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Animal services, Planning Commission appointments, BART parking among items on crowded council agenda Jan. 18

At its next meeting, the City Council will consider taking a position on a proposal to close or reduce the services of the West County Animal Services Center in Pinole.

The council meets at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in council chambers at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. Meetings are broadcast on cable channel 25 and on FM radio * KECG 88.1 and 97.7 (The meeting is being held on Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King holiday Monday, Jan. 17.)

According to a Jan. 5 letter from County Administrator Phil Batchelor to City Manager Gary Pokorny, the county must cut costs because of new legislation. State law now requires shelters to keep animals longer, provide additional veterary care to the animals it is holding, and to spay/neuter all dogs and cats adopted from the county shelters.

One option the county is considering is shifting all long-term animal care and housing to Martinez. Some services such as dog licensing, surrender of animals and cat trap rentals would continue to be offered in Pinole. Animal adoptions would be done in this area with the help of mobile-adoption vans. Owners could check photos posted on Animal Services' web site * to determine if their lost pet is being held in Martinez.

Local cities could also agree to fund a new or modernized shelter for West County, Batchelor's letter suggests.

El Cerrito animal advocate Rose Lernberg, who brought the county's plans to the attention of West County cities, suggests several disadvantages to the county's plan in a Jan. 12 letter to the council, including:

* having a van will not provide the same convenience or variety of animals as are available from a fixed facility;

* going to Martinez to check on a lost pet will be inconvenient, particularly for those relying on public transit, and the helpfulness of the Web site will be limited by the fact that some people do not have access to the Internet, and some pets may be difficult to identify from photos;

Rose Lernberg's letter to the council

The council is also scheduled to:

* make appointments to the Planning Commission,

* discuss Measure C funds designated for expanding El Cerrito BART parking. At a September 1999 meeting, the council discussed the possibility of using the funds for another transit related improvement. Officials of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, the agency legally charged with implementing Measure C, have responded that the funds could be put to another use but that it would be CCTA's call, not the city's, and that the funds could go to a project in another city.

* discuss whether the city should have a policy on handicapped parking in residential neighborhoods.

The issue was raised recently when residents on Lexington Avenue established their own handicapped parking space by painting the curb blue and posting a handmade sign. (The city is holding off on taking action against those homeowners until the council considers establishing a policy.)

If the council does want to establish a policy, the staff report suggests the council decide who should be eligible for the parking and under what circumstances (such as if it isn't possible to provide the needed parking on their own property) and who should be financially responsible for installing, maintaining, and removing the parking; and,

* consider a resolution requesting the owners of the El Cerrito Plaza work with James and Jennie Koo to allow them to continue to operate the Great American Dry Cleaners at the Plaza. The Plaza owners have told the couple that they can only continue the business if the cleaning is done off site. The Koos said they would not be able to operate under that stipulation.

In its capacity as the governing board of the Redevelopment Agency, the council will consider plans for Agency-owned property at 11335-11341 San Pablo Avenue.


Run dates: 2000-01-15 - 2000-01-18

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