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Published August 23rd, 2017
Orchard Road detour ends; ordinances on short-term rentals, marijuana approved

Two weeks after Orchard Road residents besieged the Orinda City Council with tales of traffic woes due to the detour onto their street from Moraga Way during East Bay Municipal Utility District pipe repairs, EBMUD came back to the council with plans to shorten the work down to three days. Orchard Road residents begged the council to end the detour immediately, even before the work was completed, to salvage a few days of summer for their children, even if that meant creating long delays for vehicles traveling on Moraga Way, and even if it meant that the repair work would not be completed until a much later date.
A number of EBMUD representatives appeared before the council at the Aug. 15 meeting to also discuss water quality, but Clifford Chan, manager of maintenance and construction, and Tim Harris, maintenance and construction superintendent joined Kathryn Horn, community affairs representative, to discuss how the repair work to Moraga Way could be expedited, or, if the days and times of work were to be shortened, how long the project would be extended. Although the council clearly felt the pain of the Orchard Road residents, they decided to keep the detour in place, with EBMUD's promise to complete the repairs, except for necessary repaving, within three days. According to Orchard Road resident Lynn Ballou, the work was completed and the detour onto Orchard Road ended on Friday, Aug. 18.
The council also discussed ordinances involving short-term rentals and regulation of marijuana cultivation at its Aug. 15 meeting. A registration plan for short-term rentals in Orinda and collection of Transient Occupancy Tax will be tried out under a new ordinance approved by the city council. Planner Daisy Allen presented the revised draft to the city council and was praised for her clear and useful presentation.
The ordinance adds a section to the municipal code that creates an annual short-term registration system. Property owners will be required to fill out and sign a registration form including contact information and other key information about the rental. Short-term rentals will not be eligible for Temporary Event Permits. The maximum occupancy is let at two people per bedroom plus three additional people and only one short-term rental per property is allowed at any given time. Property owner must affirm that short-term rentals comply with all applicable building, fire, health and zoning codes and operators of short-term rentals must register for and pay TOT.
Twelve months after passage of the ordinance, staff must prepare a report for the city council regarding implementation. Once there are 100 short-term rentals in Orinda, the planning commission will hold a public hearing to consider the effectiveness of the ordinance.
The council also approved an ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation in the city, since marijuana use and cultivation was approved by California voters in the last general election as Proposition 64, which gave localities limited powers to regulate the drug. The city council stuck with its intention to prohibit outdoor grows of any marijuana and to also prohibit any commercial marijuana-related activities within the city. However Council Member Inga Miller and Mayor Eve Phillips voted against the ordinance because they did not support the prohibition on outdoor grows. The two ordinances will be formally adopted on a future consent calendar.

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