Worrisome campfires in the Lafayette Community Park and the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) were discussed during Monday night's meeting of the Lafayette City Council.
Members of the public started off the meeting with concerns about recent . Many members of the public were concerned about the response to these fires, and asked the city council to work with the police and fire departments in order to keep the park and surrounding neighborhoods safe.
Police Chief Eric Christensen said the police were aware of the fires, believed to have been started by kids from the Burton Valley neighborhood who had set up a fire pit in the park. According to Lafayette resident Ann Burns, the biggest fire took place on July 14 early in the morning, and took the fire department more than 2 and half hours to put out.
The Parks Department said they would take care of cleaning up the debris, and then allegedly pushed a burnt log into Las Trampas Creek, according to Lafayette resident John Briggs. The Parks Department then tried to remove the log. Members of the public expressed concerns about the possible effect this action had on endangered species living in the creek.
Mayor Carol Federighi said the council was taking the issue seriously, and would continue to monitor the problem.
Council members also took time to discuss the Downtown Specific Plan, with city staff and members of the public taking up the their discussion of the plan from a June 25 discussion.
Homeowners associations outlined reasons why the DSP should not be passed as it stands. Many of the speakers referenced the letter submitted to the city council by the Lafayette Homeowners Council, which gave multiple suggestions for how to improve the DSP. These suggestions included reducing the building height limit in downtown and removing the ability to build multifamily housing in downtown by rite, instead of through a general plan amendment.
Others discussed the effects that the DSP may have on the schools of Lafayette. One member of the public said he was worried that the DSP would lead to an increased Lafayette population, which would mean more kids attending Lafayette schools. He said this was a concern because of the funding issues Lafayette schools are already facing.
President of the Secluded Valley Homeowners Association Eliot Hudson was frustrated that the city council didn’t seem to understand what the public wanted.
“What is this plan for if it’s not for the homeowners of this town?,” asked Hudson.
The city council ultimately decided to continue the discussion of the DSP to August 13.
At the meeting, Council Member Carl Anduri announced that he would not be running for re-election this fall after 10 years on the council. With Mayor Federighi also making her decision not to defend her seat in the upcoming election, city watchers are looking to see who steps forward to vie for the open seats.