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Snapshot: Redistricting, Northgate Mall Project, SSA, & More

Posted on September 9, 2021


Lassen Fire

On Wednesday, September 1st, a fire burned about 44 acres on the hillside near Mount Lassen Drive in Marinwood. The blaze triggered evacuations in nearby neighborhoods. September is National Preparedness Month so please stay vigilant by preparing for an emergency—make a plan, prepare a go-bag, and sign up for alerts so you’re ready when an emergency strikes. This month we’re also hosting preparedness classes—don’t miss them! A big thank you to our San Rafael Fire Fighters and Police Officers, Marin County Fire, CalFire, and the Marin County Sheriff for their quick response to the Lassen Fire.

Photo Credit:  Robert Sinnott, San Rafael Deputy Fire Chief

Last Quiz Question

Congrats to Mark Numainville for being the first to correctly respond to our mystery photo in the last Snapshot Quiz. The photo featured was of the new Canal Arts Mural unveiled recently in June 2021. This project is part of a larger initiative to increase visual art in public spaces. Congratulations Mark and thanks for reading Snapshot!

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

San Rafael City News

2021-2022 Council Redistricting Process

Since transitioning to City Council elections by district, we are now required to redraw district lines following the census every ten years, a process known as redistricting. A couple of months ago, we took the first step in the redistricting process by sharing our plans to engage with the community, analyze, and document demographic data before presenting a new redistricting plan to the City Council. During the July 19th City Council meeting, the City Council approved the proposed timeline for the redistricting process. On Monday evening, our consultants will present an informational report to City Council on the substantive criteria guiding the readjustment of the district boundaries, as well as a preview of the demographics reflective of the existing districts.


Ground Lease to Centertown II

In August 2020, the City Council approved the City Manager to execute an “option to lease” agreement that would allow for the negotiation of a potential new ground lease with BRIDGE Housing and EAH Housing (BRIDGE/EAH). The ground lease is a long-term agreement between San Rafael and Bridge/EAH, in which the Bridge/EAH is allowed to rehabilitate, maintain, and manage the leased property. This approval was the first step to secure funding to support substantial rehabilitation of the Centertown Apartments, which will provide critically needed affordable housing in San Rafael. On Monday evening, the City Council will consider an ordinance approving and authorizing the Mayor to execute a Ground Lease of 855 C Street (Centertown) to Centertown II, LP. This Ground Lease is the next stage of the transaction presented in Resolution 14851.


National Suicide Prevention Awareness

Did you know that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10–34, and the 10th  leading cause of death in the US? Each year, more than 48,000 people die by suicide – that’s one death every 11 minutes. September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide and to the resources available to prevent it. On Monday evening, the City Council will present a proclamation in recognition of National Suicide Prevention and Awareness.

See our Events section below for additional trainings, classes, and events the County of Marin Suicide Prevention Team has planned this month to increase awareness and education of suicide prevention.


National Hispanic Heritage Recognition

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a national recognition of the culture, contributions, and heritage of Hispanic Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15th to October 15th, since September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th. On Monday evening, the City Council will proclaim September 15th—October 15th as National Hispanic Heritage Month.


SRPD and SRFD Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

On Saturday, September 11, 2021, the San Rafael Police Department, and the San Rafael Fire Department will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

At 6:59 am, all available public safety personnel will meet in front of the San Rafael Public Safety Center at 1375 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael. The Marin County Communications Center will alert all stations and ring bells 5-5-5-5 (four sets of five chimes each) followed by “Marin Comm Clear.”

Signal 5-5-5-5 is a tradition deeply rooted in the history of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). Those bells honor the 343 FDNY Firefighters and 71 Law Enforcement Officers who answered their last alarm and made the ultimate sacrifice at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.


Service Support Area Creates Meaningful Movement For a Path to Housing

At the beginning of July, we launched a Service Support Area (SSA) in collaboration with the County of Marin, CalTrans, and other partner service organizations to provide services and support for pathways to housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. We continue to see engagement and positive results from the individuals engaging with the services and resources provided at the SSA. The SSA continues to operate at max occupancy, there is currently a 10-person waitlist, and last week three Emergency Housing Vouchers were delivered to individuals at the SSA.

Read the full SSA Update and watch the video update!


New Show About Wildfire Safety

We’re excited to share Fire Safe Marin’s announcement of their new Wildfire Watch TV show, debuting September 16th at 6 p.m. on Channel 30, Facebook and on Fire Safe Marin’s YouTube Channel. Wildfire Watch TV will bring resources, tips, and tools to help Marin residents adapt to living with wildfire. Additionally, the show will feature stories from the front lines of wildfire defense, behind the scenes of Marin’s alert system, and prepare you for power outages. You won’t want to miss it!


Northgate Mall Redevelopment Project Joint Study Session

Proposed plans have been introduced to transform the Northgate Mall into a mixed-use space of housing, retail, and entertainment. On Tuesday, September 14th at 7 p.m. there will be a Joint Planning Commission and Design Review Board Study Session on the City’s YouTube Channel.

This Study Session is an opportunity for early Planning Commission and Design Review Board project feedback on land use and design and allows early opportunity for public input.  No decisions or official action on the project will be made during this study session.

If you have questions or comments about this project, please submit them in advance to Project Planner, Tricia Stevens. Live verbal commenting will be available during the session. We look forward to you joining us on Tuesday, September 14th at 7 p.m.!


September nighttime closures – 101 NB Central San Rafael Off-Ramp Bridge Replacement (Caltrans)

Beginning next Monday, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be closing the Highway 101 Northbound Central San Rafael off-ramp to conduct pre-cast and concrete pour for the new off-ramp bridge for two evenings next week:

  • Monday, September 13th at 9 p.m. to September 14th at 7 a.m. 
  • Thursday, September 16th at 9 p.m. to Friday, September 17th at 7 a.m. 

The proposed schedule has one lane open starting at 9 p.m. The off-ramp will be completely closed from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m., and at 6 a.m. one lane will be opened to traffic. They are planning on returning the off-ramp to regular operation by 7 a.m. after each closure.

Please plan your routes accordingly, drive with caution, and follow all traffic signs. For updates and more information, please visit the Caltrans project website and the City’s project website.

Keep in mind, these schedules are subject to change. For 24/7 traffic updates, follow 511.org. For real-time traffic, visit the Caltrans QuickMap.


PG&E Automatically Enrolling Qualified Customers Who Are 60 Days Behind on Energy Bills in Payment Plans PG&E Automatically Enrolling Qualified Customers Who Are 60 Days Behind on Energy Bills in Payment Plans

As part of Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) ongoing efforts to provide assistance for customers to manage their bills, PG&E will auto-enroll eligible customers in new extended payment arrangements by the end of September 2021. Residential and small business customers with a PG&E bill at least 60 days past due will automatically be enrolled over the next few weeks starting with their September bill.

To view your account balance or the amount of your payment plan installations, sign into your PG&E account online. It will also be on your monthly energy statement under the Account Summary section.


The Countywide Priority Setting Committee Has Open Seats!

The County’s Priority Setting Committee is currently accepting applications from those that represent the interests of racial and ethnic minorities and/or people with disabilities. This is a great opportunity to be a part of the committee that oversees the distribution of $2.4 million in federal funds through the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).

Applications are due at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.You can find the application form on the County’s Federal Grants webpage, or at the Marin County Civic Center located at 3501 Civic Center Drive Suite 308, San Rafael, CA 94903.

Questions? Email the Federal Grants Division or call (415) 473-6279


De Colores Children’s Center and Safety Net Services Hub Opens in Downtown San Rafael

Last month, Community Action Marin opened De Colores Children’s Center and Safety Net Services Hub in downtown San Rafael! Community Action Marin provides early childcare and education to the families of Marin, and with the opening of the De Colores hub, they’ll expand their services to more community members. The De Colores site will provide both Early Head Start (serving children 0-3) and preschool classrooms for children 3-5, as well as the agency’s safety net services to the community, including rental, energy, and cash assistance. Welcome to downtown San Rafael and congratulations!


TALES OF THE CITY—San Rafael Fire Inspection Program

Fire Inspector with Resident

Thanks to your Fire Funds (Measure C) and the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority, this year’s Defensible Space Program
has far surpassed previous efforts. To date, over 9,400 defensible space evaluations have been completed by our Defensible Space Team this year.  Over 90% of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) has been completed and evaluations are underway for “non-WUI” homes, as well as, schools, apartments, and businesses. In addition to helping residents understand what changes they can make to their landscape to be more adapted to wildfire, our inspectors provide information on emergency alerts, evacuations, and general preparedness information. Thank you to our awesome inspectors who have been working so diligently with our community to help keep us informed!

To request an evaluation contact
srfd.dspace@cityofsanrafael.org or call us at 415-485-3054.


OVERVIEW OF LAST COUNCIL MEETING on August 2nd

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 August 16, 2021 regular City Council Meeting, the Council:

  • Approved consent calendar items
  • Adopted a resolution approving the San Rafael Social Justice Art Group proposal for a public art installation.
  • Heard a special presentation from Pacific Gas & Electric Company on Wildfire Planning
  • Heard a proclamation recognizing September as National Preparedness Month
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing background checks for City employment and City licenses
  • Accepted and provided feedback on the 2023-2031 Housing Element and Community Engagement Program informational report

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. 


EVENTS 

September Suicide Prevention & Recovery Month Events

Since 1975, National Suicide Prevention Month creates awareness throughout the month of September with a focus on the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on the 10th of September. Throughout the month of September, the Marin County Suicide Prevention Collaborative will be hosting events to raise awareness for suicide prevention and recovery.


Home Sustainability Webinar Series

The Marin County Sustainability Team is hosting a series of webinars starting on September 18th designed to take residents through the start-to-finish process of making their homes more comfortable, energy efficient, resilient, and carbon-neutral. Residents are encouraged to attend all the sessions but are welcome to tune into the topics that are of most interest. Each topic will feature industry professionals and experts, and attendees will be able to ask questions.

Webinar Dates and Registration Links 


Downtown Events All Summer Long 

San Rafael Summer Market Every Thursday
Every Thursday   |   5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Evening temperatures are more lovely than ever this time of year! Take a stroll down Fourth Street through San Rafael’s Summer Market, meet local farmers while shopping for fresh produce and talk with the ingenious artists who display their beautiful work.

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

With the summer winding down, now is the time to visit Dining Under the Lights if you haven’t had a chance to! Drink and dine alfresco style under twinkling lights draped all the way down Fourth Street every Thursday and Friday night. It’s a great time out with friends or family!

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


QUIZ 

What is this and what is it used for? Answer before anyone else!

Gopher Boxes at Oleander Park

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