Monday, Oct 19

Update on Race & Equity Work, Local Visitor's Bureau, and Hiring Auditing Services

City Council Meeting - Monday, October 5, 2020, 5:00 PM

Public Comment is Scheduled to Begin At:

Warning: City Council agenda item times are not an exact science. Follow our Twitter page to know when to dial in!

5:00 PM PHZ Pre-screening - Study session on request to rezone 2951 El Camino Real to Planned Home Zoning (PHZ).

6:00 PM Oral Communications* - Your chance to speak about anything.

6:35 PM Consent Calendar* - Items 3–7 on the agenda, to be voted on all together.

6:45 PM Granny Units - Proposals to simplify regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to encourage their production.

8:15 PM Old Palo Alto Parking Permits - Should the program continue?

9:30 PM 1% for Public Art - Should the 1% allocation of Capital Improvement Program budget to public arts be temporarily suspended?

How to Speak

  1. Call in via phone at (669) 900-6833 and dial *9 to raise your hand.

    • The City Clerk will call out the last three digits of your phone number and unmute you when it's your turn to speak.

  1. Call in via Zoom with meeting ID 362 027 238 and click ✋Raise Hand at the bottom of the window.

    • The City Clerk will call your name and try to unmute you when it's your turn to speak. You might still need to unmute yourself.


  • Make sure to join the Zoom call on time if you want to comment, as Council may move on to the next item if there are no speakers.

  • You will typically be given 2 minutes to speak on the current agenda item.

  • All scheduled times can and probably will be delayed. Follow us on Twitter @OpenPaloAlto for live updates.

  • Public comment usually happens before Council members discuss and then make their decisions.

Your Guide to the Agenda

Do you wish we put more background information here? Let us know!

How Else Can I Provide Input?

Contact Individual Council Members

(**) Council members running for re-election this year and thus likely to consider voter input when making decisions.
(†) Council members who are finishing their last term.

Email City Council

  • Email

  • Your email will be sent to all Council members and included in the public meeting minutes.

  • Since your email will become a public record, make sure to leave any private information out of it.


What are "Oral Communications"?

The Oral Communications section during meetings is time for members of the public to speak on items that aren't on the agenda.

What is the "Consent Calendar"?

A Consent Calendar is a collection of many decisions lumped together, that is voted on by the Council as a single item. It's a practice meant to fast-track the approval of uncontroversial items, such as routine infrastructure maintenance.

Any item can be removed from the consent calendar (and possibly moved into an agenda item of its own) by a vote of three Council members .

Public comment is usually allowed once at the beginning of the Consent Calendar item.

What is a a "Closed Session"?

A meeting or portion of the meeting that is closed the public (that is, they do not stream the meeting live to the public). They often do still take public comment at the beginning of the scheduled time.

What are "ordinances" and "resolutions", and how are they different?

An ordinance is a local law, passed by City Council, for the City. They go into the Municipal Code, which is basically the book of the City's laws.

A resolution is a formal declaration of the Council's opinion, intent, plans, or policies.

The line can sometimes be blurry between the two concepts — both ordinances and resolutions can be enforced in a court of law under certain situations — but ordinances are broadly considered more permanent and carry more weight.

What is a "second reading"?

California state law states that ordinances cannot be passed until at least 5 days after its introduction. So in practice it seems that ordinances passed by Council are typically given a "second reading" at a future meeting, at which they have to vote on it again to enact it officially. Second readings seem to be largely a formality and often placed on the Consent Calendar for approval without debate, perhaps since votes are unlikely to change.

Why aren't they responding to my comment? Are they ignoring me?

We have been told in the past that the Council responding to public comment, particularly during the Oral Communications section, would be against the Brown Act*.

Have more questions? Please share them with us!
The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date nor the most accurate legal or other information.