City Manager is hopeful to keep COVID numbers low for another week and move to the Orange Tier

ATASCADERO — Atascadero City Council met for a regular meeting on Apr. 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting opened with an acknowledgment of April as sexual assault awareness month, which was received by Christina Kaviani, the education and communications director of RISE. 

Kaviani spoke about RISE’s accomplishments this past year in the face of the pandemic, including expanding Telehealth services as well as taking the offered financial support per client from $5,000 to $20,000, met in large from CARES Act funding.

The next item was approval of the consent agenda, which contained the City Council Draft Action Minutes – Mar. 23 and Mar. 24, Weed/Refuse Abatement Program, Property Acquisition for Santa Lucia Road Bridge Replacement Project, Annexation of the 10850 El Camino Real Subdivision into Community Facilities District 2005-1, Annexation No. 23 (10850 El Camino Real: Tract 3099) and El Camino Real Downtown Infrastructure Enhancement Plan. The consent agenda was approved 5-0. The full agenda can be viewed on the City’s website.

Rachelle Rickard, City Manager, gave the city update, which covered the upcoming finance committee meetings to discuss the city budget. These meetings will be held each Thursday starting from Apr. 22 to the end of May at 3 p.m. and are open to the public. Agenda and access to the meetings will be posted to the city website as they become available. 

Traffic way construction starts Apr. 14 and includes safety improvements to the sidewalks, curb ramps, and portions of the roadway. Traffic is to be expected, and taking alternate routes may be advisable. 

Brew at the Zoo is taking place on Apr. 24, and this is the last week to purchase tickets. This event will showcase beers, ciders, meads, seltzers, and more and be a virtual event. Tickets are $65 for a 14 pack that will be mailed to your door, and 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the Charles Paddock Zoo.

The Atascadero Rock Snake still has the potential for the world record. The snake currently stands at about 1300 linear feet, and the City is encouraging everyone to go add a rock to the project. 

Moving on to Management Reports, the Council heard about the Del Rio / El Camino Real Plan Line, which includes readjusting Ramona road so that the queue capacity for cars is sufficient to handle the increase in traffic without blocking other roads. Hearing from public comment on the project, some residents were concerned about the impact a roundabout would have, to which Mayor Moreno stated, “to be clear, we are not approving a roundabout tonight; that’s something we would discuss [with future projects].” At which time there would be a proper notice to residents, as well as input from the fire chief. 

The recommendation for Council to adopt Draft Resolution approving the Del Rio Road / El Camino Real Plan Line in the vicinity of the US 101 interchange was approved 5-0.

The Management Report on the General Plan and Housing Element Progress Report was kept short by Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore. The statistics on building permits show that 2019 had a surge due to building codes changing on Jan. 1, 2020, but that 2020 still shows above-average numbers, especially considering the pandemic.

The Management Report on the City of Atascadero Marketing highlighted the 2020 year and the many adjustments that had to be made in light of the COVID pandemic. The City shifted from many of the scheduled events to virtual events and many promotions to support local businesses as they navigated the distancing rules. Looking forward to 2021-2022, the City is hopeful of resuming many of the traditional in-person events, as well as add some new events such as a haunted tour of historic Atascadero City Hall. At this time, Dancing in the Streets will not occur in 2021 as distancing that event is not feasible. 

The Management Report on the Council Norms and Procedures addressed some verbiage in the document that needed clarifying. The current phrase, “Any Council Member, may place an item on the agenda under Individual Determination,” was suggested to be replaced with “Under individual determination, any Council Member may request to place an item on a future agenda.” After discussion among the Council, it was determined that staff would take the comments and work on new wording to bring back for consent before the Council. 

The COVID update from Rickard shared the good news that the City showed the adjusted case rate had reached the orange tier, which, if it holds for another week, means the City would move into the orange tier. 

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Apr. 27 at 6 p.m., and links to join can be found on the City’s website.

Getting through this together, Atascadero