The Ione City Council considered revisions to three different sections of the laws governing the city at its latest meeting on Tuesday, November 19.
First, the council discussed regulations for city purchasing and bidding. These regulations lay out how the city spends its money and sets limits on what can be spent with the approval of department heads, the City Manager and the council itself. The new rules grant preference to local businesses and to small businesses. Also included were rules for bidding on city projects, including an appeals process for contractors that lose on bidding for a contract.
The council also approved a first reading of new building codes, a move to match the city’s regulations to new rules adopted by the State of California every three years.
The council also worked on updating rules for operating the city’s Creek Committee. While it has not been active in several years, Ione Mayor Tom Reed has announced plans to make appointments to the committee, which advises the city on development and projects in and around Sutter Creek, which flows through the center of Ione. The council approved revisions to the criteria for who serves on the committee and reduced the frequency of meetings from monthly to quarterly.
Vacation rentals debated in Sutter Creek
In a meeting on Monday, November 18, the Sutter Creek City Council continued work on an ordinance regulating Air BnB and other short-term residential rentals in the city.
The council held the latest in a series of hearings editing the language on a proposed short-term rental ordinance and split on a proposal to limit the density of such units in neighborhoods. Two members – Linda Rianda and Tim Murphy – wanted to restrict the number of rentals either on a street or within a certain distance of each other, but were overridden by a three-vote majority with Jim Swift, Robin Peters and Josie Cadieux-Failers voting to consider such restrictions only when a larger number of rentals came to the city. The exact number of units that would trigger new regulation was left to city staff to prepare. Murphy called the density restrictions “the most important part” of the proposed ordinance, but other members objected to denying someone the right to rent out a unit if their nearby neighbor had already done so. The council also adjusted the parking requirements in the ordinance and made a number of small changes. The ordinance is expected back next month for a vote on a final draft.
The council also discussed the fate of a property alongside the Highway 49 bypass. This property, about 150 acres in size, was set aside as a land preserve as part of the environmental mitigation for the construction of the Highway 49 bypass around the City of Sutter Creek. Given to the city by the State of California, the land has proved difficult for the city to maintain and so the council approved a resolution saying the property should be managed by a land trust, and to that end, the city will now seek to return the land to the state, so that it may be handed over to an organization, such as the Mother Lode Land Trust.