Downtown Public Restroom

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Background

At present, the City does not provide public restroom facilities in the downtown area. The nearest public restrooms are located at City Hall and Old Mill Park. These restrooms have limited hours and the restrooms at Old Mill Park are about a quarter mile from the central downtown area. The restroom located in the Depot Café and Bookstore serves café customers and is commonly used by the general public due to its central location. However, restroom users frequently experience long lines to access the lavatory and congestion in the dining area of the café. Further, the existing facility is not physically accessible to all users. 

Many downtown business owners and the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce have expressed to the City a need for a public restroom in the downtown area to reduce demand on businesses and to provide this basic service and convenience to our residents and visitors. 

Guided by its Core Values to preserve health and safety and the community's high quality of life, the Mill Valley City Council established the maintenance and enhancement of City infrastructure as one of its Key Issues. The Mill Valley City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2012-2014 Budget in 2012, in which they funded a feasibility study and architectural analysis to evaluate opportunities to construct a public restroom facility in the downtown. The following year, the City Council approved the 2013-2014 Budget Revision, which provides funding for the construction of a downtown public restroom. 

In 2014, the City hired the Mill Valley architectural firm Jessup Associates Architects, Inc. to prepare a Feasibility Study to identify a preferred location for the public restroom. Four alternatives were identified and evaluated in the study; three remodel opportunities at the Depot Building and one concept for the construction of a free-standing restroom at the bus shelter adjacent to Sunnyside Avenue at the south end of the Depot Plaza.

At their November 2014 meeting, Parks and Recreation Commission members held a public hearing regarding the location for the new restroom facility in the Plaza. After hearing public comment and conducting a thoughtful deliberation, the Commission approved a recommendation to the Council to construct the new restroom facility in the location adjacent to the Depot Building. 

At their meeting on February 17, 2015, City Councilmembers considered the recommended restroom location, reviewed public input, project details, budget, and timeline. They voted unanimously to approve the recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission to construct the new restroom facility in the location adjacent to the Depot Building.

 


 

Update
February 9, 2017

Currently, the estimated project cost for the current design exceeds the budget, obliging the City to consider alternative options which include revising the design, partnering with the new tenants of the Depot restaurant, and considering prefabricated restrooms. The City will continue to keep the community informed of the project and seek public input prior to further City Council actions.

The City of Mill Valley values community input and participation.  Here are ways to stay informed and give input:

  • Send written comments via mail to Michael Hanlon, Associate Engineer, 26 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, CA, 94941.
  • Send written comments via email to mhanlon@cityofmillvalley.org. Please write “Plaza Restrooms” in the subject line.

The Mill Valley City Council has identified community-serving facilities and infrastructure improvements that are responsive to community desires and sensitivities as Key Issues. Councilmembers also value a balanced, inclusive, and open approach to decision-making processes and encourage citizen participation. The City recognizes the community’s strong feelings and interest regarding the downtown and sensitivity towards change. The City plans to proceed slowly and deliberately with this proposal, in an open and inclusive process, and invites comments and different perspectives throughout. 

We thank you in advance for your constructive input to help guide the process, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Questions?  Check out the FAQ page.

Meetings dates, topics, and materials:

Meeting Topic Documents
City Council (2/17/2015) Consider recommendation by Parks and Recreation Commission. Staff Report
Parks and Recreation Commission (11/5/14) Discussion of Preferred Location Staff Report
Parks and Recreation Commission (8/6/14) Feasibility Study Update Staff Report
Parks and Recreation Commission (1/8/14)  Discussion of Preferred Location

Staff Report (part 1, part 2)

 Parks and Recreation Commission (11/6/13)  Introduction of Feasibility Study

Staff Report

Feasibility Study