HomeCity Government NewsSan Marino City Council Appoints Okazaki to Planning Commission

San Marino City Council Appoints Okazaki to Planning Commission

Also Addresses Marijuana, Watering, Streets and 626 Golden Streets Festival

The San Marino City Council appointed resident James M. Okazaki to the Planning Commission at the council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at City Hall.

“I want to do my share in supporting the city,” said Okazaki, the commission’s new alternate member, in an interview with The Tribune.


Okazaki worked at the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, or LADOT, for 34 years as a traffic engineer and transportation planner.

He served as that department’s assistant general manager before retiring from the city a few years ago.

Now, Okazaki operates his own personal transportation planning consulting company from his home in San Marino, where he has resided for 15 years.

While at LADOT and, now, as a third party coordinator, he was and continues to remain active in efforts to expand Los Angeles’s light rail system – including the Crenshaw/LAX Metro Line – and revive it’s once-world-renowned street cars.

He is also a 10-year member of the Asian American Architects/Engineers Association.

Okazaki filled a seat vacated by former Design Review Committee Chairperson Bharat Patel, who served as the commission’s alternate member for its July meeting this year.

Okazaki’s term of office will conclude on June 30, 2020.

The planning commission’s next meeting will be held at City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.


City Temporarily Prohibits Recreational Marijuana Activity

The city council adopted an interim ordinance to prohibit all commercial non-medical, or recreational, marijuana activity in San Marino for 45 days.

The ordinance took effect on Oct. 12, but would only become operative if California voters pass Proposition 64, which prompted the city to respond with this interim ordinance.

Proposition 64, formally known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would allow citizens 21years of age or older to legally consume marijuana and marijuana products in non-public places or where tobacco is prohibited.

The proposition, if passed, would also allow those 21 years of age or older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in or on the grounds of a private residence. It would also grant a range of regulatory powers to the state, counties and cities. For example, the proposition would allow cities to adopt local ordinances banning non-medical marijuana businesses in the city.

That’s exactly what the San Marino City Council chose to do at its Oct. 12 meeting at City Hall.

As a result, no one is allowed to cultivate, possess, manufacture, distribute, process, store, test, label, deliver or sell marijuana and marijuana products for recreational purposes in San Marino.

The interim ordinance also bans the cultivation of marijuana at private residences.

The council can choose to extend the ordinance by another year when the first 45 days have passed.

The City of San Marino already prohibits medical marijuana businesses by an interim ordinance, which will remain in effect until Dec. 8. The council can also choose to extend that ordinance by another year.


Residents Allowed to Continue Watering 3 Days a Week

The city council approved a resolution that allows residents to continue to water their lawns three days out of the week.

The council made permanent a temporary decision from August to change the city’s watering schedule from two days to three days.

As a result of the adopted resolution, residents with odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while residents with even-numbered addresses are allowed to water on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Residents may not water on Wednesdays.

The change in the city’s watering schedule was in response to the state’s decision to permit increased flexibility to water providers.


Introduction of Street Protection Ordinance

The city council approved the first reading of an ordinance intended to protect newly paved streets for utility company excavations.

Parks and Public Works Director Dan Wall explained that the ordinance would “prohibit nonemergency excavations on newly paved, reconstructed or sealed streets for five years in order to extend the life of the pavement.”

In layman’s terms, Wall continued, “We’re trying to prevent a utility company from coming in 18 months after we’ve just paved a street and decide now is the time to remove their pipelines.”

He noted the ordinance wouldn’t entirely prohibit excavations by utility companies. Instead, if the parks and public works director determined the existence of an emergency condition, he could permit a utility company to excavate.

The ordinance defines an emergency condition as “an emergency that endangers life or property; a situation involving the interruption of an essential utility service; work that is mandated by the city or a state or federal agency; or work necessary to provide utility service for buildings or properties where no other reasonable means of providing service exists.”

The ordinance, Wall said, would also have the added benefit of better coordination between the city and its utility providers.

“We’re trying to prevent routine pipeline replacement not being coordinated with our projects,” Wall stated in his presentation to the council on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

“This ordinance specifies minimum standards for the repair of excavations,” Wall added. “There’s a certain requirement as to how much of the street they have to repave so that we just don’t have a bunch of surface patches.”

Wall explained that the proposed new policy would be considerate of residents and their property.

“We don’t want to make the restrictions so onerous that a property owner [who] wants to expand their home and have additional water service is prevented from excavating the street,” he said.


626 Golden Streets Festival Reapproved

The city council reapproved a memorandum of understanding with seven San Gabriel Valley jurisdictions to co-host the 626 Golden Streets Festival, which was rescheduled for March 5, 2017.

The CicLAvia-type, open streets event features a 17-mile open streets route that will start at the South Pasadena Metro Station, pass through San Marino, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Los Angeles County, Irwindale and end at the Azusa Metro Station.

About three miles of the north side of Huntington Drive will be closed off to traffic from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the event. The south side will be open to normal eastbound traffic.

The event is being organized by BikeSGV. For more information about the event, visit www.626goldenstreets.com.


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