At its Oct. 7 meeting, the council approved a resolution awarding a design contract to Nolte Associates for work along north Hartz Avenue between Diablo Road and Railroad Avenue. The project includes curb and gutter improvements, adding paving bricks to the sidewalks, installing new street lights and trees.
The design budget has been set at $173,250.
In approving the measure, council members requested a study session with staff to make sure they were all on the same page prior to giving Nolte instructions on the design process.
The session was held Oct. 14 with council members, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo and members of the planning staff.
Calabrigo outlined several scenarios that could be followed. Those included:
* Narrow Hartz Avenue, removing the center turn lane to allow parallel parking on both sides of the street.
* Replace existing curb, gutter and sidewalks. Would result in longer driveways and no additional parallel spaces.
* Acquire right of way and consolidate driveways to allow for diagonal parking on both sides of the street.
Concerns were expressed regarding the removal of the center turn lane, but Calabrigo said that there would still be "turn pockets" at the intersection although the lane would not run the entire length of the block.
Currently cars that park in front of the stores along the west side of Hartz are backing out into traffic. Design plans would allow for additional space off the road where customers could turn around on the owner's property before reentering traffic.
Town officials are not ready to commit to any of the options until they have reached an agreement with the five owners whose property along Hartz would be affected by the work.
"The real next step before they start doing designs is to meet with the property owners," said Councilman Newell Arnerich. He suggested that meeting as a group with the full weight of the council and staff is not working. And meeting one on one would allow the council to get a sense of what the property owners' goals are.
"Their goals are simple," responded Town Engineer Steve Lake. "They don't want to lose parking and they don't want to lose control of their parking."
Council members discussed the issue and decided to seek counsel from the property owners before offering any direction to Nolte Associates.