Updates to City Hall Hours on Fridays in July and August 


Snapshot –Commercial Linkage Fees, Nominations for 2024 Public Service Award, Events and More!!!

Posted on December 1, 2023

Snapshot en Español


Spotlight Photo

Youth in Arts, United Against Hate Week poster project on display in the San Rafael Plaza

Photo Credit: Bernadette Sullivan, City Manager’s Office

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Tom Obletz! They were the first to answer our Snapshot quiz. The first lighted boat parade took place in 1966 and the event will be celebrating 57 years of holiday fun on Saturday, December 16th at 6:00 p.m. Thanks for reading Snapshot! Scroll down to see this edition’s quiz and be the first to answer.

San Rafael City News

At the next City Council Meeting, Monday, December 4th, 2023

The following will be presented at the upcoming City Council meeting on Monday, December 4th, at 7:00 p.m.

Downtown Business Improvement District Assessment and Annual Report

Monday’s City Council meeting will feature a report on San Rafael’s Business Improvement District (BID), as mandated by California law. The BID, initiated in 1979 in Downtown San Rafael, originally encompassed around 125 businesses on Fourth Street. Expanded in 2013, it now includes approximately 700 businesses, covering the West End and surrounding areas. Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the BID has made strides in revitalizing downtown, as detailed in its annual report. These efforts include promoting foot traffic, sponsoring events, and leveraging digital marketing. Looking ahead to 2024, the BID, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and the City, plans to explore a new property-based Business Improvement District, focusing on defining its boundaries, services, and conducting a feasibility study with a technical consultant.

Staff Report

Commercial Linkage Fees Update

The City Council will consider the adoption of an ordinance amending San Rafael’s Affordable Housing Requirement for new commercial development. The City commissioned a commercial linkage fee nexus study to better understand the relationship between new commercial development and the need for affordable housing created by an increased workforce. The proposed ordinance would adopt the updated commercial linkage fees that are aligned with the study’s findings.  It also includes the adoption of a project list outlining how the collected commercial linkage fees would be used in support of affordable housing initiatives.

Staff Report

Other News

City Council Meeting New Start Time – 6:00 p.m. beginning in January

Starting in January, City Council meetings will now begin at 6:00 p.m. This new schedule is part of our ongoing commitment to increase civic participation. By shifting the meeting time earlier, we aim to eliminate the need for community members to remain at City Hall into the later hours of the evening. Please note that the first meeting of the New Year will take place on Tuesday, January 16th at 6:00 p.m.

San Rafael – San Anselmo Fuel Reduction Zone Project

After years of planning, environmental compliance, and community outreach, we are pleased to announce that the MWPA Board of Directors approved the San Rafael – San Anselmo Fuel Reduction Zone Project with a unanimous vote on November 16th, 2023. This multi-agency project will reduce wildfire risk by reducing dense unmaintained eucalyptus trees and removing vegetation that can serve as a “fire ladder” within a 145-acre area in western San Rafael and San Anselmo. To learn more about this important project, and to stay informed about upcoming public meetings, field trips, and implementation steps, please visit Marinwildfire.org.

Nominations for the 2024 Public Service Award

In 2001, J. Michael Maloney, a Marin resident, established an endowment with the Marin Community Foundation in honor of former San Rafael Planning Commissioner Dick O’Brien to fund an annual award to recognize an outstanding community member, the Public Service Award. The intent of this award is to recognize a San Rafael community member who has made exceptional contributions to the City. In addition to a $2,500 cash award from the Marin Community Foundation, the annual recipient is recognized at a City Council meeting and at the annual State of the City dinner.

Do you know someone who you think should be recognized with the Public Service Award? Review the eligibility criteria and complete a nomination form on our website by January 12, 2024.

NOMINATE SOMEONE: https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/public-service-award/

High Tides Expected

San Rafael is expecting high tides over the month of December. Everywhere shown in light blue on the map below is lower than high tides. Some places are as much as two to six feet lower than the bay during high tides.

This is a great time to remember to clean your drains, dispose of yard waste, and protect your property with sandbags or other structures from flooding! Sand and sandbags are available at the following locations: Terra Linda Community Center-670 Del Ganado Road, Upper City Hall Parking Lot- 1400 Fifth Avenue, Peacock Gap Park- 699 Biscayne Dr. Parking Lot. To learn about how to prepare for flooding visit the City’s webpage. To learn more about sea level rise visit our webpage on adaptation.

Map of areas lower than high tide (shown in light blue) Source: Bionic

Marin COVID Level Rises

While COVID transmission continues to rise in Marin, less than 20% of our community has received the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The holiday season typically leads to more gatherings that can fuel transmission. Marin County Public Health is reminding all residents that the single most important measure to prevent serious illness and disruptions to school, work, and holiday plans is to get yourself vaccinated.

Three hours of Free Holiday Parking in City-owned Lots & Garages

Park stress-free while you shop and dine in downtown San Rafael this holiday season! Now through January 3rd, enjoy three hours of free parking at all City-owned parking lots and garages. On-street parking meters still require payment from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Parking in downtown is always free every Sunday.

Donate Toys through San Rafael Santa Cop this Holiday Season

The Santa Cop program unites employees from all City departments and the community to collect toys and donations for San Rafael children and families in need. You can drop off your donations at the following locations through January 2nd, 2024.

Drop-off locations:

  • San Rafael City Hall: 1400 Fifth Ave. San Rafael, CA 94901
  • San Rafael Public Safety Center/Fire Station 51: 1375 Fifth Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901
  • Fire Station 52: 52 Union St, San Rafael, CA 94901
  • Fire Station 55: 955 Point San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94901
  • Fire Station 56: 650 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903
  • Fire Station 57: 3530 Civic Center Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903
  • Marinwood Fire Station 58: 777 Miller Creek Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

To learn more about the San Rafael Santa Cop program or to donate, please visit sanrafaelsantacop.org.

2024 Business License Renewal

The City is in the process of distributing business license renewal notices to all businesses with active licenses expiring December 31st, 2023.  Each license renewal is due by February 15th, 2024.  The City accepts cash, checks, money orders, and most major credit cards.  Licenses may be renewed online via credit card or through eCheck. If you have questions about business licenses, please contact the Business License Tax Division at (415) 485-3051 or  BLRenewal@cityofsanrafael.org.

Marin County Participatory Budgeting

The County of Marin is empowering community members through the Participatory Budgeting (PB), allocating $2.5 million for public projects. Through this program, community members propose ideas and develop them into potential projects with costs between 10,000 and $250,000. The community is invited to vote on which projects get funded. Several project submissions came from San Rafael residents and community-based organizations to bring projects to our community.

Both online and in-person voting options are available to community members and open until December 29th. You can vote and learn more about the Marin County Participatory Budgeting Project here.

Third Street Improvements

THIS WEEK:  November 27 – December 1

  • Construction crews continued planting new street trees on Second Street and Third Street.
  • Crews activated pedestrian lights along Second
  • Crews worked in the median island on Second Street between G Street and East Street.
  • Crews completed the lane striping and pavement markers.
  • Crews paved around manhole covers on Union Street, Irwin Street, and Tamalpais Avenue.

NEXT WEEK:   December 4 – December 8

  • Crews will activate new traffic signals at Third Street and Brooks Street and at Second Street and Fourth Street.


  • Traffic Controls (temporary signs, message boards, traffic cones, delineators and detour signs) will be put in place to direct motorists through the work area.
  • Street parking spaces will be marked “No Parking.” Please move your vehicles overnight.

The daytime hours of work will be from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with lane closures from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Third Street and Second Street westbound. Lane closures will also be in effect from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Second Street eastbound.

TALES OF THE CITY- San Rafael’s 35th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration

On November 4th, the City of San Rafael hosted the 35th annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Albert J. Boro Community Center in the Canal neighborhood. The event featured twenty-five altars, family art workshops, face painting, and musical entertainment by Pan Rafael, Tres de Guanajuato, ELM, a DJ, and the dance group Area Agresiva. Storytelling was provided by Canta con Arle, with cultural performances by Danza Azteca Mixcoatl and Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl. The San Rafael Police and Fire Departments assisted in leading a walking procession through the Canal neighborhood, including the newly paved Larkspur Street. The event was a collaborative effort between the Library and Recreation Department, Multicultural Center of Marin, and a committee of passionate individuals, supported by various nonprofits and businesses.

(Photo credit: Pro Bono Photo- Photographers Rachel Podlishevsky, Mishaa DeGraw and Steve Ziman)

LAST CITY COUNCIL MEETING on November 20th, 2023

At the November 20th, City Council meeting, the City Council:

  • Held a closed session conference with legal counsel.
  • Heard City Manager and Councilmember reports.
  • Approved the consent calendar.
  • Heard and accepted the 2022-23 Year-End Audit and Fiscal reports.
  • Held open time for public expression.

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.


Explore, Learn, and Connect at the San Rafael Library and Recreation!

Join the San Rafael’s Library & Recreation Department for opportunities to discover, learn, and play! For more information, please visit our Library’s online calendar and check out the Recreation Quarterly Activity Guide. We look forward to welcoming you to our programs!

Downtown Mulching Project

Friday, December 1st, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901

The City of San Rafael, in partnership with the Business Improvement District (BID), is excited to invite the community to a mulching event downtown on Friday, December 1st. This day of community service not only beautifies planting areas and suppresses weeds but also supports ecological health by reducing herbicide use, enhancing water retention, and boosting soil vitality. This event is a call to action for passionate volunteers aged 16 and above. The event will proceed in light rain, but heavier rain will lead to cancellation with notifications sent to all registrants. To join us and receive location details, please sign up with this Registration Form.

San Rafael Fire Foundation Crab Feed

Saturday, December 9th, 2023, 5:00 p.m., 618 B St, San Rafael, CA 94901

The San Rafael Fire Foundation is hosting its annual crab feed and silent auction event on December 9th, 2023, at the B Street Community Center in San Rafael. This gathering is a prime opportunity to support the dedicated women and men of our San Rafael Fire Department. For $100, attendees can enjoy an all-you-can-eat fresh Dungeness crab feast. You can also book a table for up to 10 people for $1,000. To register, visit www.srfirefoundation.org. Alternatively, you can register via mail by sending a check payable to the San Rafael Fire Foundation to 369B Third Street #257, San Rafael, CA 94901.

Celebrate Chanukah – Giant Menorah Lighting & Gelt Drop

Sunday, December 10th, 2023, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Downtown San Rafael Plaza, 1000 Fourth Street

Join Chabad of Marin and the City of San Rafael as we celebrate the first Sunday night of Chanukah on December 10th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm in the downtown San Rafael Plaza, 1000 4th Street. There will be music, dancing, giant menorah lighting, treats, chocolate gelt drop, and so much more!

Lighted Boat Parade 2023

Saturday, December 16th, 2023, 6:00 p.m., Various locations around San Rafael Canal (see below)

Boats decorated with lights, banners, and other festive regalia will sail across the San Rafael Canal in a marine parade that is not to be missed. Come witness the star-studded boat parade and cheer for your favorite design at the iconic Lighted Boat Parade 2023!

Suggested viewing areas include behind the Montecito Shopping Center, Point San Pedro Road and Third St., Yacht Club Drive, or Pickleweed Park.

For more information or to register a boat to participate, please call: (415) 453-9366.

City Hall End-of-Year Closure

Reminder, City administrative offices and facilities will be closed from Monday, December 25th through Monday, January 1st, 2024. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 2nd.  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.


The San Rafael Plaza, located at 1000 Fourth St., was previously home to what department store?

Be the first to respond!

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