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Week In Review: Bikes, Movies and Cows

Some of the events that made news the past week in Walnut Creek

On Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the adoption of a city bicycle plan.

Different projects under the plan include bicycle lanes, trails, signs and facilities.

The goal of the bicycle plan is for the city to provide a safe and attractive environment for bicycle travel, according to the commission’s staff report.

The proposal now goes to the City Council for final approval.

Also on Thursday, dozens of Harry Potter fans lined up at the Century Theater in downtown Walnut Creek.

They were there for the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part ll," the final installment in the Harry Potter series.

Some of the people were dressed up as their favorite Potter characters. Some fans even camped out in tents and others were snuggled under blankets.

They were all let into the theater that evening for the 12:01 a.m. show.

On Wednesday, we reported there was a decline in assessed property values in Contra Costa County.

Overall, the decrease was $700 million in the local tax base, according to the Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer.

Walnut Creek saw a drop of 2.15 percent, a third year of decline. The first was in 2009 with a 1.13 percent decrease in assessed property value, and then 0.83 for 2010.

Cindy Mosser, finance manager for the city of Walnut Creek, said she has not received official notice of the decrease.

Mosser said a decrease of 2 percent in the assessed property value would equate to a loss of approximately $300,000 in revenue in its proposed $64 million budget the City Council will consider on Tuesday.

On Monday night, the neighborhood effort to return cattle grazing to the Acalanes Ridge Open Space received another setback.

After more than two and a half hours of discussion, the Park, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Commission did not waver from its October 2009 decision to remove grazing cattle from the Sugarloaf and Acalanes Ridge open spaces.

The four commissioners at the meeting voted unanimously to keep cattle off the Acalanes Ridge Open Space.

Nancy Dawson Dollard, the supervising ranger in the open space division, said she supported the decision to remove cattle from the “weed abatement” strategy at Acalanes Ridge and continue the effort to reduce fire danger ”through discing, weeding by hand and limited introduction of goats for weed abatement in areas closest to residential properties.”

The city paid $5,800 for goats to graze 7.1 acres of Acalanes Ridge. The previous contract at Acalanes, involving cattle, paid the city $2,056 to allow them to graze on the site.

City officials said cows can cause damage to the open space and will eat plants such as oak saplings.

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