Sunday, June 26, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council - June 28th


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley of Concerned Citizens for Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this week's Council agenda:

Friends:  There is a 2PM Study Session before the 4PM meeting

3.1 Outlining the Polling Results.  This is to relate information gained regarding public sentiment on City services and matters that may come before the voting public in November.  It's about public sentiment on City financial matters such as extending sales taxes for specific purposes. CCSR has been encouraging the Council to place a reform measure on November's ballot for Measure O, that will change its formula for an ever-increasing budget for the Police and Fire Departments to a more moderate mechanism.  It looks as if the pollsters recommend that action to amend Measure O be delayed to a future year - disappointing.

14.1 City of Santa Rosa Wastewater Revenue Refunding bonds.  The City's wastewater system has over $250 million in bonds and State loans outstanding.
    More info below:

14.2 Collaborative Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Santa Rosa and the Santa Rosa School District to achieve low and/or moderate income housing for School District employees on Fir Ridge Drive.  Previous agreements had a deadline that this MOU extends up to 3 years and empowers the City Manager to extend farther if necessary.  This project has been under discussion since 1988.   I plan to encourage the Council to delineate their process for deciding whether low income or moderate income (or both) housing will be built, using guidelines that make sense for our current dire housing needs.

14.3 Appointment of Interim City Attorney.  The City Council seeks to relieve Interim City Attorney Molly Dillon while the city conducts a recruitment for the permanent City attorney position.   Interim City Attorney services will be provided to the City by the law firm of Renee Sloan Hotlzman Sakai LLP.

See you there!   Anne

Anne Seeley

484-8722 (cell)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council Agenda, June 21st


Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for her analysis of this week's Council agenda.

Friends:   Happy Father's Day, everyone!
There are no Study Sessions before the 4PM meeting.

7 Staff Briefings
   7.1 Courthouse Square Reunification Project Update.   Staff will update the Council on the progress of the project.
   12.1 Contract Award for the City Hall Demonstration Garden and Low Impact Retrofit.  Work is to begin in August.

    12.5 First Amendment to the Miscellaneous Employees Contract for Wellness Services. The aim is to increase fitness and decrease health risk factors.

    12.6 The same wellness services for Public Safety employees.  The cost for both sets of services is $300,000 total.

    12.7 Appointment of the Interim City Attorney and Establishment of Compensation.  The appointee is Assistant City Attorney Molly Dillon and her initial compensation will be approximately $180,000.

   14.1 Extend and Modify CityBus Inter-Operator Transfer Policy to include SMART.  SMART riders will  be able to transfer multiple times without additional fares on CityBus within a 2 hour time limit. Hooray!  Some planning for connection to the train is so welcome!
    Service will also be extended to Golden Gate Transit and Sonoma County Transit.

   20.1 Upcoming meetings.  I'm particularly interested to see that next week, the Council will hear the results of polling the City has done regarding likely tax measures to go on the November ballot.    Measure O needs (IMHO) revision to be placed on the ballot to allow voters to make reasonable changes to it, but it might not happen.  Measure P, which will sunset in 2 years, needs renewal.  What else was polled, I don't know.

See you there!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Santa Rosa City Council Agenda, June 14th

Thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this week's Santa Rosa City Council meeting agenda:

There is no study session before this 4PM meeting
  12.1 Intention to Reimburse for the Courthouse Square Reunification Project (CSR Project).  Without a vote by the Council to reimburse the City's General Fund after the planned bond financing vehicle comes through, by law the General Fund wouldn't be able to be reimbursed.

14.1 City Agreements for Homeless Services.  Its partners in providing services are the Community Action Partnership and Catholic Charities. 

  14.2 Contract for Professional Services Agreement with Urban Economics, at a cost of $227,200, to complete the nexus studies already underway that are necessary to update 4 current Impact Fees for development.  Added (remarkably, as this has been suggested for years) will be a nexus study for a commercial linkage fee.

  14.3 Professional Services Agreement for the Southeast Greenway project work.  This year-long study will result in a General Plan Amendment, Rezoning and EIR for this 57-acre gem of a land use conversion project.

  14.4 Second Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) .   This work will allow the completion of the Housing Action Plan that was just unveiled last week.  Much work is still needed on it to make it useful.

  14.5 Rescinding Stage 1 - Mandatory of the Santa Rosa Urban Water Shortage Contingency Plan,  Starting in 2014, the council adopted, at the State's direction, water saving measures to reduce community-wide water consumption by 20%. After a better rain year, the State has eased its drought restriction.
It makes such good sense to me to keep the regulation to limit landscape irrigation to the hours of 8PM to 4AM.  Why let water be evaporated off of landscape areas?
  14.6 Amendment to the Measure O Implementation Plan.  This amendment would take 6 affirmative votes.    After voters passed the Measure O quarter cent sales tax measure in 2004, the Council approved an Implementation Plan for use of the funds.  There's a high bar for altering the Plan, for good reason.
  In November, 2015 the Council approved a new format for the Implementation Plan and this vote will ratify those changes.  See below for more information:

Public Hearings  Item 15.1 will likely be started at this 6/14 meeting, but then will continue at the 9AM session the next day, June 15 at 9AM.  Item 15.3 will be on 6/15 also.
15.2 Adoption of the City of Santa Rosa FY 2016/17 Operations and Maintenance Budget and FY 2016/17 Capital Improvement  Program Budget.

  15.3 Approval of Fees for Recreation and Parks Facilities and Services.  This Public Hearing will be held after the General Fund Budget item, on 6/15.  See below for more information:

I won't see you there.  I'll be out of town that day, but I hope some of you attend and tune in.
Thanks!    Anne

Anne Seeley
484-8722 (cell)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Santa Rosa Housing Plan Discussion, Jun 3rd.

Greetings! Here is a great discussion of what the Santa Rosa City Council is trying to do to respond to the affordable housing/homeless services needs of our community.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Santa Rosa Planning Commission - Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Area Plan Review, June 9th


Thanks to our friend, Duane Dewitt, and his friends Trish and Greg Tartarian, for this letter expressing the concerns of many residents of Southwest Santa Rosa.

June 8, 2016

Jessica Jones, Senior Planner, City of Santa Rosa
Community Development Department
City of Santa Rosa
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 543-3410 

RE: Comments on the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation projects Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) (City of Santa Rosa 2016)

Dear Ms. Jones:
We have read through the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation Projects Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) (City of Santa Rosa 2016) and we would like to express our deep concerns about three issues; the intensive development proposed in the Specific Plan Area, new roadways planned that will move many cars through the Specific Plan area that will increase dangers for pedestrians, and a severe lack of parks in the area to serve the existing residents and the many proposed new residents.

Intensive Development in the Specific Plan Area
The Roseland Area has seen more development that is medium to high density development than in other areas of Santa Rosa, except near the Coddingtown Shopping Center. We need affordable housing in Santa Rosa, but it does not need to be concentrated in our area of Roseland.

The Roseland Area has gained 8,147 new residents between 1990 and 2013, an increase of 76 % (page 3.12-1). By comparison, the rest of the City of Santa Rosa grew by 49% and Sonoma County by 10% between 1990 and 2013 (page 3.12-1). Renter-occupied housing represents a greater share of units in the Plan Area (54%) compared to the City (47%) and County (40%) (page 3.12-1).

As residents who live, work and own property in our neighborhood that is within the Annexation Area, we support development along Sebastopol Road and north along the Joe Redota Trail. 
However, the proposed Specific Plan Area shows Hearn Avenue as Medium-High density and Transit Village Medium density, as shown on the Proposed Land Use Plan (page 2.0-17).We understand this reflects the new transit hub that is to be located at the Southwest Community Park.

However, along with this proposed increase in density along Hearn Avenue, there has also been a proposed change from very low residential along Burbank Avenue to Medium –Low residential development. As one of the last undeveloped areas in the area of annexation, Burbank Avenue should not be developed as Medium-Low residential development; it should remain as Very Low Residential to support park lands and maintain the current scenic road designation, rather than become contiguous with growth along Sebastopol Road and Hearn Avenue, which are larger streets that can better handle the increased population, vehicular traffic, and infrastructure.

The plan proposes 5,759 single-family and 3,039 multi-family units in the Specific Plan Buildout, an increase of existing conditions of 2,358 and 1,244 units, respectively. Figure 10, Planned and Proposed Development in the Plan Area, identified the number of proposed projects that have been approved for the Plan Area, which includes 1,301 units, of which 318 are affordable units and 983 are market rate units. However, Figure 10, contains several errors and did not include several proposed development that are already included in the April 2015 City of Santa Rosa Pending Development Report, including Lantana Place (2875 Dutton Meadows) with 96 units of multi-family and Stony Village North (2729 Stony Point Road) with 40 units detached. This increases the number of Market Rate Units to 1,023 and the Affordable Units to 414for a total proposed all units to 1,437 not the 1,301 units identified in Figure 10.

We need to ensure that affordable projects are distributed more equitably throughout all areas of the city, rather than concentrating them in one already high-density quadrant, such as the Specific Plan Area.

Higher-Speed Roadways Crossing Through Specific Plan Area
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Network of Santa Rosa, created in 2011, provided background information used in the Transportation Section (Chapter 5) in the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035, in which Burbank Avenue (which has already been classified as a Scenic Road) was identified as a Class II Bicycle Road. However, in the Specific Plan, there are several new local roads proposed along the east side of Burbank Avenue.

Roseland Creek Elementary School is located on Burbank Avenue and currently supports 405 students with a capacity of 700 students. Some of the children walk to school, but the majority of students are driven to school. With the current number of students in the school, traffic is stopped on Burbank Avenue for the parents waiting to pick up their children between 7:45 - 8:30 am and between 2:30-3:30 pm. If we increase the number of roads connecting to or bisecting Burbank Avenue, the resultant heavy increase in traffic will create even more, major traffic congestion on Burbank Avenue.

There is also proposed a major road to connect Hearn Avenue to Northpoint Parkway to facilitate further development in the western portion of Southwest Santa Rosa. That would connect Northpoint Parkway, with speeds of 45 miles per hour, to Hearn Avenue – the only access from Highway 101 - crossing Burbank Avenue. The Southwest Community Park is identified as a major park with the Specific Plan that serves the Roseland Area. However, introducing these higher-speed roadways through the Specific Plan area will bisect the area with heavy, faster-moving vehicular traffic, reducing access and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. These new roadways would also negatively impact the scenic character, aesthetic value, and natural/cultural integrity of the scenic roadway, and negatively affect the quality of life and safety for existing residents, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Severe Lack of Parks for the Roseland Area
One of the Goals identified for the Specific Plan is “To make life and the physical environment better for plan area residents and employees.” (Page 2.0-2).  We feel this can be achieved by increasing the number of parks for the existing residents.

As stated in the DEIR (Page 2.0-1), the Specific Plan Area is 1,860 acres, which includes 1,220 acres of incorporated city land and 640 acres of unincorporated county land. The population within the incorporated city land is 18,918, while the population within the Annexation area is 6,594. Chapter 3.13, Public Services states (page 3.13-10) that the standard of six acres of parkland per 1,000 residents is comprised of 3.5 acres of city park, 1.4 acres accessible school recreational land and 1.1 acres of open space. Based on the current population of 18,918 residents in the Plan Area, a total of 113.5 acres of parks is required for the existing residents.

Although the Chapter also states (Page 3.13-13) that the General Plan 2035 Land Use Diagram shows eight proposed community and neighborhood parks in the project area, there are only five identified. All of the others are located outside the Plan Area. The Chapter also states (page 3.13-9) that there are six additional neighborhood parks identified for the project area, as shown in the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035. However, Figure 6-1actually shows parks that are outside the project area, and one on Dutton Avenue that is actually a proposed medium-density residential development, not a park.

Although it is stated on Page 3.13-14 that a sufficient number of new parks are planned in the project area to serve anticipated growth, we don’t agree with this statement is accurate, based on calculations. Not enough parkland occurs for the existing population let alone the addition of almost 10,000 people.

One of the few areas left undeveloped is along Burbank Avenue. If we assume the City is going to create parks for those areas of Roseland that are already developed, and ignore the addition of 9,662 residents approved by the proposed plan, we will still need 113 acres of parks for the existing residents. The only place to put that park acreage is on Burbank Avenue. Placing parks on the outskirts of existing development will require people to drive to the park area instead of walk.  Perhaps another urban garden, like Bayer Farm, should be built.

Within the Santa Rosa General Plan 2035 (Page 6-15) under Public Services and Facilities, the following goals are also identified:
PSF-A-5 Developing areas of the city (e.g., southwest Santa Rosa) should be given a higher priority for new park development, and underserved neighborhoods should be given priority during redevelopment and renovation of the park system. Priority for park development should also be given to areas of greatest density and areas that allow for safe and easy access and visibility. Priority should also be given to locations that minimize impacts to sensitive environmental resources that could require extensive and expansive mitigation; the most sensitive environmental resource areas should generally be preserved for more passive recreation that assures their protection.

One way to achieve this goal is to create more natural parks, like that of Roseland Creek Park, which was designed so that very little hardscape would be developed. This prevents the need for mitigation for loss of habitat for California tiger salamander.
PSF-A-9 When building new parks, consider expanding existing parks or consolidating proposed parks to provide larger acreage and greater range of recreation activities, while maintaining park standards.

One way to achieve this goal is to create a recreational park on Burbank Avenue located across from Sheppard Middle School and designate it for youth recreation only.

Based on the increased rate of growth in the Plan Area (76%), compared to the rest of the City of Santa Rosa (49%) and Sonoma County (10%), and the fact that the renter-occupied housing represents a greater share of units in the Plan Area (54%) compared to the City (47%) and County (40%), it is clear that not enough consideration of existing population and conditions is being taken into account.

We feel that the proposed planning for the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Specific Plan and Roseland Area Annexation area is far too intensive and will result in overcrowding, excessive traffic, reduced safety, and loss of remaining areas for much-needed parklands. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

S.R. City Council Mtg Agenda, Jun 5th


Our thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for this analysis of this week's City Council agenda.

The City Council will start meeting at 1PM in Closed Session with Labor negotiators; then with Legal Counsel about 3 potential cases of litigation.   I'm telling you this so you'll know they work hard for their large salaries.

4PM   There are no study sessions.

  14.1 Re-imagining CityBus Final PLan.    After a Public Hearing on May 24, where many speakers had comments on the draft plan, this plan is recommended.

  14.2 Santa Rosa Housing Report #5:  Housing Action Plan.   Starting in February, the Council set out on an investigation of what the problems and potential solutions are for the lack of affordable housing.  This is Report 5 of 6 total planned.

  14.3 Proposed Neighborhood Streets Initiative.
    Staff will present a proposed plan asking the City Council to fund (for $3 million) and initiate the plan.  Staff presented the idea to the Community Advisory Board (CAB) and what will be presented is CAB's recommendation.
     Santa Rosa's street quality ranks 82nd out of 109 Bay Area cities.  Read below and see why this approach for improvements is being suggested.

See you there!    Anne

Anne Seeley

484-8722 (cell)

And from our friend, Adrienne Lauby, of Homeless Action, for her alert on the Housing Action Plan.

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday, the Santa Rosa City Council takes
up a looooonnnnnng list of housing policy changes.

Please attend and speak up.

Estimated start of item -- 5 pm. It could come
earlier as meeting starts at 4 pm or later since it's
not first. (these meetings are notoriously unpredictable)
100 Santa Rosa Ave.

We've asked the Council to revamp how they handle
housing in order to get more low-rent units built!

We've asked them to spend more money to subsidize
housing for poor people!

We've asked them to allow innovative ideas and
alternative types of housing!

We've asked them to tell developers that they must
build low-rent units in every project!

This list of changes could, cumulatively, do much of
what we've asked for.  And, wouldn't it be great to have a
bond measure on the Nov. ballot to raise money to
subsidize low-income housing projects?

Here's some of the items they are considering:

*Non-discrimination for VASH (Veterans) and HUD (Section 8) users

*Permit speeding up the process for approving housing--
this could include changes to public comment opportunities,
hillside ordinance, or mitigation for tiger salamanders

*Inclusionary housing and impact fees-- poor people's houses
in every development.

*Jobs - housing linkage fees - when people put in a large
new business they have to contribute to housing their

*A major bond for new affordable housing before the voters
in November.

and more...

From the Staff prepared "Housing Action Plan" (attached):

Pg 14 (item 2) The developer dedicates parcels for the for-
sale inclusionary units to a land trust -- It never gets more

Pg 17 Incentives for creating smaller units that are less
expensive by design -- Reward developers who build homes
for low-income people.

Pg 18  (Item 2) Review and revise provisions for “internal
conversion” of existing single family units to include “accessory
dwelling units -- Let people build on a space for additional
people in their houses

pg 22  Consider strategic acquisition and “banking” of land
suitable for affordable housing development -- buy property
that could be used for low-rent housing.

Homeless Action! member

(707) 795-2890

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday, June 3rd, Upcoming Important Meetings


Our friend, Adrienne Lauby alerts us to the importance of next Tuesday's City Council Meeting.

The City Council is taking up a huge list of reforms in its housing policy this coming Tuesday.  It's the weeds of policy but much of it is extremely promising and I'm sure some of you will want to come support some, if not all, of it.

It's agenda Item 14.2, and here's a link to the Staff Report.  Here's a link to the actual Housing Action Plan being recommended by staff.

In terms of our work, check out pg 33-34 of the Housing Action Plan which is part of the staff report
in support of this item.  It's their community engagement section. 



Also of importance is the Planning Commission's Public Hearing on the Roseland Area/Sebastopol Road Specific Plan on June 9th at 4pm.  Here is a link to the agenda and documents.  Hard copies of the documents are going to be available for check out and return at the City Planning Department office beginning on Monday, June 6th (see email below from Jessica Jones)

Roseland Area Projects Steering Committee Members,

Please note that the agenda, staff report and associated attachments for the June 9th Planning Commission meeting, related to the Roseland Area Projects, has been posted on the City website ( 

Also, we are having additional copies of both the Specific Plan and Draft EIR printed, which will be available for anyone who wishes to borrow a copy to read at home.  We will have limited copies, so we will need them returned.  These copies should be available on Monday, June 6th.  I will send a follow-up e-mail as soon as they arrive from the printer.

Thank you and have a great weekend.


Jessica Jones | Senior Planner
Planning & Economic Development |100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3 | Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel. (707) 543-3410 | Fax (707) 543-3269 |

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 1st Homeless Talk Conversations Project


The Homeless Talk Conversations Project is beginning to engage Santa Rosans, and is planning its fall activities.  To learn more, or to become involved with its planning, visit its Facebook Page.