In response to community concerns about noise the San Rafael and Novato City Councils have established a Quiet Zone effective immediately. The train horn will not blow at railroad crossings.

Project Background

On November 5, 2013, Measure E was passed by the voters of San Rafael extending for 20 years an existing 0.5% sales tax and adding 0.25% (25 cents on a $100 purchase).  On February 3, 2014, the San Rafael City Council directed staff to set aside the revenues from the added quarter percent to begin to address our aging essential facilities, including making critical improvements to our public safety facilities in San Rafael.

Numerous significant activities have taken place in the ensuing months, facilitated by the City Council’s “Facilities Subcommittee” made up of Mayor Phillips and Councilmember McCullough.  The City Council has met in public meetings on five separate dates and the Facilities Subcommittee has also met several times.  The type of work taking place has fallen into the general categories of:  financial and bond issuance preparation, city budget direction, program study, and preparation for focused resident participation through the creation of an Oversight Committee.

Measure E became effective on April 1, 2014.  Through the City Council’s adoption of the annual budget on June 16, 2014, the 0.25% is now officially set aside to go towards public safety facility improvements.  In October, 2014, the City Council appointed a community Measure E Oversight Committee to ensure that all Measure E funds are spent on permissible uses.

In October 2014, the City issued two Requests for Proposals (RFP) and hired Mary McGrath Architects for an Essential Facilities Strategic Plan and Kitchell CEM for project management and pre-construction services.  The Strategic Plan will update the 2003 facility condition assessments, develop space needs of essential facilities, feasibility studies of improving existing or new public safety facilities, developing project budgets and funding plan, prioritizing projects, and developing a phasing and implementation schedule.

On July 20, 2015 the City Council approved a strategic plan for essential public safety facilities in San Rafael. The plan recommends seven projects including a new public safety center across from City Hall that will house both the police and fire departments. In addition, the plan recommends upgrades to the other fire stations for seismic safety and operational improvements.

On September 21, 2015 the City Council approved the award of Professional Services contracts to the project and construction management firm Kitchell CEM, Inc. (staff report), of Sacramento and the architectural firm of Mary McGrath Architects (staff report), of Oakland. Both groups worked with the City in developing the Essential Services Strategic Plan that was approved by the City Council in June 2015. Phase 1 includes a new Public Safety Center (combined police and fire station) and replacement of Fire Stations 52 and 57.

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