As much as Patch reporters to think Novato residents read us daily, we know you have busy lives. So we’re bringing back the “Week in Review” section, where you can catch up on our most-read stories of the past seven days.
On Monday, we wrote about a new study issued by the League of Women Voters of Marin aimed at dispelling affordable housing myths following approval of Plan Bay Area in July. The authors—and there were numerous—attempted to redefine “affordable housing” by pointing out that households that earn $75,000 or less are considered low-income by Marin standards.
It also sought to remind residents that the plan does not force cities to give up local control or build a high number of new housing units, in part because other Bay Area counties have agreed to do so—and receive additional transportation funds in the process.
We also reported on a potentially deadly standoff between CHP officers and a 22-year-old Richmond man who urged officers to shoot him. The incident occurred last Sunday after CHP received calls of a man walking in the center median of Highway 101. When they responded, the man ran across all lanes of traffic, narrowly avoiding being struck by cars.
On Tuesday, Novato firefighters battled a 3-acre wildfire in Cabro Ridge that threatened multiple structures in the area. The fire took two hours to extinguish and required the help of several outside agencies. But more importantly, it was another reminder of the risk that’s all too real for California and getting worse because of lack of controlled burns and decreased rains.
This week, the council meeting, the city clarified its laws regarding dogs, reminding residents that dogs must be on-least at all times unless they are at the Dog Bone Meadow on Novato Boulevard. Many residents said they support the law and recalled being scared by an off-leash dog. Some, however, wondered if the clarification would actually do anything since the city rarely enforces this law.
City Hall also approved reducing fees for granny units and other “accessory” dwellings, aimed at encouraging more people to build them on the property. The units count toward the city’s affordable housing quota—set by the state—and local officials say they satisfy the need for more affordable housing without having to build large apartment complexes.
It currently costs about $40,000 in city fees alone to build a granny unit and only nine have been built over the past eight years.
On Thursday, the California Department of Education released test scores, showing a slight drop. Novato schools reflected the statewide trend, which Schools Superintendent Tom Toklarson attributed to the switch to Common Core standards.
On Friday, we learned that Zunino’s Shoe Repair is closing. The downtown store has been a part of Novato for the past 103 years and originally opened by Angelo Zunino. It then passed on to this son and eventually, grandson Ernie Zunino.
“The thing we’ll miss most is the people…Ooh, the stories we’ve heard here over the years,” said Charlene Zunino, Ernie’s wife. “It’s enough to write a book.”