SANTA CLARA — In its last meeting of the year, the Santa Clara City Council set the stage for what will likely be the dominant discussion at the start of 2022: the future rules concerning water in the city.
The council voted unanimously Wednesday night to extend the city’s requirement for water-efficient landscaping in all new developments through March 10.
City Planner Jim McNulty told the council that city staff needs more time to draft a new water ordinance for Santa Clara designed to deal with the drought.
The Washington County Water Conservancy District has created a draft ordinance, but McNulty said the ordinance still needs some Santa Clara touches.
“It’s not a one size fits all,” McNulty said. “There’s going to be some discussion and debate to get us through this process.”
Before the year is out, Mayor Rick Rosenberg said work meetings will be held to start finessing the new city ordinance, which he said will likely dominate the council’s conversations at the start of 2022.
“I believe we’ll be updating council for every meeting going forward,” Rosenberg said.
Wednesday was the last meeting of the year at Town Hall as the council moved to cancel the Dec. 22 meeting.
In other business
The council unanimously approved $235,500.57 to be put toward an improvement to the city’s power generation system. The funds will be used to upgrade control panels on two older generators and upgrade temperature sensor wiring on all four of the city’s power generators.
Up until now, the systems controlling the city’s two older generators have not been on the same network as the two newer generators.
Also Wednesday, council member Leina Mathis relayed a draft report on short-term rentals in Santa Clara, showing that they have gone up 86.4% in the last two years: from 147 in 2019, to 191 in 2020 to 274 in 2021. Mathis said it’s a sign that the city is not receiving revenue from rentals for such platforms as Airbnb and Vrbo.
“There are opportunities for revenue because we don’t have 274 licenses,” Mathis said.
Wednesday was council member Wendell Gubler’s last council meeting, as he is retiring. Christa Hinton, elected in November, is taking his place.
“It will be fun to grow old with my wife of 50 years,” Gubler said.
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