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Dublin council approves contract for new city manager at busy meeting

Downtown Dublin Preferred Vision moves ahead, 15 new bus stops added, United Against Hate Week and more

The Dublin City Council signed off on a number of items at its Tuesday night meeting, mostly notably sealing a deal with the soon-to-be new city manager and and approving the Downtown Dublin Preferred Vision plan.

Dublin’s assistant city manager, Linda Smith, will take over as the new city manager next year, after the current manager, Christopher Foss, announced his plans in September to retire at the end of next month. Foss has been employed with the city for 20 years, about 5-1/2 of those in his most recent position.

Smith, who has more than 17 years of experience in local government, joined the city 10 years ago as the assistant to the city manager before working her way up to assistant city manager in 2014.

Smith’s new employment agreement includes a salary of $290,856 with annual cost of living adjustments of 0.5% to 3.5%, an annual $9,500 city-deferred compensation contribution, and standard benefits package with PERS retirement, medical, dental and other accrued benefits. A monthly $550 automobile allowance, annual technology allowance of $1,500, severance package, plus 35 days of general leave and 12 days of management leave are also part of the contract.

Foss’ last day with the city is Dec. 31, when Smith will assume his responsibilities.

On Friday, the city announced that the administrative services director, Colleen Tribby, will step into Smith’s old role as assistant city manager, effective Dec. 31. In a statement, Smith said she looks "forward to utilizing Colleen’s skills and abilities to help our organization with the opportunities and challenges facing the city in the coming years.”

Tribby has been with the city since 2013, and will oversee the parks and community services, public works, and administrative services departments.

"I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to serve the city of Dublin in this new role,” Tribby said. “I look forward to supporting the new city manager in assisting to lead the organization in delivering high quality services to the community.”

In other business

* The council also green-lit the Downtown Dublin Preferred Vision that night, and its three main concepts -- a new street grid network, the downtown character, and the siting of a one-acre park and plaza which will comprise a future town square -- that the city said “will chart a path forward to improve the retail district of downtown Dublin over the next 30-50 years.”

Plans include creating a downtown Dublin with a more “vibrant and dynamic commercial and mixed-use center that provides a wide array of opportunities for shopping, services, dining, working, living and entertainment in a pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing setting that attracts both local and regional residents.”

Now that the project has been approved, things could “move forward with phase one (town square and surrounding development) in the next five years,” according to public documents. A timeline for other parts of the long-term plan have not been decided yet. A General Plan amendment is also eventually expected to help carry out the proposal.

* An uptick in local bicycle and pedestrian traffic prompted the council to lower the speed limit on Golden Gate Drive on Tuesday.

“The decision to lower the speed limit on Golden Gate was made because the area now has a great deal of residential property (residential areas are typically 25 mph), and with the proximity to BART, there has been quite an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic,” Dublin city spokeswoman Shari Jackman told the Weekly in an email.

The council voted to drop the speed limit down from 30 mph to 25 mph, which will go into effect “30 days following the adoption of the ordinance once signs are posted to give notice thereof,” according to a staff report.

* A planned 198-room, six-story Westin Hotel near the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station is one step closer to breaking ground. Council members adopted an ordinance Tuesday evening to amend the zoning map and approve a planned development zoning district for the 5.88-acre site at the southeast corner of Campus Drive and Altamirano Avenue.

The hotel would be Dublin’s first four-star accommodations, and would offer a 5,254-square-foot restaurant, cafe, ballroom, and two conference rooms with over 9,000 square feet of space.

A number of business and labor representatives as well as council members have praised the project, which is expected to provide residents with new union jobs and raise an undetermined amount of local tax revenue. No groundbreaking date has been announced yet.

* Dublin residents will be able to catch a bus easier in the future with the establishment of 15 new bus stops on Tuesday.

The council approved the traffic code amendment, as requested by Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), “so that extended service may commence in the immediate future, as LAVTA staff has received several requests for bus service from city of Dublin residents,” according to city staff.

There are currently 170 bus stops within the Dublin city limits; the 15 new stops will mostly be located along Dublin Boulevard and Horizon Parkway, as well as Sterling Street, Scarlett Drive and Kelly Canyon Drive. The new ordinance is not expected to financially impact the city.

* The Mape Memorial Park playground is getting a makeover next month, after the council awarded a $133,988 construction contract to San Francisco-based IBS USA.

According to city documents, the playground area “was last updated in 1996 and needs complete replacement” of all equipment. The council also approved a $20,000 budget increase for the estimated $320,000 project, which will start next month and wrap up in January.

* The council also approved an art design and a resolution to approve an agreement with Colin Selig for a public art project that’s planned at Clover Park, and also proclaimed the period of November 17-23 as United Against Hate Week.

Julia Baum is a staff writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. Reach her at jbaum@pleasantonweekly.com or 925-600-0840, ext. 111.

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