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The City of San Rafael celebrates Pride Month

Snapshot – General Plan, Redistricting, Public Art, & More

Posted on July 15, 2021

Library Team Elimates Fees

Last week, the City Council approved the elimination of daily fines for patrons, and the elimination of the library card replacement fee! These changes to fines and fees will eliminate barriers and improve equity of access for all San Rafael residents. Happy reading! 

Photo Credit:  Henry Bankhead, Assistant Library and Recreation Director 

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Sara Sonnet for being the first to correctly respond with the location that our mystery photo was taken from in the last Snapshot Quiz. The photo was taken from the Gold Hill Fire Road Trail. A great trail with amazing views like the one featured in our last Snapshot Quiz. Congratulations Sara and thanks for reading Snapshot!   

Scroll down for this week’s quiz and be the first to answer.  

San Rafael City News

General Plan 2040 & Downtown Precise Plan Update 

In 2017, the City of San Rafael kicked off a 20-year update to the General Plan and the San Rafael Downtown Precise Plan (DPP) and Form-base Code (FBC). General Plan 2040 is San Rafael’s strategic framework, created to help guide future community growth and development and the DPP/FBC would establish new regulations in the downtown zoning districts. After four years of hard work done by the General Plan steering committee and several meetings conducted but the Planning Commission, the General Plan is now scheduled to be heard by the City Council. On Monday evening, the City Council and community will hear the first of two public hearings scheduled to adopt General Plan 2040, the Downtown Precise Plan, the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and conforming amendments to the San Rafael Municipal Code. 

City Council Redistricting Process  

Since transitioning to City Council elections by district, the City of San Rafael is now required to redraw district lines following the census every ten years (a process known as redistricting). Redistricting is how district boundaries are modified to determine who represents our community. Over the next eight months, we will be working with a consultant team to engage the San Rafael community, analyze, and document demographic data before presenting a new redistricting plan to City Council in Spring 2022. On Monday evening, the City Council will hear an information report on the tentative calendar for the redistricting process.  

Request for Housing Modifications for Merrydale Townhomes 

Many barriers exist in our region to increase overall housing stock. The cost of property, labor, materials, fees, and affordable housing requirements make a return on investment difficult to achieve. Earlier this year, the City Council passed an ordinance to amend a portion of the San Rafael Municipal Code (SRMC) Zoning chapter to alter the City’s affordable housing requirements in an effort to encourage the development of housing in the City. As part of these amendments, the City Council allowed in-flight projects that had not begun construction to modify their affordable housing requirements to be consistent with the new requirements. Campus Properties has submitted a request to change the affordable housing requirements of the Merrydale Townhomes project (350 Merrydale Road) to be in compliance with the SRMC. On Monday evening, the City Council will review a resolution regarding the modification request.  

Proposed Library & Recreation Fee Update

San Rafael’s Library and Recreation facilities are dedicated to providing our community members with lifelong learning opportunities and experiences to foster healthy and thriving lifestyles.  There has not been a comprehensive analysis and update of the fee schedules as a whole since 2011. On Tuesday evening, the City Council will review proposed amendments to the Library, Recreation, and Childcare fee schedule.

Vivalon Healthy Aging Affordable Housing Requests Building Permits Fee Waiver 

On March 23, 2020, the City Council approved a 67-unit, 70-foot tall, six-story senior center and affordable senior housing building for Whistlestop (now Vivalon)/EDEN Housing in downtown San Rafael. In May 2021, Eden Housing submitted a waiver requesting the removal of building permit fees associated with the Vivalon Healthy Aging Affordable Housing Project at 999 Third Street. Eden cited increases in lumber costs, insurance, and lending rates as reasons for the requested fee waiver. On Monday evening, City Council will hear a resolution to deny Eden’s request to have building permit fees associated with this project waived.  

Labor Agreements for Discussion & Approval

Over the past several months, representatives of the City have been meeting and conferring with various bargaining groups representing our staff teams throughout the City. Tentative bargaining group agreements, known as Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs), outline salary and benefit changes for the next three years. At Monday’s meeting, the Council will consider approving the successor MOUs with the following labor groups: WCE, AFSCME/Local 1, SEIU, SRFCOA, and SRPMM. These five MOU’s were discussed earlier this month at the July 6, 2021 Council meeting and is set for final review and approval at Monday night’s meeting. Resolutions will also be considered for the City’s mid-management, executive management, and elected City Clerk and Part-Time City Attorney.  

San Rafael Social Justice Art Design Underway 

The San Rafael Social Justice Community Art Group in partnership with Youth in Arts have started the design process for the mural proposed at Arbor Park in Terra Linda. Youth in Arts’ “C Street: Untitled” mentorship program for young student artists has selected ten youth artists to work with the lead artist, Orin Carpenter, on the art piece for Arbor Park.  Funding for the project and C Street: Untitled is provided through donations as well as contributions by the County of Marin and City of San Rafael. 

The project will be presented in draft form at the next San Rafael Public Art Advisory Meeting, scheduled for July 20 from 3-4pm. The public meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. 

Marin Municipal Water District Tightens Restrictions 

Earlier this month, Marin County was added to California’s drought emergency list. In response to our drought conditions, Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) has tightened its irrigation restrictions, limiting spray irrigation to one day per week, with each community given an assigned watering day. Drip irrigation is limited to any two days per week, San Rafael’s watering day is Tuesday. There are a number of small ways we can all cut back on water usage—did you know that, on average, Californians use 30-60% of their water outdoors? Or that doing laundry and showering uses an average of 196 gallons of water per day? The Save Our Water Campaign has great conservation tips for small and big ways we can all do our part to conserve water, check out their tips 

TALES OF THE CITY—San Rafael Resident Volunteers to Help Improve the City’s Energy Efficiency

Tales of the City 07.15.2021

We’ve been very fortunate to have the expert volunteer assistance of Building Energy Volunteer, Costi QuffaCosti has been consolidating energy use data for all our facilities and operations so we can “benchmark” our energy use. Costi’s work will help us manage our facilities more strategically and identify where we have additional opportunities for energy efficiency and resilience. One project Costi has helped us with recently is a lighting retrofit project at the Public Works corporation yard and the Albert J. Boro Community Center. This project, if approved by PG&E, will improve lighting dramatically while saving significant amounts of energy. We’re really lucky to have such great volunteers such as Costi on the team! 


Due to Executive Order N-29-20, we no longer offer an in-person meeting location for the community to attend public meetings. In an effort to provide remote community participation for our City Council meetings, we are piloting real-time virtual public comment on agenda items.

At the July 6, 2021 regular City Council Meeting, the Council:   

  • Approved consent calendar items. 
  • Heard a special presentation of Proclamation designating July 2021 as Park and Recreation Month 
  • Adopted an Urgency Ordinance prohibiting camping or lodging at any time in Boyd Park and in City parking garages 
  • Adopted a resolution approving amendments to the Library and Recreation fee schedule 
  • Accepted an informational report on Guiding Principles for the US 101 to Interstate 580 Connector Project 
  • Adopted a resolution approving the Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to compensation and working conditions for San Rafael Fire Fighter’s Association 
  • Discussed and considered a Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to compensation and working conditions for the: Western Council of Engineers, San Rafael Fire Chief Officers’ Association, San Rafael Police Mid-Management Association, and SEIU Local 1021.  

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. 


Marin County Job Fair 

Tuesday, August 3 | 8:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Live Chats | 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. 

Marin County is hosting a virtual job fair on Tuesday, August 3rd for job seekers and employers! This will be a great opportunity for job seekers to speak directly to companies in search of potential candidates from the construction/skilled trades, retail, healthcare, food service, customer service, administration, social services, and more. This is an all-day event broken up into chats, don’t miss it!

Energy Efficiency & Resiliency Resources for Marin Residents 

Saturday, July 24 | 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, July 28 | 6:00 p.m.

The Marin County Sustainability Team is hosting two webinars for Marin County renters on energy efficiency and resiliency. This will be a great opportunity to learn about energy conservation resources and programs during these summer months when dry and windy conditions leave us vulnerable to wildfires and potential power outages.  

Two-Part E-Book Self-Publishing Webinar 

Wednesday, July 21 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 

Join San Rafael City Librarian Henry Bankhead and Smashwords marketing director, Jim Azevedo, for a fun, yet intensive two-part webinar series covering the basics of e-book self-publishing (part I) and tips for how you can market your self-published books to public libraries (part II). 

Downtown Events All Summer Long 

San Rafael Summer Market Every Thursday
Every Thursday | 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Shop San Rafael’s Summer Market every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Fourth Street between B Street & C Street. Hungry? Grab a bite downtown from one of the many participating restaurants through Dining under the Lights 

Dine Under the Lights Every Thursday & Friday
Every Thursday & Friday | 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Don’t feel like cooking at the end of the week? Consider heading out for a meal in Downtown San Rafael, dine under the lights, and enjoy some live music, and even dancing! Dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars pour into street for alfresco dining every Thursday and Friday night, come check it out! If you snap a photo be sure to tag us on Instagram @sanrafaelawesome. 

Please check with your favorite businesses for hours and if reservations are advised.  


Where is this beautiful San Rafael garden located? 

Falkirk Garden

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