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Staff Report on Belle Haven Branch Library

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 13:36:45 -0700

Hello Council,

I’m puzzled why the Belle Haven Branch Library Space Needs Study is in the
Informational Category when three times on page 2, the report states:
“Should City Council authorize staff to proceed to the next phase.”

That repeated phrase asks Council to make a decision. If Council is being
asked to take action, does this report belong in the Regular Business
category? The civically engaged public pays more attention to items in the
Regular Business category. It took me a while to also pay attention to
items in the Consent Calendar category, which often give insight into
longer-term spending priorities.

It would be helpful to establish and follow consisent Definition of Terms
for Agenda topics, such as in the City of Oakland
example below (underlining mine):


· *Consent Item*: any action item that a subject matter Committee
has forwarded to the full Council with unanimous recommendation for
approval and *is not controversial*, and *does not have a high level of
public interest* as determined by the Rules Committee.
· *Non-Consent Item*: any action that a subject-matter Committee
has forwarded to the full Council *without* unanimous recommendation for
approval, *or* having a high level of public interest, *or* is
controversial as determined by the Rules Committee.
· *Action Item*: (our Regular Business Category) any resolution,
ordinance, public hearing, motion, or recommendation requiring official
vote and approval of the City Council to be effective.
· *Informational Item*: an item of the agenda consisting only of an
informational report that *does not require or permit Council action.*


I think the Branch Library project needs oversight from the Belle Haven
community via an advisory committee that will be disbanded once the project
is built. The P&R 20-year Master Plan has implications for changes to the
Onetta Harris Center. Noll & Tam
<https://www.menlopark.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8985> was also
recently given contract for a preliminary design for the Belle Haven Youth
Center Relocation. Given all the activity taking place in Belle Haven, and
the parallel Connect Menlo two-year review process, I suggest that the
Branch project and Connect Menlo review become part of a community-led BH
Master Plan effort.

The report’s Future Considerations category shows staff is exploring
various possible sites for the new Branch library. The BH residents need to
be involved in these discussions, early. The report lists possible sites
as including “new development projects that have a substantial community
benefit requirement.” To me, that phrase implies a development such as
Facebook Willows. I think Belle Haven is already approaching its
development cap, which gives more reason to have Belle Haven residents
actively involved in this process. They may not want more "new" development
in return for their new Branch.

Many Belle Haven residents have stated that they want their new Branch
Library located at the Onetta Harris Center. At the March 18, 2019 Library
Commission meeting, the Chair noted this preference and asked Staff to
include it in their updated Staff report going to Council. However, I don’t
see the Chair’s request included in this Staff Report. Given the Belle
Haven community’s strong preference for their new library to be located at
the Onetta Harris Center, I’m surprised that other possible sites are being
considered by Staff. Again, more reason to have residents actively involved
in this process.

The report referred to possible funding mechanisms in high-level terms.
The support is there for a new Branch Library. I think the Library
Foundation should establish a process where donors can donate money
earmarked for a new Branch. I’m eager to send in my own check for this

One possibility that wasn’t included in the list of funding possibilities
was the idea of forming Community Facilities Districts (CFD). The City is
considering establishing Community Facilities Districts for one or more
projects based on an Oct 28, 2018 contract with PFM Financial Advisors.
<https://www.menlopark.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/8752> Is a CFD being
considered to fund a new Branch library? If so, what are the implications?
Unfortunately, I have to miss tonight's meeting.

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Tue Mar 26 2019 - 13:32:52 PDT

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