San Ramon: Mayor Hudson talks about housing, environment and COVID during state of the city speech | New
In his inaugural State of the City address, San Ramon Mayor Dave Hudson outlined the goals and anticipated challenges facing his city, with the most common issues discussed regarding housing, transportation, change climate and the city’s recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
Sponsored by the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce and held at the San Ramon Marriott, the address marked one of the first in-person gatherings approved by the city since the coronavirus pandemic began over a year ago, an occasion that Mayor Hudson saw as an optimistic indication for the future.
“The goal must now move forward. COVID is over. Let the mission statement be ‘better than before’ and that goal must include doing it the San Ramon way,” Hudson said at the start of his speech of about 30 minutes. .
“Our city is poised to move forward in this decade because of the planning in Sacramento, the good regional and local planning. San Ramon is represented in every transit, transport board and authority and is able to help advance projects and programs to keep San Ramon among the leaders in California, ”he added.
With vaccines rolling out across the country, Hudson has had time to reflect on the city’s response to the pandemic, saying that while the city doesn’t always have control over regional health measures, staff of the city has done an exemplary job in keeping residents informed about COVID-related regulations.
“(I want to) salute the great job the staff have done in keeping the lines of communication open during the pandemic. Particularly City Manager Joe Gorton and Steven Spedowfski and many others,” Hudson said. “People were kept up to date with all the county health worker changes… If you weren’t sure about something, you knew a way to find out for sure.”
According to Contra Costa health services, as of Wednesday 71,648 residents have contracted the coronavirus while 818 have died across the county. In San Ramon, 2,175 people have reportedly tested positive for the virus while 21 have died.
For vaccination rates, 717,950 people across the county, or 72.7%, were fully vaccinated on Wednesday. San Ramon’s numbers are slightly higher than the county average, with 74.4% of residents fully vaccinated.
The economic losses resulting from the pandemic will present some fiscal challenges according to Hudson, who advised residents to initially expect slow income growth as the city seeks to restore its resources to pre-pandemic levels.
Addressing one of the most pressing issues facing Bay Area communities, Hudson said the city will need to prepare for a potentially large increase in real estate developments due to the state legislature. seeking to tackle a statewide housing crisis.
Hudson said the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle – which governs how many homes communities should approve for development – should require San Ramon to approve 5,111 new homes on a period of eight years.
“Now most normal people are wondering why anyone would approve more housing in San Ramon,” he said. “Don’t we have enough congestion? “
While that number will be finalized within the next year, Hudson has advised residents to prepare for the growth required by the state.
“Santa Clara is clearly the problem. It’s the most populous county in northern California… (and) it’s been under-built for 25 years that I know for sure,” Hudson said, explaining that communities like San Ramon might have to adapt. housing for other cities that may not have been as responsible for their own planning and development.
“(RHNA) is mandated by climate change legislation which merged transportation and housing planning to reduce greenhouse gases,” Hudson added,
A long-time advocate for infrastructure developments that improve transportation problems faced by commuters and local residents, Hudson says working with other communities in Tri-Valley will be key to providing funding for regional transportation issues.
“We cross district boundaries to give you seamless mobility and collaboration is key,” said Hudson. “As the Bay Area moves forward with ever-changing plans essential to smooth travel, we are ready. The electric bus is a key part of our future in San Ramon and a major part of planning for express buses along the “Innovate 680” corridor (a county initiative to eliminate traffic problems). The shoulder bus is becoming a reality more and more closely.
“We say and we stay ‘clean and green’,” he added.
Autonomous vehicles are also on Hudson’s agenda for the future of San Ramon, saying the city is ready to welcome them and that they will result in fewer kilometers traveled by vehicles – a key aspect of California’s efforts to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“California laws focus on two things for climate change, renewable energy and reducing vehicle miles,” Hudson said, adding that future multi-family housing units will be developed with solar power plants and will be located within proximity to transit centers or employment centers to reduce the kilometers traveled by vehicles.
Discussing how climate change efforts will influence the city’s future planning, Hudson said efficiency that promotes decarbonization will be a priority for buildings and appliances – adding that taking this route in planning can lead to increased funding opportunities for the city.
“The city that goes in that direction will get the money early on. There are grants, which means there are conditions. But there is money,” said Hudson.
Previously the longest-serving San Ramon council member with over 20 years of experience in local government, Hudson was first elected mayor in 2020 – replacing longtime civic partner and incumbent Bill Clarkson who declared himself and could not attend again. election.
Since then, Hudson has maintained that his top priorities are managing San Ramon responsibly, while using his vast experience to deal with transportation, housing and environmental issues, many of which Hudson says are interconnected.
Mentioning personal news that has affected his family over the past year, Hudson concluded by saying he celebrated the birth of two grandchildren, Taylor Head on April 4, 2020 and Savannah Hudson a year later on April 3. 2021 (4/3/21).
“I wonder what his passwords will be,” laughed Hudson. “COVID wasn’t that bad anyway. Thank you all for coming and listening today.”