Durable Growth, Government

Taking the next step – Opportunities to get involved during the week of August 7

130313006 Balshaw BridgeI returned yesterday from two weeks of travel, filled with enthusiasm to repopulate the event calendar below and to resume my efforts to create an ever larger cadre of urbanist advocates.

And then I checked the civic calendars for the North Bay cities near my town.  I found exactly zero meetings of urbanist interest next week.  Perhaps it’s the nature of early August, but it was disheartening.

Luckily, Petaluma Urban Chat is scheduled for next week.  Otherwise the near-term prospects are bleak, although there is a hope for more meetings as the month progresses.

Also, there are some intriguing September meetings to anticipate.

Meetings this Week

Petaluma Urban Chat, Wednesday, August 10, 7:00pm, Aqus Café, 2nd and H Streets, Petaluma – Petaluma Urban Chat meets monthly to discuss land use activities in Petaluma and to consider  strategies to make North Bay cities resilient, environmentally sustainable, and financially stable.  At the upcoming meeting, ongoing urbanist issues in Petaluma will be discussed, such as the road diet that has been proposed for Petaluma Boulevard South.

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 reason was concern over the building massing and architecture, but disappointments were also expressed about the recent Council decision to relieve the applicant of a condition of approval 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 be the subject of public comment.  Legally, the City Council could re-impose the multi-use path condition, but I consider that unlikely.

Petaluma City Council, Monday, September 19, 7:00pm, Petaluma City Hall, 111 English Street – Petaluma staff will soon 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, by directing that the item be removed from the Council agenda, effectively asked staff to look at other possible street projects as targets for the possible grant application.

The Petaluma Boulevard South road diet reportedly remains the preferred project for City staff, setting up a potentially interesting discussion when the subject returns to the Council agenda on September 19.

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.

Joe Minicozzi Digs into the Municipal Finances of Urbanism, Week of September 19, 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.  Conversations are underway for a return visit by Minicozzi to the North Bay later this year.

Exact dates and meeting locations are still being developed, but I encourage everyone to block out much of the week.  Minicozzi’s message could have profound consequences for North Bay cities.

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.

Even with the paucity of opportunities in the coming week, there are still lots of opportunities to get involved.  Please grab at least one and hopefully more.

Next time, I’ll share some thoughts about the physical size and presence of city halls.  While traveling, I came across a city hall that I need to share.

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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