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