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Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below you'll find answers to many of the questions we are asked on a regular basis.

To help narrow your search, select a specific Category - or a specific Department - from the dropdown menus provided:
How do I comment on or ask a question about traffic?
Why don’t you schedule overnight work for construction at busy intersections?
Can we widen East Blithedale?
Can we make two right turns from Camino Alto onto East Blithedale?
Can we remove the stoplight at Tennessee Valley Road/Shoreline Highway?
How do I find out when my street will be paved? How do I request that my street be paved?
How about a roundabout at Camino Alto and East Blithedale?
How can I stay informed about traffic issues?
Who do I contact if I am having an animal issue?
My neighbor's construction project is making a lot of noise - what is allowed?
Can I flush my pool water onto the ground or down a storm drain?
Is updating the Housing Element part of the General Plan Update?
Will the General Plan Update include an environmental review?
What is the role of Zoning and Design Guideline Advisory Committee?
How will the community participate in the implementation of the General Plan?
Do I need a permit to remove trees on my property?
Is it okay for my dog to be off-leash?
I don't think I deserve this parking ticket. What can I do?
When are the parking meter holidays?
How do I purchase the RSVP sticker for my car?
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Q: How do I comment on or ask a question about traffic?
A:

If you have recently experienced a particular problem, please fill out this form.

If you have a question about traffic, please contact the Department of Public Works:

Phone: (415) 384-4800
Main email: publicworks@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: Why don’t you schedule overnight work for construction at busy intersections?
A:

We evaluate the noise and other disturbances related to the construction project and then assess the proximity of residential neighborhoods. If the project is close to residential neighborhoods, such as the recent work on East Blithedale and Camino Alto, then night work is not an option.

 

Q: Can we widen East Blithedale?
A:

This possible roadway modification is on the table for review. At their May 4, 2015 City Council meeting the City Manager presented a report on traffic conditions and introduced an Action Plan with steps the City can take to restore road capacity, increase capacity and reduce the demand on our roads. The Action Plan includes realistic steps to provide immediate improvements and a structure to develop further comprehensive short and long term strategies to improve traffic flow. One of the approved steps from the Action Plan includes forming a Traffic Congestion Advisory Task Force to develop recommendations for short and long-term improvements and programs. The widening of East Blithedale is one of the roadway modifications that will be studied by the Task Force.


 

Q: Can we make two right turns from Camino Alto onto East Blithedale?
A:

At times of heavy traffic volumes, a second right turn lane from Camino Alto to East Blithedale would not help to move traffic along, as the bottleneck in the corridor starts at the Highway 101 overpass where competing traffic flows converge and cause traffic to back-up to Camino Alto and beyond.

Our traffic engineer has looked at several alternatives to help move Camino Alto traffic onto East Blithedale, and the preferred alternative is to eliminate the U-turn on westbound East Blithedale at Camino Alto, so that the right-turn green arrow can be turned on when East Blithedale is turning left onto Camino Alto. Right now, when that is happening, the right turning vehicles have a red light, and thus, need to come to a complete stop before turning. With the left-turn overlap (as it’s called), the right turners will get a green arrow, and thus move more quickly onto East Blithedale. This idea will be implemented in the next few weeks.


 

Q: Can we remove the stoplight at Tennessee Valley Road/Shoreline Highway?
A:

Highway 1 through Tam Junction is under the jurisdiction of Caltrans. Mill Valley has asked both the County of Marin and Caltrans to improve the situation with the new traffic signal, and they have responded by, among other changes, modifying the operation by eliminating left hand turns from Tennessee Valley Road onto Highway 1.

Caltrans will soon be adding a permissive/protective phase to the signal at Shoreline Highway and Tennessee Valley Road to allow left-turns onto Tennessee Valley Road while improving flow on Route One/Shoreline Highway. We will continue to work hard with Caltrans and the County to identify and implement congestion relief measures, where feasible and safe to do so.

 

Q: How do I find out when my street will be paved? How do I request that my street be paved?
A:

Please visit the 2015 Street and Sewer Rehabilitation Project page to find out information about the current year’s road section repairs, replacement of asphalt, concrete pavement and traffic markings, resurfacing, repair of sewer pipes, storm drainage rehabilitation, and other street work.

To request street repair or resurfacing, contact City of Mill Valley Senior Civil Engineer Scott Schneider, P.E. at (415) 384-4818 or email sschneider@cityofmillvalley.org.

 

Q: How about a roundabout at Camino Alto and East Blithedale?
A:

Roundabouts can reduce traffic delays and increase the safety of an intersection. A roundabout at Camino Alto and East Blithedale is an idea the Traffic Congestion Advisory Committee will likely study and consider.


 

Q: How can I stay informed about traffic issues?
A:

mvtraffic.org thumbnailGet Updates on Current and Upcoming Traffic Conditions in Mill Valley 

  • www.mvtraffic.org: The City of Mill Valley has launched mvtraffic.org to give you a central location for local traffic conditions and updates about local traffic.

    The website includes a local map showing current conditions (via Google traffic), timely updates from the Police Department's Twitter account, and news about events or projects that are impacting traffic in town.

    Visit mvtraffic.org and bookmark the site on your mobile device.

  • Twitter: Follow the Mill Valley Police Department and City of Mill Valley on Twitter. Police Officers are often first to know about traffic issues and they tweet alerts to the community.

  • Nextdoor: Sign up for Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a private neighborhood website where residents share information such as neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services, and referrals. The City has the ability to send urgent messages to all subscribers.

  • Sign up for eNews: eNews is sent directly to your email inbox with information about news and events of importance to you. Enter your email address and select "Traffic Conditions and Road Closures."

 

Q: Who do I contact if I am having an animal issue?
A:

The Marin Humane Society offers Animal Services to Mill Valley residents. Please visit their Animal Services page to find information and resources concerning the following:

  • Animal Emergencies
  • Complaints
  • Lost and Found Pets
  • Pet Licensing
  • Animal Permits

Marin Humane Society
171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato, CA 94949
Phone: 415-883-4621
Contact

 

Q: My neighbor's construction project is making a lot of noise - what is allowed?
A:

Construction man workingA: It depends on who is doing the work and when.

If you are a Construction Professional (i.e. a Licensed Contractor) or an owner/occupant doing your own construction on a site with an active Building Permit:

  • Mon-Fri - From 7:00 am to 8:00 am - Light noise associated with preparing the job site is permitted.
  • Mon-Fri - From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm - Heavy equipment/power tool noise associated with construction is permitted.
  • Mon-Fri - From 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm - Light noise associated with disassembling the job site is permitted.
  • Saturdays, Sundays and City Holidays - No construction is permitted. This includes painting and landscaping.

If you are an owner/occupant doing home maintenance NOT associated with a site with an active Building Permit:
Certain types of activities and noise sources associated with residential living are permitted under the City’s municipal code. With the exception of gas-powered leaf blowers, low-noise generating power garden equipment (such as hedge clippers, weed-eaters, lawn mowers) is permitted:

  • On weekdays (Mon-Fri) - from 7:00 am and 5:00 pm. 
  • Saturdays, and on Sundays and City holidays from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
  • Unless expressly permitted by the City of Mill Valley, commercial landscape maintenance work on residential properties is not permitted on weekends and holidays.

Reminder: Gas Powered Leaf Blowers are Prohibited 
Gas Powered Leaf Blower v200.jpgPlease remember that the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers is prohibited by the Mill Valley Municipal Code in an effort to minimize air and noise pollution. Violators could be fined as much as $500.

Instead of using gas powered leaf blowers, residents and gardeners are encouraged to rake or sweep leaves and debris into piles and dispose in the appropriate green trash bin. Residents and gardeners can also use electric leaf blowers or electric leaf vacuums to collect and dispose of leaves. Please do not leave piles of leaves in the roadway. Leaves left in the street will block storm drains and may lead to flooding.

To conserve water, please do not use a watering hose to clear leaves and debris from driveways, sidewalks, and streets. This is a Marin Municipal Water District prohibited water use and can be punishable by a fine up to $500.

Residents who would like to assist in notifying their neighbors or their gardeners can print out this helpful flyer that explains the City’s ordinance in both English and Spanish.

Complaints:
Need to file a complaint?
Submit a Complaint Form to our Code Enforcement Officer. Weekends - call the Police Department at 415-389-4100. Please be prepared to provide the address, date, and time you witnessed the violation. If the violator is a contractor or gardener, please note the company name and vehicle license number.

 

Q: Can I flush my pool water onto the ground or down a storm drain?
A:

The City of Mill Valley urges residents to work with pool service providers that commit to flushing pool water into the sewer system instead of into the ground or down the storm drain.

Because many of us swim in chlorinated water at relatively high concentrations, we often don’t fully understand the toxicity of chlorine on the natural habitat that surrounds us. It’s quite simple: the concentration of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) in pool water is high enough to pollute a body of water 10 to 100 times its size if sent to the storm drain.

Because every storm drain in the City of Mill Valley empties into a sensitive natural body of water, such as a creek or wetland, introducing chlorine into those creeks and wetlands kills fish and frogs and the aquatic bugs they feed on.

City officials urge residents not to hire a pool service company that is unwilling to flush pool water into the sewer system.

 

Q: Is updating the Housing Element part of the General Plan Update?
A:

The Housing Element is one of the mandatory elements (or chapters) of the General Plan. It is also the element with the most state requirements attached to it and the only element of the General Plan that requires "certification" by a state agency: Housing and Community Development (HCD). One of the most prominent and contentious provisions of state Housing Element law is the requirement to plan for the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA. This is a given city or county's share of anticipated regional housing growth for a specific 7-year cycle. It is not just affordable housing, but housing for all income levels, including moderate and market rate housing.

On October 7, 2013 City Council adopted the MV2040 General Plan and 2009-2014 Housing Element.  HCD certified the adopted Housing Element shortly thereafter.  The City is now working to implement the policies and programs in the certified Housing Element.  Tasks include: updating the City's Municipal Code (title 20, "Zoning") to comply with state law, establishing zoning,development and design guidelines for commercial and multi-family zoned areas, and establishing bi-laws and the organizational structure for a Housing Advisory Committee.

The City of Mill Valley will be required to submit its 2015-2023 Housing Element to HCD in 2014, and will report on the progress of implementing its 2009-2014 Housing Element

Q: Will the General Plan Update include an environmental review?
A:
General Plan revisions and updates are "projects" as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and, as such, typically require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  On October 7, 2013 City Council certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) associated with the General Plan project.  See Documents and Links 
Q: What is the role of Zoning and Design Guideline Advisory Committee?
A:

Zoning and Design Guideline Advisory Committee (ZDAC)
The ZDAC is a seven member committee consisting of: City Council member, Planning Commissioner; commercial property owner; neighborhood association representative; architect; residential property developer and resident at-large.

Role: The ZDAC will work with staff adn consultants to review and discuss updates to the City of Mill Valley's Municipal Code, specifically Title 20, "Zoning" and design guidelines for commercial and multi-family zoned areas.  Tasks include: 

Ordinance Revisions: Update the City’s Municipal Code to meet state law requirements such as Density Bonus, Condominium Conversions and the development of an “affordable housing overlay” for the Redwoods property (senior housing located at 40 Camino Alto). 

Zoning/Development Standards/Design Guidelines: Update the City’s residential and commercial zoning regulations, such as parking, uses (such as co-housing, live-work, mixed use, special needs and assisted living), development standards (height, setback, lot coverage, etc.)and develop multi-family design guidelines (including illustrations, layouts, parking lot standards, etc.).

The deadline for applying for the advisory committee and working groups is January 9, 2014.  

 

Q: How will the community participate in the implementation of the General Plan?
A:

Opportunities for participation include: a website and resource centeremail notifications; special events and stakeholder meetings (e.g., in conjunction with the Memorial Day Parade or Library events; youth programs in conjunction with Mill Valley Schools and Tam High and programs with local business, neighborhood associations, etc.); publicly noticed advisory committee meetings; and public hearings.

Similar to the General Plan Update process, the community will have the opportunity to listen and provide feedback on programs and policies through staff work, committee work and public hearings.  Currently, the City is working to establish a Zoning and Design Guildeline Advisory Committee to assist the community in updating the City of Mill Valley's Municipal Code, specifically Title 20, "Zoning" and design guidelines for commercial and multi-family zoned areas.

In addition to specific advisory committee work, various commissions and City departments will be regularly reporting to the City Manager on the implementaion of the overall goals, policies and programs identified in the MV2040 General Plan.  
MV2040 Thumbnail

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Q: Do I need a permit to remove trees on my property?
A:
If you are removing 4 or more trees, or one heritage tree, a tree removal permit is required. Trees with less than 6 inches diameter can be removed without a permit on a developed lot. Municipal Code Section 20.67.020 defines heritage trees as tanbark oaks over 20 inches in diameter, oaks over 24 inches in diameter, madrones over 24 inches in diameter and coast redwoods over 30 inches in diameter (measured at ‘breast height’ or 4 ½ feet above ground). No tree greater than 4 inches in diameter may be cut on a vacant lot without a tree removal permit.
Q: Is it okay for my dog to be off-leash?
A:
Dogs shall at all times be kept under the immediate control and direction of a competent, responsible person who is capable of controlling such an animal.
 
Q: I don't think I deserve this parking ticket. What can I do?
A:
You can request an administrative review to contest the ticket. The administrative review form is available at the police station or online. However, you are not required to submit this form, you can write your own letter. Include the citation number, your vehicle license number, the date of the citation and your statement as to the reason you don’t feel the ticket is justified. Mail the letter or form to the Marin parking Authority (the address is on the citation). The review form or letter must be submitted no more than 21 days from the date of the ticket. Your letter or form will be reviewed within 30-45 days from receipt.
Q: When are the parking meter holidays?
A:

Parking meter holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
Q: How do I purchase the RSVP sticker for my car?
A:

 RSVP stickers valid for August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012 will be available for purchase beginning Monday, July 11.

The RSVP Stickers may be purchased online or at the Mill Valley Police Department, 1 Hamilton Drive, Monday –Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm and Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm.

 

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