Lagunitas Event March 26 for Deb Fudge

Help put Windsor Councilmember and former Mayor Deb Fudge on the Board of Supervisors, and enjoy some Lagunitas suds and tasty hors d’oeuvres in the process! The fun begins at 5 PM on March 26th. Click below to learn more and RSVP. You can also take a look at the Facebook page for the event.

Support Deb Fudge!


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Council Watch – February 24 Meeting

Petaluma Tomorrow’s Council Watch Report
 Petaluma City Council Report
February 24, 2014
Petaluma City Council Chambers


Mayor Glass, Vice Mayor Kearney and councilmembers Harris, Albertson, Barrett, Healy, and Miller present.

Closed Session
No reportable action.

Council Comment
Councilmember Miller – Planning Commission – long-discussed project off Yarberry Drive is being reviewed and will get built; landscaping changes requested and will be reviewed further. Freeway-oriented signage was discussed, including a review of contemporary examples.

Councilmember Kearney – Transit report – looking at giving buses signal priority at some key intersections in town, beginning with McDowell. There has been a 238% increase in ridership of Petaluma transit over the past five years, leading to a need for more buses. Three new-to-us buses have been purchased from Santa Rosa to meet demand. At less than $25k each, this did not require council approval.

Councilmember Barrett – Tree Committee – fence is currently being put out to bid to protect the two remaining Center Park trees – should be in place by Butter & Egg Day.

2A Approval of Agenda for March 3, 2014 CC Meeting
City Manager Brown requested the addition of discussion of a proposed fueling station moratorium to the March 3, 2014 agenda.

Motion to approve March 3 agenda with the addition of the fueling station moratorium to agenda.

Motion carried 5-2 with Glass & Barrett against.

Consent Calendar
Unanimously approved.

Public Hearing
Public Hearing to Levy an Annual Assessment for Fiscal Year 2014 for the Downtown Petaluma Business Improvement District.
[Councilmember Healy recused himself as his biz is in the district]

CM Brown sat in for staffer Mushallo – Brown recapped DPBID history & annual procedure

Each business member has a monetary value for purposes of the DPBID budget. Changes to a proposed DPBID budget require a vote of half of the overall value, or 50% +1.

Changes in this year’s DPBID budget reflect increases in administration costs and decreases in security costs.

A November 2013  letter signed by twenty members expressed concern about how previous DPBID funds were being spent.  The signatories did not possess the 50% + 1 majority that would be required to make changes to the budget.

Athletic Soles owner, Holly Wick, expressed some satisfaction with discussions which have occurred since the presentation of the November letter, while noting last year’s larger expenditures on security.

4. Unfinished Business
Second reading of an ordinance to approve a zoning map amendment for the Maria Dr. Apartment Project at 35 Maria Drive.

There was no public comment.

Motion approved 5-2, with Glass and Barrett against, as was the case with the first reading.

5 – New Business
5A – Permit Processing Technician
Motion carried 7-0.

5B – Denman Reach Funding
Motion carried 7-0.

5C – Petaluma Animal Services Foundation Agreement Amendment
Related to a desire to reduce adoption fees and obtain increases in animal licensing and surrender fees to bring them in line with comparable with fees in other areas of Sonoma County.
Motion carried 7-0.

5D – Human Resources Director
Pamela Stevens to retire after 11 years with the city.  a resolution to re-establish a position of HR Director, with a salary commensurate with that position
Motion carried  7-0.

Adjourned 8:22


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Council Watch – February 3 Meeting

Petaluma Tomorrow Council Watch
Petaluma City Council Report
February 3, 2014
Petaluma City Council Chambers

PetalumaEvening Session 7pm
Tonight’s meeting adjourned in memory of Art Cader, whose funeral service occurred today.

Harris, Albertson, Barrett, Glass, Kearney, Healy present. Council member Kathy Miller was absent

Key Issues
The major issues taken up at this meeting were the approval of the 35 Maria Drive high-density apartment complex and the first reading of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the Riverfront mixed use project.

Petaluma Montessori Education Week February 23 – March 1, 2014 in recognition of the great value of Montessori education in general, and specifically those who established River Montessori School.

Presentation of the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report by city staff member Mushallo & Katherine Yuen, CPA from Maze & Associates.

City had no cash balance as of June 30 2013. Net loss of $229k in fy2013, which increased the accumulated unrestricted deficit to $4.5 million.

Total Assets = $579 million, a $16 million increase in fy2013.
Total Liabilities = $177 million, an increase of $6 million in fy2013.
City’s net position = $402 million, a $22 million increase in fy2013.

Mayor Glass questioned Yuen – what should the city be preparing for in light of future pension liabilities? Yuen answered – continue to build reserves; recommends the council build towards a 10% reserve.

General Public Comment

Closed Session
No reportable action out of closed session.

Albertson raised questions about two months billing from outside legal.

City Attorney Danly stated his office is actively looking for assistance in the City Attorney’s office and sorting through applications; no timeline yet available for new hires.

4A – Resolution 2014-019 Recommending Appointments to the Mayors and Councilmembers’ Association
City Selection Chair to be Cotati, Vice Chair to be Healdsburg in 2014.
Remote Access Network Board – Joe Callinan, Mayor of Rohnert Park.
Sonoma County Childcare Planning Council – Susan Harvey, Councilmember, Cotati.
Councilmember Barrett nominated Pam Stafford as cc’s recommended selection to Local Agency Formation Commission.

Motion passed unanimously.

4B – Resolution 2014-01 Approving Petaluma Community Development Successor Agency (PCDSA) Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 14-15A)

Motion passed unanimously.

4C – Resolution 2014-020 Resolution Authorizing an Agreement with Petaluma American Little League for Installation of Field Lighting Improvements on one Baseball Field at Lucchesi Park

Motion passed unanimously.

5B Resolution 2014-021 Adopting a Mitigated Negative Declaration; Resolution 2014-022 Approving a General Plan Amendment; Resolution 2014-023 Ordering the Vacation of Public Utility Easements; Introduction of Ordinance 2482 Approving a Zoning Map Amendment for 35 Maria Drive Apartment Complex Project

Public Comment

Petaluma resident Kathleen Garvey, with Eastside Neighbors Coalition (also a highly regarded speaker from the previous CC meeting on the Maria Dr. project) implored CC to once again lock in a medium density, not high density, project. Might the paid experts on this subject have incentive to please those paying for the traffic studies, she asked. She pointed out that city engineer had to be corrected twice when he stated the upper vehicle trip limit on Maria Dr was 6,000. Said Garvey, “This project does not preserve the scale and character of this neighborhood.”

Petaluma resident Albert Wong reminded the CC that 400 35 Maria Dr. neighbors have signed a petition requesting a medium density project, and reminded the CC without elaboration that “selective ignorance of some elements of the General Plan may have some legal liability.”

A final, unidentified public speaker pointed out that the people likely to live at the proposed complex are unlikely to use public transit, given the level of income required to rent one of the proposed units.

Council Comment
Mayor Glass asked for one thing to be added to the project – benches for this project purchased through the Petaluma High School’s program. Glass stated that this project as proposed was not compatible with this neighborhood & unsupportable.

Councilmember Healy stated he was still persuaded by the evidence that traffic is comparable or less and consequently would vote for the project, adding that he was, however, completely serious about stopping the Safeway fueling station.

Councilmember Albertson had issues with the project – its scale, privacy, and traffic based on density. He stated the applicant made a good effort to reduce mass & scale. Traffic issue remains, according to Albertson, though he did not clarify this and ultimately supported the project. Albertson asked staff again – traffic is not going to be overwhelming, correct? Staff replied – no changes since previous meeting – they stood by previous testimony.

Councilmember Barrett stated that everything wrong about this project is related to its density. There’s no clear need that justifies a GP amendment. Very sorry that the neighbors were not listened to in this case.

2014-021 – Motion passed 4 – 2, Glass, Barrett against,
2014-022 – Motion passed 4 – 2, Glass, Barrett against
2014-023 – Motion passed 5 – 1, Barrett dissenting
2482 – Motion passed 4 – 2, Glass, Barrett against

5A Riverfront Mixed Use Project Draft EIR
City Staffer Hines presented an overview of the DEIR for the Riverfront Project – a 35.7 acre site at 500 Hopper St designated as mixed use.

Councilmember Barrett inquired about soil testing due to previous industrial use at this site. Staff replied that all hazardous material soil sampling yielded acceptable results.
Barrett found the noise level troubling, stating “it’s irresponsible to put housing in such close proximity to a high noise generator [freeway]”; so, where the townhomes are located may be an issue and ought to be looked at; DEIR is an inadequate look at the noise impacts; might think about narrowing the hours of construction. Barrett also suggested that parking for the riverfront park was an open question, as it is a desirable destination. Where is the discussion of emergency evacuation from the site?

DEIR stated that area intersections showed less than significant impacts on traffic, with possible queuing at Caulfield & Lakeville intersection.

Mayor Glass suggested that if there were some mitigation to eliminate ANY increase in traffic that would be desirable – please include in FEIR. Glass once again reiterated that this project also [as with recently discussed 35 Maria Dr project] relies on future traffic relief from crosstown connectors that may or may not ever be built.

Councilmember Healy inquired about sea level rise and requested a more robust discussion of this specifically relating to this site in the FEIR, particularly how such data compares with other areas of town.

Councilmember Albertson expressed the desire that the developer would hire locally for the construction work on this project, but was reminded by Mayor Glass that the city can only ask that this be done, not require it of the developer.

NO Public Comment on DEIR
Meeting adjourned 9:40pm

As citizens of Petaluma, the Council Watch staff may agree or disagree with the stated positions of any council member. Council Watch believes a critical assessment of the council’s decisions and an exploration of their motivations on any particular issue is both a necessity and a valuable community service. The Council Watch staff asks, however, that all members of Petaluma Tomorrow recognize the considerable commitment of time and energy that city council members make in service to the residents of Petaluma.

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