Durable Growth

Taking the next step – Opportunities to get involved during the week of August 28

130313006 Balshaw BridgeLast week, I wrote that the number of public meetings with urbanist overtones seemed to be increasing as Labor Day approached.  I may have reached that conclusion too soon, with next week coming up nearly dry.  But perhaps fifth weeks of months are always deficient on meetings that are scheduled on a monthly basis.  And there are still a couple of meetings by which to get involved, along with some longer term opportunities on the horizon.

Meetings this Week

Cotati Design Review Committee, Monday, August 29, 4:30pm, Cotati City Hall, 201 West Sierra Avenue – With much of the surrounding land already occupied by medium-density single family homes and industrial land uses, Cotati will have little opportunity for transit-oriented development around the its new station on SMART rail line.  The Cotati Station Lofts and Apartments, about 1,000 feet away, will be the only TOD, at least in the near term.  (My first foray into home ownership, four decades ago, was a condo about 2,000 feet from a BART station.  I rarely used my car from Monday through Friday, so 1,000 feet isn’t far at all.)

Much of the project is already constructed, but some details are still being finalized, including consideration at this week’s Cotati Design Review Committee meeting.  The agenda is sketchy on details, but it might be interesting meeting for some to attend.

Windsor City Council and Planning Commission, Thursday, September 1, 6:00pm, Windsor Civic Center Council Chambers, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Building 400 – As I first noted last week, the Windsor City Council and Planning Commission are conducting joint sessions to continue their consideration of the draft 2040 General Plan.  This week, they’ll focus on the transportation and mobility elements.  In the one meeting I attended, I found the discussion high-level and engaging, so encourage others to partake.

Meetings in the Weeks and Months to Follow

Petaluma City Council, Monday, September 12, 7:00pm, Petaluma City Hall, 111 English Street – The Petaluma Planning Commission recently rejected the site design for the proposed Marina Apartments on Lakeville Highway east of Highway 101.  The reasons cited were concerns over building massing and architecture, but disappointments were also expressed about the recent Council decision to relieve the applicant of a requirement to build a segment of multi-use path.

The applicant appealed the Planning Commission rejection.  The appeal will be heard by the City Council on September 12.  Although the primary focus will be the design of the building, it’s likely that the multi-use path will also be a subject of public comment.  Legally, the City Council could re-impose the multi-use path condition, although it’s unlikely barring a public outcry in support of the path.

Petaluma City Council, Monday, September 19, 7:00pm, Petaluma City Hall, 111 English Street – Petaluma staff will return to the Council for approval to submit a grant application for street improvements.  To best conform to the standards of the granting agency, staff initially proposed a road diet for Petaluma Boulevard South.  The Council, in asking that the item be removed from the Council agenda back in June, asked staff to look at other possible street projects as possible subjects for the grant application.

The Petaluma Boulevard South road diet reportedly remains the preferred project for City staff, setting up a potentially interesting discussion when the matter returns to the Council agenda.

I’ve been working with a group of citizens who are passionate supporters of the Petaluma Boulevard South road diet and have been working toward ensuring that the road diet returns to the Council with a strong public endorsement.  If you wish to help with the effort, please email me.  There is a role for additional helping hands.

Joe Minicozzi Digs into the Municipal Finances of Urbanism, Week of September 26 (note date change), Multiple locations – Many readers attended three evening of talks by Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns and Joe Minicozzi of Urban3 this past January in Santa Rosa.  The two spoke about the theory of why suburbia often fails and the data that supports the theory.  Plans are being firmed up for a return visit by Minicozzi about a month from now.

Meetings will be held in Santa Rosa and Windsor, with the possibility of a further meeting elsewhere in Sonoma County.  Details will be noted here as soon as available.

I encourage everyone to block out as much time as possible for Monday, September 26 through Wednesday, September 28, both to listen to Minicozzi and to build relationships with other North Bay urbanists.

Rail~Volution, October 10-12, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco – The leading conference on the use of rail for community building is coming to San Francisco this fall.  The coming role of SMART in the North Bay will surely be discussed, as will the increasing density around BART stations.

Lots of opportunities to get involved.  Please grab at least one and hopefully more.

When I next write, I won’t write.  Instead, I’ll turn this space over to an urban planner trained in bicycle transportation who will write about road diets and bicycles.  I had the same expectation a week ago, but I’ve been assured that it’ll work out this time.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. – Dave Alden (davealden53@comcast.net)

Written by Dave Alden

Dave Alden

Dave Alden is a Registered Civil Engineer. A University of California graduate, he has worked on energy and land-use projects in California, Oregon, and Washington. He was also the president of a minor league baseball team for two seasons. He lives on the west side of Petaluma with his wife and two dogs. The blog that he writes can be found at http://northbaydesignkit.blogspot.com.

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