Duane DeWitt, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
At least four organized groups of different Roseland residents are resisting Santa Rosa development plans being pushed through by the city Planning and Economic Development department staff at this time. Underlying the discontent which has been brewing in Roseland for many years is the city approach of “TINA.” “There is no alternative!” This tyrannical top-down approach by the city of Santa Rosa, and also the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, has long rankled many Roseland residents.
What is raising the hackles of many folks in Roseland now is the fact the city is STILL following the mandates of the 30-year-old Southwest Area Plan (SWAP). Though many more people now live in the 1.2 square mile Roseland area the city, and the paid consultants leading many of the development plans for the city do not want to recognize there is real displeasure with the city plans. Many people feel the 5-year-old Roseland Specific Plan was just a renewal of the same old SWAP plan without making any real improvements for the residents living in Roseland now.
The city has been running roughshod over Roseland for so many years the staff does not seek out true authentic community engagement in the planning process for developments or public policy decision making. The traffic concerns accompanying the rapid population increase in Roseland is very bothersome to many residents.
Read more at https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/respect-roseland-resistance/
Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The company that operates an asphalt plant near downtown Santa Rosa has outlined how it intends to comply with city noise rules it currently violates.
Following noise complaints from several neighbors over the summer, the BoDean Co. performed a sound study that confirmed its Maxwell Drive plant exceeds permissible noise levels, especially at night.
The company recently submitted a plan for how it intends over the next six months to reduce the racket created by heavy machinery that heats sand and gravel, mixes it with oily binder and dumps loads of hot, goopy asphalt into awaiting trucks.
“It’s going to be a significant investment,” said Bill Williams, general manager of BoDean. “This equipment is older equipment, so that’s one reason it’s so noisy.
”After a neighborhood group that wants greater restrictions on the plant paid for a sound study, the company conducted its own. That analysis found the plant exceeded the noise limits by up to 7 decibels during the daytime and 13 decibels at night. While the findings didn’t perfectly match neighbors’, the figures were close.
The company proposed a three-phase plan to muffle the noise. The first phase would be to build a noise-dampening wall around a large piece of equipment called a baghouse, which Williams likened to a large vacuum cleaner.
Rear more at: Santa Rosa’s BoDean asphalt plant takes steps to | The Press Democrat
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A surge of interest in natural foods, local sourcing and environmental sustainability is bringing new life to the Civil War-era Grange movement, driving participation and restoring its relevance among modern folks yearning for connection to one another and to the food they consume.
The Sebastopol Grange — part of the nationwide farmers alliance that spans 147 years of agricultural development, economic expansion and vast social change — is among the groups that are thriving, its membership surpassing 200 people just a few years after its existence was threatened.
“It’s a process of revitalizing community,” President Jerry Allen said. “It’s going on all over, and it’s sure going on here.”
Granges in Sonoma Valley, Bennett Valley, Petaluma, Windsor, Bodega Bay and Hessel also are gathering strength, building community and blending a long-held commitment to the land with more contemporary views about how best to sustain it in a changing world.
Read more via New life at Sonoma County’s historic Granges | The Press Democrat.
Lois Fisher, PRESS DEMOCRAT
It is decision time again for Santa Rosa regarding the Courthouse Square reunification project. The street that currently bisects the square will be removed.
The Environmental Impact Report has options for including or omitting the proposed side streets, Hinton and Exchange avenues. Is this situation like buying a car? Are we trying to decide whether to add a sunroof or not to this proposal?
True plazas have one thing in common; they are economic engines of prosperity. Think of Union Square in San Francisco. It is a premier shopping district and the most visited neighborhood in the worlds most visited city.
In Sonoma County, Healdsburg and Sonoma’s plazas are the centers of commerce for those towns. All three of these successful squares (and towns) have public streets on all four sides.
Streets supply the lifeblood of economic activity to a square. If Courthouse Square was to have just Exchange Avenue (the western street) and not Hinton Avenue (the eastern street) it would become an “attached” plaza. Attached plazas can feel like they are the private front yard of the buildings that directly front them, instead of being truly public. Great plazas telegraph to everyone that they are public and open to all by their design — the public streets that surround them.
via Close to home: Courthouse Square needs side streets | The Press Democrat.