City Manager's Community Update - Fall 2017
Dear Millbrae Residents,
Our community has made many important decisions and seen the start of significant developments over the course of 2017. Though we are quickly heading to a new year, our work on numerous community projects remains ongoing, as does our commitment to supporting our community's goals and making sure that Millbrae continues to be a great place to visit, work, and live.
After starting the journey to address our aging water infrastructure system at the beginning of the year, the City has fully considered the system’s current service life and made a plan to improve it. This plan takes into account community feedback from three study sessions and a public hearing hosted by the City Council. Millbrae’s water utility is currently facing a number of financial challenges that will require significant rate increases in the future, but we are working to find options that will lessen the impacts of these rate increases on residents.
During the summer, you may have received a postcard from the City. At that time, Millbrae kicked off an essential sewer modernization program in September, with two public workshops to engage and inform residents about the project. Millbrae’s sewer collection system is in need of significant repair and rehabilitation; our City has entered into a Consent Decree with the San Francisco Baykeeper to reduce sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and protect public and environmental health. I urge you to visit www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/sewermodernization to learn more about the program and to watch recordings of both community meetings to get a better understanding of what we are undertaking.
Group 4 Architecture recently completed its third and final public open house and workshop. Over the past five months, Group 4 has held three such meetings to engage the community in identifying needs and aspirations on what you would like to see in the future Community Center. During the second meeting, three concepts were presented and participants overwhelmingly supported the idea of the Community Center as a “porch” to Central Park. At the third open house and workshop, residents liked the “C3-Ampitheater” option as the preferred building layout due to the possibility of multiple buildings that could serve a variety of needs simultaneously. Group 4 will develop a recommended Community Center Master Plan for the City Council to consider at the end of this month. In the meantime, the modular units are set to be delivered in the near future and will be occupied in mid-December.
Our efforts to build a mixed-use development in the area surrounding the Millbrae Station are ongoing. Because a lack of affordable housing remains a significant challenge for all communities in the region, our staff has worked diligently to ensure that this project is a win-win for the developer and our residents. During the October 2nd Planning Commission meeting, the City met with both the developer and the community to discuss our long-term goals and expectations. We have asked the developer to obligate itself contractually to build affordable housing at the site and we will continue to invest our time and funds to accomplish this community goal.
Continuing our collaboration with the local businesses community, the City recently initiated an environmentally responsible program to clean up its downtown and other areas. Our goal is to create a cleaner and more vibrant Millbrae with the help of numerous businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, the Peninsula Chinese Business Association, and the South San Francisco Scavenger. The project started with a clean-up day where participants picked up litter off the sidewalks and streets. Our goal moving forward is to more strongly enforce local litter and graffiti ordinances, and make sure local businesses adhere to best practices to reduce their environmental impacts.
We have made an effort to become more responsible environmental stewards. Along with our Downtown Business Cleanup program, our parks crews have worked hard on numerous projects to help make our city more sustainable. The new xeriscaping at City Hall was recently completed and its benefits include better water conservation, as well as reduction of energy used to maintain the area. In addition, our crews have been diligent in cleaning and upgrading the landscaping and median along El Camino.
Many of these new and continuing projects could not be accomplished without such diligent and hardworking staff members. With this in mind, I hope you will join me for Millbrae’s first City Services Day on Tuesday, November 28! From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., residents can meet and talk face-to-face with City police, fire, and public works staff about home protection, public safety, and more. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about how our staff members keep the City running smoothly and what the community can do to assist them.
My staff and I are committed to strengthening each aspect of the City, from businesses and environmental policies to housing and public facilities that everyone can enjoy. We do our best to ensure that your needs are met and your ideas are heard. Our work on projects, such as the Community Center and the Sewer Modernization Program, will continue to grow, and we hope that you will stay involved in this process so that the entire City is reflective of everyone who lives here. A collaborative and more environmentally responsible Millbrae will offer greater opportunities to every part of our community.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your City Manager. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you.
City Manager, City of Millbrae