivers did not stop; the stop sign compliance reduced. Mr. Rees stated
drivers not stopping at the intersection at Risa Court and Ivy Drive was a concern
expressed by the residents at the September meeting. In the last four to five years there
have been two pedestrian/auto related accidents at that location. Mr. Rees stated that it is
his opinion that those occurred because a driver was inattentive. He stated that that is
why he prefers to only install stop signs when they are warranted—when there is a
significant traffic control need.
Councilmember Abrams referred to the stop sign at Overhill and Tara and stated that
there was considerable debate amongst the Councilmembers before the stop signs were
installed as to whether the stop signs were warranted and whether they would be ignored.
She asked if staff had reviewed the stop sign that was installed at Glorietta School to see
how effective that has been. Mr. Rees replied that staff has not done any studies to see
what the compliance rate is. Councilmember Abrams suggested reviewing this.
Mayor Hawkins stated that another issue that should be reviewed is “has the speed of
traffic slowed down as the result of the stop signs.” Mr. Rees stated that there was a
speed study done on Overhill that showed the speeds did not change appreciably.
Mayor Hawkins questioned the suggestion of a “center lane.” Mr. Rees stated that this
was discussed last fall. There is a way of striping lanes to look narrower by bringing in
the outside lanes to make the area narrower for the driver. Mr. Rees stated that this is all
subjective and is based on what the residents feel is appropriate for their community.
There is not one answer.
Mayor Pro Tem Worth referred to comments of the speakers concerning changes on
Moraga Way over the years and asked if increasing the waiting time coming out of Ivy
Drive and providing a way that traffic can exit the Miramonte High School side of Ivy
Drive had been considered..
Orinda City Council Minutes 10 January 4, 2000
Mr. Rees stated that some benefit can be derived by adjusting signal timing. Although
when he has been at the site, the signal timing seemed to be working reasonably well.
The primary problem is the vehicles coming down Moraga Way, making a right turn onto
Ivy Drive to go to Miramonte High School and conflicting with the pedestrians and the
bicycles that are also at that location. Whether or not the signal timing is adjusted, you
will still get the conflict which reduces the ability for drivers to make the right turn. He
further stated that this is independent of whether or not there is a right turn lane because
the area is wide enough for vehicles to get around anyone stopped in the through lane.
Mr. Rees stated that a possible solution has been addressed to provide a northern access
from Moraga Way to Miramonte High School. This was also mentioned in the meeting
that was held in the fall. Independent of the cost, this is the best opportunity to eliminate
the congestion at least at Moraga Way and Ivy Drive; this solution requires a bridge.
Councilmember Abrams asked Mr. Gaber his opinion of a stop sign at Descanso and Ivy
Drive. Mr. Gaber replied that a dotted center line could be installed; the problem with the
stop sign would be the high speeds approaching it which would create a compliance
Councilmember Abrams asked if there was any way to change the signal so the students
who are waiting at the south end of Ivy Drive to enter Miramonte High School have to wait
longer in order to facilitate the traffic leaving Miramonte in the morning. Mr. Rees replied
if the green time is reduced for that movement to five seconds and a pedestrian pushed the
button to cross Moraga Way, the pedestrian crossing would have to be 25-30 seconds;
during that time there would have to be an all pedestrian phase in order to prohibit the
vehicle traffic from crossing Moraga Way during those times.
Mayor Hawkins suggested prohibiting the pedestrian from crossing on the north side of the
intersection, only permit them on the south side, force a red light on Ivy Drive, and an arrow
into Miramonte High School while the pedestrians were crossing. Mr. Rees stated that this
would be a solution. Mr. Rees stated that the signal could be timed so that it gives only a
minimal amount of green time exiting during certain hours of the day—a period of five
seconds which would allow one car to cross per cycle. He went on to say that any resident
coming out of Ivy Drive and wanting to turn left or go straight will have a problem. Mr.
Rees further stated that the reason the left turn from Moraga Way onto Ivy Drive at the north
end was disregarded was because the turn restriction would apply to the employees of OIS
which means they would turn onto Coral and use Coral to access OIS. They disregarded
that because of a desire to not shift a problem from one location to another.
Mayor Hawkins asked if we can increase the fine for speeding. Police Chief Dan Lawrence
replied, “yes”, and explained further.
Mayor Hawkins asked if staff had looked at the walking light on the street to Del Rey
School. Mr. Rees stated that staff did not consider this. He stated that the reason it is an “all
Orinda City Council Minutes 11 January 4, 2000
walk” is because it is located near a school. He stated that in his opinion, not having an “all
walk” phase is acceptable. It would make the intersection operate better.
Councilmember Wheatland stated that he strongly supports all eight of the proposed Ivy
Drive traffic calming improvements. He suggested going forward with the list of
improvements as an experiment and ask staff to come back as soon as possible for a time
line for implementation.
Councilmember Abrams stated that she supports going forward with the eight proposals on
a trial basis. She stated that the traffic circles at Hall Drive were installed because of the
eventual cost and expense in reconfiguring the intersection to accommodate stop signs. She
asked how we came to use traffic circles instead of stop signs.
Mr. Gaber explained that the community is complaining as much about the traffic in the
afternoon and on weekends as they are about the speeding traffic in the morning. By
installing circles, the speeding is enforced all the time.
Councilmember Tabor stated that he concurs with Councilmember Wheatland. By
implementing all of the eight proposals we have a short term solution in place. He would
like to see all of them implemented. This will give us short term relief while we work on a
Mayor Hawkins suggested installing the traffic circle at Ivy Drive and Coral and installing
the stop sign at Coral and Eastwood and Descanso, and at Ardith at Coral.
Councilmember Wheatland stated that he did not support the stop sign at Tara because he
felt it put pedestrians at risk; and he cannot support stop signs for this area. He would like
to look at options other than stop signs.
Mayor Pro Tem Worth supported proceeding with the proposed list.
A member of the audience suggested eliminating No. 6, “Install No-U turn signs at
intersections: Risa Court, Descanso Drive.” Mr. Rees stated that it will work as long as
there is an officer there.
After some discussion, Councilmembers agreed not to eliminate No. 6; all Councilmembers
unanimously agree to accept the following Proposed Ivy Drive Traffic Calming
Improvements: Repaint centerlines in curves; install centerline dots on Ivy Drive from
Arroyo Drive to Moraga Way; install centerline dots on Ivy Drive at intersection with
Ardith Drive; install centerline dots on Ivy Drive at intersection with Descanso Drive; install
stop legends on Ardith Drive at Ivy Drive; install no-u turn signs at intersections of Risa
Court, Descanso Drive; install stop signs and legends on Ardith Drive at Coral Drive; install
centerline dots on Coral Drive, both sides of Ardith Drive intersection. They unanimously
agreed to try on a trial basis restricted parking on Ivy Drive at the school and along Fiesta.
Restrictions will be from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on school days; and on a temporary basis construct a
traffic circle at Ivy Drive and Coral. Construct a traffic circle at Coral and Eastwood.
Orinda City Council Minutes 12 January 4, 2000
Councilmember Tabor recommended installing a stop sign at this intersection. This
recommendation was approved by four Councilmembers, Councilmember Wheatland
A stop sign at Descanso was suggested. Mr. Rees stated that the problem with that location
is that it is around a corner and we may likely have the same type of accident problem that
Ivy Drive and Risa have. Councilmembers agreed not to install the stop sign at this location
at this time.
Mayor Hawkins suggested expanding the dots in the center and the striping on the side to
narrow the roadway on Ivy Drive. Mr. Rees stated that the striping contractor striped a
section of road that is 20 feet wide from the edge stripe to the edge stripe, which is
essentially two ten-foot lanes. He went on to say that if a center line is going to be installed
he would not recommend going less than 10 feet per lane. Mayor Hawkins then asked how
much it would cost to extend the center lane further and install more dots. Mr. Gaber stated
that the traffic dots would add another $7,000.
The suggestion of a double yellow line which would cost about $2,000 to $3,000 was
discussed and it was agreed to bring this back at a later date.
Mayor Hawkins suggested exploring the suggestion of the light on Ivy Drive and Moraga
Way and cutting back the crossing time from Ivy Drive over to the school; force the
crosswalk on the south side of the street and create a right turn arrow at the red.
Mayor Hawkins also recommended reviewing increasing the fine; asked staff to send the
mailing list to OUSD and asked the School Board members to consider having two school
Councilmember Abrams asked that we communicate with Acalanes School District.
Mayor Pro Tem Worth stated that marketing the bus program as well as the County
Connection to OIS students should be a priority.
Police Chief Dan Lawrence updated the council on the enforcement efforts stating that the
program the Department initiated in November and December more than doubled the
number of tickets.
Mayor Hawkins stated that we all need to work together to resolve this problem.
J. PUBLIC FORUM (Non-Agenda Items Only)
Peter Muller, 7 Bel Air Drive, was unable to stay but left the following remarks which were
ready by Mayor Hawkins: requested Public Forum be moved to the beginning of the
meeting (Mayor Hawkins stated that this will be discussed at a meeting in February); better
Orinda City Council Minutes 13 January 4, 2000
improve school zone identification (repainting crosswalks, pavement lettering, etc., with
fluorescent, reflective green/yellow); illuminate the community bulletin board at Camino
Pablo for more visible night use; ask Rite Aid to remove the cigarette advertising sign.
K. CONSENT CALENDAR
MOTION: By Mayor Pro Tem Worth, seconded by Councilmember Wheatland
approving the Consent Calendar. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote. By
adoption of the Consent Calendar, the following action was taken:
K-1. Approved payroll warrants #21764 to #21814, regular warrants #39956
to #39967, and #888 to #945.
L. COMMUNICATIONS (None)
M. CITY COUNCIL REPORTS
M-1. Caldecott Tunnel Committee report – Councilmember Laura Abrams.
Councilmember Abrams reported that she presented the Council’s comments at the
Caldecott Tunnel Committee meeting. She stated that other city’s have asked MTC staff to
make a presentation at their meetings. She asked if Council was interested in having MTC
staff make a presentation at our meeting.
Councilmembers indicated that it was not necessary for MTC staff to make a presentation at
Councilmember Abrams further reported that she asked staff to put the Council’s comments
into written form for MTC staff.
M-2. Councilmembers' announcements or brief reports on his/her activities.
Councilmember Wheatland reported that he was asked by Council to participate on the
screening committee for the Planning Commission interviews. He will not be available to
do this. Councilmember Abrams volunteered to take Councilmember Wheatland’s place on
the interview subcommittee for Planning Commission applicants.
The meeting recessed at 10:32 p.m. to a closed session continued from the 6 p.m.
session, Conference with the City Manager and City Attorney concerning negotiations with
Orinda Employee Association employees regarding salaries and fringe benefits pursuant to
Government code Section 54957.6(a). The closed session ended and the regular meeting
reconvened at 11:10 p.m.
Orinda City Council Minutes 14 January 4, 2000
The meeting adjourned at 11:11 p.m. to a regular meeting of the Orinda City Council to be
held on January 18, 2000.
MARY R. ELLSWORTH, CITY CLERK
JOYCE HAWKINS, MAYOR
Orinda City Council Minutes 15 January 4, 2000