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Snapshot — Building Code Updates, Economic Development Strategic Plan, Events and More!

Posted on November 18, 2022

Snapshot en Español


Spotlight Photo


West End San Rafael at Sunset

Photo Credit: Lidia Que, City Manager’s Office

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Joan Herriges for being the first to answer our latest Snapshot Quiz. The art, Regeneration, is located at Arbor park, on the corner of Las Gallinas Avenue and Manuel T. Freitas Parkway. Be sure to check it out the next time you are in Terra Linda! Congrats Joan, and thanks for reading Snapshot. Scroll down to see this edition’s quiz and be the first to answer!

San Rafael City News

Triennial Building Code Ordinance

At the November 21st, 2022, Council meeting, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the adoption of the 2022 edition of the California Building Code. The State of California Title 24 construction codes are typically updated and published on a three-year cycle and cities have 180 days after the publication date to implement. This is done to foster uniformity in fire prevention, life/safety, and construction standards statewide. Local jurisdictions are permitted to further amend the published codes based on and to suit local climatic, geological, or topographical conditions. To learn more about the proposed building code updates, read the staff report here.

Green Building “Reach” Codes

At the November 21st, 2022, Council meeting, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the adoption of certain green building codes. Every three years, codes are updated at the State level and local jurisdictions are allowed and encouraged to adopt more stringent “reach codes” to help drive future State code updates. In 2019, the City Council adopted the 2030 Climate Change Action Plan which set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. Given these goals, staff is proposing that the City Council adopt several amendments to Title 12 of the Municipal Code, including changes to new construction and existing buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep San Rafael on track to meet its reduction goals. You can read more about the proposed amendments in the staff report here.

Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Audit Reports

On Monday night, November 21st, Finance staff will bring the draft Audit Report results, along with other required communications, to the City Council for review and finalization for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022.  The City posted another year of positive results with General Fund revenues exceeding expenditures by $16.9 million, mainly due to the receipt of $16.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Read more about the audit results in the staff report here.

Provide Your Input for San Rafael’s Economic Development Strategic Plan!

The City of San Rafael has retained Kosmont Companies to prepare an Economic Development Strategic Plan to make recommendations designed to enhance the City’s economic growth. Kosmont’s approach will focus on both city-wide economic resiliencies, as well as the economic vitality of key areas of the City, such as Downtown, the Canal neighborhood, Northgate Mall / North San Rafael, and the Francisco Boulevard commercial corridor.

This survey provides community members and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide vital feedback that will help plan for San Rafael’s future. The survey will be open until December 9th, 2022.

Note: Individual responses will be kept confidential. Survey responses will be aggregated and incorporated into the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Leaf Blower Ordinance

On July 18, 2022, the City Council passed an ordinance to regulate the operation of gas-powered leaf blowers within city limits. Resident concerns varied from noise to environmental pollution caused by gas-powered leaf blowers.

As of October 1st, 2022, the following regulations apply to the operation of leaf blowers within city limits:

  1. Hours of operation:
    Property type Monday to Friday Weekends and Holidays 
    Residential 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Non-residential 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  2. Blowing of debris: No person may deposit dirt, dust, leaves, grass clippings, trimmings, green waste, solid waste, or debris onto a neighboring property or into streets, gutters, or storm drains within city limits.
  3. Prohibition of gas-powered leaf blowers: It is unlawful for any person to operate or authorize, permit, or direct another who engages in the operation of any gas-powered leaf blower within city limits.

More information on the City’s leaf blower ordinance can be found here.

Third Street Improvements   

During this week (November 14 – 18):

  • Crews continued forming and placing rebar for the stairs and west end of the retaining wall.
  • Crews continued forming and pouring sidewalk, curb, and gutter along the retaining wall.
  • Crews will remove sections of pavement and median islands to construct bike lane separator islands. This work will require a lane closure and no parking on eastbound Second Street from Marquard Ave. to East Street. Also, West End Ave. will be blocked at Marquard Ave., and a detour will be erected to direct traffic accordingly.
  • Crews will pull wire and set boxes for streetlights and signal lights at the intersection of Second & Fourth, Second & East, and Second & G Streets. This work will require a lane closure on westbound Second Street.
  • Crews will install splice boxes for new fiber optic cable on Third Street from C Street to Shaver. This work will require lane closure and no curb parking.
  • Crews will make repairs to sanitary sewer on Third St. between E Street and D Street. This work will require a closure of the center lane on Third Street.

The daytime hours of work will be from 6 am to 6 pm, with lane closures from 6 am to 3 pm on Third Street and Second Street westbound. Lane closures will also be in effect from 9 am to 6 pm on Second Street eastbound.


COVID-19 Updates

As we continue to enjoy the time and company of friends and loved ones during the holiday season, it is important to remember that the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 during gatherings remains high. Please remain diligent against the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, masking, and testing whenever possible.

According to the Marin County Department of Public Health, as of November 10th, Marin County has 151 “Active Cases” (cases confirmed in the previous 10 days) bringing the total confirmed cumulative cases to 42,345 since March 2020. These numbers continue to highlight the remaining threat of COVID-19 in our communities, and the need for all community members to remain diligent in their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Please follow the links below regarding the appropriate steps to follow if:  

COVID-19 booster shots and vaccination appointments continue to be offered at all Marin vaccine clinics. If you need transportation assistance to get vaccinated, please visit the following links about Lyft’s Vaccine Access Program and GoGoGrandparent. As always, if you are experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms, please get tested as soon as possible, even if you are fully vaccinated.

TALES OF THE CITY— Día de los Muertos

Set tp

Left to right:  Walter Gonzalez, Lidia Que

Staff from the City Manager’s office enjoyed setting up the City’s altar for the 34th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration. The event included a community procession along with a display of altars honoring deceased friends and family members at the Albert J. Boro Community Center. It was a fantastic event with great music, dancing, and cultural activities.

At the Last Council Meeting on November 14th, 2022

Beginning with the April 18th City Council meeting, the City Council has returned to in-person meetings combined with a virtual real-time public comment on agenda items.

At the November 14th, Special City Council Study Session Meeting, the Council:

  • Held special study session on: Green Building Reach Codes

At the November 14th, Regular City Council Meeting, the Council:

  • Held open time for public expression
  • Heard City Manager and Councilmember reports
  • Approved consent calendar items
  • Heard a special presentation of a proclamation supporting United Against Hate Week
  • Heard a special presentation of a proclamation given to Stacey Laumann for her service on the Park & Recreation Commission
  • Adopted ordinance for the Triannual Fire Code amendments
  • Accepted report on US 101/I-580 Multimodal and Local Access Improvement Project
  • Passed a resolution setting standards for the San Rafael cannabis industry tax rate
  • Passed a resolution updating the unrepresented executive management salary schedule

City Council meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month. City Council meetings that fall on a holiday are rescheduled for the following Tuesday.


Eyes Up, Marin

Let’s Make our Streets Safer for Everyone! From mid-October through the end of November, you’ll see bright and colorful banners and lawn signs popping up all over Marin asking people to keep their “Eyes Up” and be alert.  These signs will be asking drivers to slow down, watch when turning, and look for pedestrians in the crosswalk; bicyclists to yield to pedestrians and to follow the rules of the road; and pedestrians to pay attention when crossing the street.

Chipper Days

The MWPA Chipper Day program is proud to announce that it will be offering additional Chipper Days to Marin County residents this fall. The additional Chipper Days will begin on Monday, October 31st and run through the end of November.

As always, reservations are required to participate, and all the normal rules and guidelines apply. To find your Chipper Day event and make a reservation, click here.

International Suicide Loss Survivor Day

Saturday, November 19th, 1:00pm-3:00 pm. Terra Linda High School, Innovation Hub

If You’ve Lost Someone to Suicide, You Are Not Alone. International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience. Please register in advance.

Downtown San Rafael’s Parade of Lights & Winterwonderland

Saturday, November 26th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm (Parade at 5:30pm)

This two-block event will have a Makers Marketplace, Snow Cones, Winter Costume Characters, Live Music, Food Trucks, a Jumpy, Face painting, a Juggler, a Toy Drive, and Balloon animals! Throughout Downtown San Rafael, there will be an Elf Hunt, Shop Small Saturday merchant treats and discounts, and a Window Decorating Contest!

At 5:30, Fourth Street will light up with decorated classic cars cruising up and down our Downtown from H Street to Lincoln Ave. Click Here for additional details.

San Rafael Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 17th, 6:00pm-8:00pm

San Rafael’s annual holiday lighted boat parade is one of the biggest in the country. It’s been a Marin County tradition since 1966! The parade can be enjoyed from most areas along the San Rafael Canal. Good viewing areas include behind Montecito Plaza, at Beach Park, the San Rafael Yacht Club, or Pickleweed Park.

Downtown San Rafael’s Menorah Lighting & Gelt Drop

Sunday, December 18th, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Join Chabad of Marin and the City of San Rafael as we celebrate the first night of Chanukah on Sunday, December 18th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm in the Downtown San Rafael Plaza, 1000 Fourth Street. There will be music, dancing, Giant Menorah lighting, hot chocolate, chocolate gelt drop, and so much more.

City Hall

Reminder, City administrative offices and facilities will be closed from Friday, December 23rd through Monday, January 2nd. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd. Police, fire, and paramedic services will be fully staffed with 9-1-1 emergency service continuing to dispatch calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Public Works and Sanitation District crews will be staffed and monitoring emergency maintenance requests.


What year was the Boyd Gate House built?

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