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  1. TopTop #1
    Valet Posting Service's Avatar
    Valet Posting Service
    WaccoBB Valet Posting Service

    How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    [From The Gravenstein]

    What's that you say?!? Re-design Sebastopol?Downtown design issues are becoming a challenge. The amount of traffic filtering through our community because of a growing Sonoma county is just one problem we are all familiar with. But that brings with it development. There are a few properties downtown that could easily fall prey to fast-food or chain businesses that would turn Sebastopol into a wasteland of corporate mediocrity.

    Sound extreme? May I remind you of CVS? So...

    The City Council has recently formed a subcommittee of Councilmembers Sarah Glade Gurney and John Eder, and local Planning Consultant Marsha Sue Lustig and Architect Lars Langberg to engage the community in a proactive program designed to provide preferred development information to potential developers of the old downtown lumberyard site (the tractor place across from Screaming Mimi's) located at Petaluma Avenue and Depot St.

    In other words - developers would design the property in a way determined by the community - YOU!

    Urban Designer Lois Fisher of Fisher Town Design (that seems like a cool business), will present a short program of successful downtowns adjacent to plazas like ours. Then YOU will have an opportunity to weigh in on how YOU think the site should be developed. This information will be used to craft a Community handout about the design of this specific parcel, and presented to the City Council to consider our options.

    This is a fun and interactive event that helps Sebastopol grow in a responsible and community-friendly direction.

    And it includes YOU.

    Bring your ideas. Bring your drawings. Bring your friends.
    Last edited by Barry; 06-27-2014 at 11:42 AM.
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  3. TopTop #2
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

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  4. TopTop #3
    Ted Pole's Avatar
    Ted Pole
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    I guess the idea of it being a lumberyard is out of the question, huh?

    How about an artisanal lumberyard?

    What if they put a wine tasting room/restaurant/art gallery in the lumberyard?

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  6. TopTop #4
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Not enough of those in the Barlow for you?

    Quote Ted Pole wrote: View Post
    I guess the idea of it being a lumberyard is out of the question, huh?

    How about an artisanal lumberyard?

    What if they put a wine tasting room/restaurant/art gallery in the lumberyard?

    Last edited by Bella Stolz; 06-30-2014 at 10:41 AM.
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  8. TopTop #5
    navgal
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote Sara S wrote: View Post
    Not enough of those in the Barlow for you?
    Turn it into a parking garage to alleviate Sebastopol's terrible parking problem
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    caberens's Avatar
    caberens
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote navgal wrote: View Post
    Turn it into a parking garage to alleviate Sebastopol's terrible parking problem
    How about a small parking area and the rest grass, park, trees.
    Last edited by Bella Stolz; 07-02-2014 at 11:48 AM.
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  12. TopTop #7
    Richard Nichols's Avatar
    Richard Nichols
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Sebastopol doesn't have a terrible parking problem. The problem is that people are unwilling to walk a few blocks. The parking lots at the Vets/Art center always has some space. Please don't advocate for a parking garage at a prime location that can tie the older and new downtown together with thoughful planning.

    Quote navgal wrote: View Post
    Turn it into a parking garage to alleviate Sebastopol's terrible parking problem
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  14. TopTop #8
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote navgal wrote: View Post
    Turn it into a parking garage to alleviate Sebastopol's terrible parking problem
    If I want to see a parking structure, I can just go to the scenic backside of the Santa Rosa Mall. It's the last thing that I want dominating our town. I can't think of anything more unfriendly and sterile than a central spot dedicated to cars instead of people. As we walk past it we can reflect on the fact that space dedicated to peds can be squeezed in without impingeing too much on that allocated for really valuable users like vehicles.
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  16. TopTop #9
    spam1's Avatar
    spam1
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Anyone ask the Tractor guy how he feels? Maybe he would like to keep selling tractors.
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  18. TopTop #10
    Richard Nichols's Avatar
    Richard Nichols
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    I wonder how many tractors they sell. I seldom see any cars in the parking spaces. And the open yard is slowly turning into an unsightly junkyard.

    Quote spam1 wrote: View Post
    Anyone ask the Tractor guy how he feels? Maybe he would like to keep selling tractors.
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  19. TopTop #11
    cynctysings's Avatar
    cynctysings
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Sebastopol in the days of my youth and early adulthood was a completely self sufficient town where you could buy anything necessary for your family, but it was also a drive thru town on the way to the River. There was always traffic in the summer and always a problem at the Pellini corner. It has been talked about for at least 50 years. This is just the latest group of folks addressing it.

    I am an advocate of the arts and of walking. I love that we have bicycle trails and a vibrant population that is on its feet and able to navigate their way around. But still, as one who drives as well as walks this town, it is obvious to me that Sebastopol DOES have a parking problem for those who are not able to walk the distance between the Vets Bldg lot and downtown. And there are many times when that lot IS full. Not always, granted. but many. It, also, DOES have a parking problem for those who spend a good amount of time trying to navigate their way through lots that are not particularly user friendly. The Whole Foods lot and the Sebastopol Plaza lot both come to mind. If, in fact, we want to keep our dollars inside our city limits, as we all say we do, then we need to come to terms with making it possible for shoppers to park easily near the businesses that we would have them patronize. There must be a balance struck. And I suggest that if a parking structure is NOT implemented sometime, somewhere near the downtown corridor, not only will we end up utilizing at least twice the amount of land to make parking lots, but we will continue to see our dollars drive to Santa Rosa to be spent.

    I do not advocate for a Santa Rosa style cement behemoth to be plunked down in the middle of Sebastopol; we are too committed to the arts here to allow that to happen. I DO, however, think that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Perhaps not at this location, but somewhere close to Main Street, more parking is necessary.

    Balance, between all the factions that live here, is just what I seek. Cyclists are not the enemy. Walkers are not the enemy. And drivers of cars are not the enemy. We just need to figure this out.


    Quote Richard Nichols wrote: View Post
    Sebastopol doesn't have a terrible parking problem. The problem is that people are unwilling to walk a few blocks. The parking lots at the Vets/Art center always has some space. Please don't advocate for a parking garage at a prime location that can tie the older and new downtown together with thoughful planning.
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  21. TopTop #12
    bushin's Avatar
    bushin
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    a great place for Sebastopol Center for the Arts......or somewhere for teens to gather that is pleasant.

    Quote caberens wrote: View Post
    How about a small parking area and the rest grass, park, trees.
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  23. TopTop #13
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote cynctysings wrote: View Post
    Balance, between all the factions that live here, is just what I seek. Cyclists are not the enemy. Walkers are not the enemy. And drivers of cars are not the enemy. We just need to figure this out.
    that's an accurate way to describe the issue. Balance is a terminal state, though - after things shift around, by definition it's in balance. The question is what's the heaviest contributor. That shouldn't be cars, and it shouldn't be the need to make access to downtown as easy as possible.

    The way the Barlow has been developing, it's pretty clear that the daily population of Sebastopol will be much larger than it is today. "Keeping money in town" isn't the major issue. I doubt it is even for the owners of shops downtown. Unless there's a bigger constituency for turning Sebastopol into an outdoor mall than I think there is, problems with inconvenient parking should be somewhat welcomed. That would be a sign that the town is indeed an attractive destination but hasn't gone to extremes just to accomodate the maximum amount of visitors.

    Outlying lots with trams, or rental bikes, are possible solutions too. All of these are less convenient than drive-thru or drive-to-the-door. The price of that kind of convenience is way too high.
    Last edited by Bella Stolz; 07-03-2014 at 11:37 AM.
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  25. TopTop #14
    treasure
    Guest

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    I thought the tractor yard went out of business. No?
    Tara
    treasure

    Quote Richard Nichols wrote: View Post
    I wonder how many tractors they sell. I seldom see any cars in the parking spaces. And the open yard is slowly turning into an unsightly junkyard.
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  26. TopTop #15
    gardenmaniac's Avatar
    gardenmaniac
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    and won't there be a ton of parking at the newly redesigned CVS across the street? just asking ...

    Quote Richard Nichols wrote: View Post
    Sebastopol doesn't have a terrible parking problem. The problem is that people are unwilling to walk a few blocks. The parking lots at the Vets/Art center always has some space. Please don't advocate for a parking garage at a prime location that can tie the older and new downtown together with thoughful planning.
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  27. TopTop #16

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    What about an orchard, an urban food forest of sorts? Maybe with an outdoor community kitchen. I've always loved the outdoor wood burning oven at Community Market in Santa Rosa, though I believe it is underused. In Europe, it was common for people to cook, especially on big holidays, at community kitchens, sometimes at the local bakery, that sort of thing. Sign up to cook your holiday turkey, ham, leg of lamb, etc. there. I'm thinking of something like that, plus a lot of fruit trees, some citrus for the cooler months, plums, peaches, apricots and apples for summer and fall, etc.

    Sculptures, too. And benches for lingering in the shade of the trees.
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  29. TopTop #17
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote spam1 wrote: View Post
    Anyone ask the Tractor guy how he feels? Maybe he would like to keep selling tractors.

    Ron Basso
    No but I heard he came out to the Sebastopol Walks crew and said he wants to stay in business.

    You have to admit it is rather an odd use for a property adjoining a downtown plaza.

    A couple of things to keep in mind is that the city is interested developing the property further, to it's "highest and best use", that would create both additional tax revenue and, presumably, public benefits.

    Also keep in mind that Ron Basso owns it. He was there at the meeting and I'm pretty sure he's not planning on donating it for a park, urban garden, small parking area with grass, or other un-economic or otherwise magical use.


    On the other hand, to his credit, he genuinely seemed interested in having it put to good and appropriate use for being on the plaza, including having it be developed and occupied by local businesses rather than chains.

    The meeting was mostly about the physical design considerations for a successful plaza. The key new take-away that I left with was the careful consideration should be given to the slightly awkward connection between the plaza and McKinley Street, which is the natural connector to The Barlow.

    In particular the NorthWest corner of whatever is built on the tractor property should have and additional setback (perhaps with outdoor cafe?) to help make the connection more inviting. I'm glad to see that the upcoming Village Building Convergence has targeted that corner for some love!
    Last edited by Barry; 07-03-2014 at 02:28 PM.
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  31. TopTop #18
    AJL's Avatar
    AJL
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Recycled building materials and such like a beautiful recycle circus / Habitat for humanity Re-use store/permaculture hangout.

    Quote Ted Pole wrote: View Post
    I guess the idea of it being a lumberyard is out of the question, huh?

    How about an artisanal lumberyard? ...
    Last edited by Bella Stolz; 07-03-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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  32. TopTop #19
    spam1's Avatar
    spam1
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Lemme get this straight...the storing of old tractors and parts is an eyesore, but artsy-fartsy junk in the same place is OK. whatever.

    How 'bout the Tractor guy just puts up a sign saying "tractor art for sale". And isn't selling old tractors -- recycling?

    Quote AJL wrote: View Post
    Recycled building materials and such like a beautiful recycle circus / Habitat for humanity Re-use store/permaculture hangout.
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  34. TopTop #20
    cynctysings's Avatar
    cynctysings
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Yes, balance is a terminal state. I, however, disagree that the main issue here is NOT the need to access downtown easily. For years now, it seems, the 'need' to keep cars at the edge of things has been the prevailing wisdom. And, for those of us who are ambulatory, that is an ok thing. But what about those of us who are less able to get around on foot than others? Are we not supposed to be a town that welcomes diversity and watches out for those with disabilities? Does this inclusion end when the ease of movement includes having to rely on motorized transportation?

    I am not talking about drive thru or drive to the door accessibility, only reasonable distance. As for needing to keep money in town not being an issue, I think that polling the downtown merchants might bring a different answer. It is definitely an issue for those paying rent to keep stores open. And there is a huge difference between turning Sebastopol into an outdoor mall and having a reasonable amount of parking available.

    I quite like the idea of edge of town parking with a more regularly scheduled transit system or even bike cabs... rental bikes for those who can't bike on their own.. as an alternative. Those both seem doable and able to serve ALL the residents, as well as the visitors. And, yes, the CVS will come with parking. Perhaps that will handle the parking issue without having to add any more cement to the downtown area. Whatever happens, I am grateful for this forum in which to give my opinion and read those of others. Thanks for that.


    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    that's an accurate way to describe the issue. Balance is a terminal state, though - after things shift around, by definition it's in balance. The question is what's the heaviest contributor. That shouldn't be cars, and it shouldn't be the need to make access to downtown as easy as possible...
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  36. TopTop #21
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote cynctysings wrote: View Post
    I, however, disagree that the main issue here is NOT the need to access downtown easily. For years now, it seems, the 'need' to keep cars at the edge of things has been the prevailing wisdom. And, for those of us who are ambulatory, that is an ok thing. But what about those of us who are less able to get around on foot than others?
    to be flippant, that's why they call it a disability. It does make things harder. There are more limited ways of dealing with that issue, too - like limited handicapped parking in close. Or good bus service.
    I quite like the idea of edge of town parking with a more regularly scheduled transit system or even bike cabs... .
    creative, different solutions have to be tried unless we want to follow the path so many cities have. It's pretty clear what a big lump of cars does to the feel of a town. There's no way around that reality. the 'little bit pregnant' cliche starts to apply.
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  37. TopTop #22
    scamperwillow's Avatar
    scamperwillow
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    And now we can think of what to do with the new 4 "extra" parcels where CVS is building!

    See today's PD about the 4 parcels: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140702/articles/140709906

    And Here:
    https://www.facebook.com/SebastopolTomorrow

    And here: http://sebastopoltomorrow.org/
    Last edited by Barry; 07-04-2014 at 12:14 PM.
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  38. TopTop #23
    jewelbridge
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    When our Sebastopol Walking group walked by the luberyard/tractor property on Saturday the owner came out and was VERY ANGRY!!! He heard mention of the 'idea' to plan a use for this property. He started yelling "I am not leaving here." I have a good business. We told him we were just discussing the options for the future and he was welcome to come to the meeting. He would NOT hear it!!! He got MORE ANGRY and kept yelling he is not leaving that location....and other resentments .... we moved on...
    Jewelbridge

    Quote Richard Nichols wrote: View Post
    I wonder how many tractors they sell. I seldom see any cars in the parking spaces. And the open yard is slowly turning into an unsightly junkyard.
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  40. TopTop #24
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote Richard Nichols wrote: View Post
    I wonder how many tractors they sell. I seldom see any cars in the parking spaces. And the open yard is slowly turning into an unsightly junkyard.
    funny, I kinda like junkyards - gives us the rural, hillbilly look. I find too much flavor of a suburban paradise makes an area uninviting; signs of people's activities are interesting. I actually like the approach to Santa Rosa from the south on Santa Rosa Blvd -- so I guess I've just blown my credibility as a civic design critic, eh?
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  42. TopTop #25
    Richard Nichols's Avatar
    Richard Nichols
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Well that's very nieghborly. I guess he knows that a bunch of scruffy walkers would not be buying a tractor anytime soon. Maybe a complaint to city planning about the junkyard would get his attention.
    I did buy from them when they were in Graton, but I got bad advice and the wrong item and have'nt been back.

    With all that said, the tractor owner has a perfect right to do business there. I don't think the city would do anything to get him out, but why is he so obviously threatened that he has to yell a a group of people? Not good for biz and I do not appreciate his behavior towards innocent people.

    Quote jewelbridge wrote: View Post
    When our Sebastopol Walking group walked by the luberyard/tractor property on Saturday the owner came out and was VERY ANGRY!!! He heard mention of the 'idea' to plan a use for this property. He started yelling "I am not leaving here." I have a good business. We told him we were just discussing the options for the future and he was welcome to come to the meeting. He would NOT hear it!!! He got MORE ANGRY and kept yelling he is not leaving that location....and other resentments .... we moved on...
    Jewelbridge
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  44. TopTop #26
    Ted Pole's Avatar
    Ted Pole
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    The problem with all of these decisions is that it boils down to taste. The taste of the urban planners, architects, developers, business owners and maybe the general public.

    On the one hand, there is the charm of existing/older buildings with their patinas of age and range of shapes and materials that give a town its personality and style. These buildings are almost always replaced by the sad, cold geometry of modernist and post-modernist design dogmas. They are "planned developments" of generic ideas by architects and planners intent upon bending a community to fit their vision, rather than the other way around.



    Vocabulary Word of the Day


    goes to Ted Pole for
    simulacrum

    A simulacrum is a representation
    or imitation of a person or thing.[1]
    The word was first recorded in the
    English language in the late 16th century,
    used to describe a representation,
    such as a statue or a painting,
    especially of a god.
    By the late 19th century, it had gathered
    a secondary association of inferiority:
    an image without the substance or
    qualities of the original....
    [Barry]

    Coupled with the developers lust for optimized profit-per-square-foot returns, the aesthetics of retail spaces are a challenge to any community grasping to hold on to the evaporating simulacrum of its history.

    The results are often like The Barlow, which seems to me like it can't decide on whether it wants to be an office park or a concentration camp. The hard cold angles, the sameness of the buildings, and the uniformity of the signage all conspire to make for an utterly charmless neighborhood geared solely toward the retail experience. The area it replaced, chockablock with old metal warehouses of different colors and sizes might have, in a perfect world, been refurbished and upgraded, keeping the facades intact, split into individual spaces for retail, and kept the charm of being a "warehouse district" in a tiny farming town.

    I think The Barlow will be nice in about fifty years, once age and rust have tempered the cold, shiny material and the vegetation has softened the geometry a lot. In other words, once it looks a lot more like the buildings it replaced and tries to conjure.

    And the new design for the CVS Shopping Center evokes a similar disappointment. It appears to be the same brutal geometry of the off ramp retail you find in every town on 101 from Petaluma to Windsor. In "our" unique design it is painted in bland earth tones and set back from the sidewalk, creating a green space just large enough to be utterly useless. The lack of signage evokes an anonymous, creepy brutality that even the imported palm trees can't soften.

    I look at the "before" picture of the old Chevy dealer and see a nicely differentiated set of spaces, where even the signage (bold and unsightly by current standards) helps to simultaneously break up the uniformity of the structures, and join them as a whole.

    Again, this is a situation where the actual forms of the "old" buildings were superior to the ones that replace them in terms of human scale, personality, and history.

    But then, that's just my taste.

    And when "we" decide what to do with the tractor lot, whose taste will prevail?

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  45. TopTop #27
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Been here longer than anywhere else in this long life: 40 years next year. During that time, the construction of Warm Springs set off the land grab that brought about what we now have. I remember an oldish gent who used to walk down 116 out of town in the direction of Cotati, swinging his cane threateningly and shouting at the traffic. He knew what was coming. I understand the anger of the owner of the tractor store. Growing old and irrelevant, bushy & ear-whiskery, while the smooth new people roll over all the history the town holds. In my opinion we've come a long way down the wrong road and it's time to stop and reconsider. Architecture, like history, reflects the prejudices of the victorious, though thet may only be the Chamber of Commerce.

    On another note, I'm going with friends to hear Judy Collins tomorrow night at SSU. (Shocking to realize she's my age!)

    Quote Ted Pole wrote: View Post
    The problem with all of these decisions is that it boils down to taste. The taste of the urban planners, architects, developers, business owners and maybe the general public. ....
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  47. TopTop #28
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    funny, I kinda like junkyards - gives us the rural, hillbilly look. I find too much flavor of a suburban paradise makes an area uninviting; signs of people's activities are interesting. I actually like the approach to Santa Rosa from the south on Santa Rosa Blvd -- so I guess I've just blown my credibility as a civic design critic, eh?
    Nah, I think you might be on to something. I propose a lumberyard for that location. As the regional hub for west county the need for a lumberyard is apparent. Why go to Santa Rosa? Perhaps Friedman's will see their way clear to an outpost in Sebastopol. Except for Berry's Sawmill out in Cazadero there is no decent lumberyard in west county. Rise up against the suburban mall model!! Yeeccchhh!! I'm also a wee bit weary of the tidy tech-y enlightened look of The Barlow.
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  49. TopTop #29
    theindependenteye's Avatar
    theindependenteye
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    I'm a bit confused about the "fun event" announced for planning re. the lumberyard/tractor site. I certainly see the point of long-range planning for the downtown area, and doing so for the Pellini site prior to shit hitting fan might have prevented lots of headaches. But unless I'm mistaken, there's a business operating there. Are we intending to establish a precedent for targeting properties that are in use for the sake of pushing developers to find "better" uses? How about a dog-grooming salon where Main Stage West is doing that useless theatrical stuff, or Payday Loans in place of Mimi's?

    Cheers, in a puzzled sort of wayŚ
    Conrad
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  50. TopTop #30
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: How should old lumberyard/tractor property on Sebastopol Plaza be developed?

    Quote Ted Pole wrote: View Post
    On the one hand, there is the charm of existing/older buildings with their patinas of age and range of shapes and materials that give a town its personality and style. These buildings are almost always replaced by the sad, cold geometry of modernist and post-modernist design dogmas.
    as I drove south today through Petaluma, I noticed the contrast of what straddles 101 near Washington with what the old fairgrounds/racetrack area used to be like. Now it's nice pastel slabs of stucco giving a softened corridor effect. At least they've figured out not to make unbroken 30-foot tall panels running for hundreds of feet. But you still see occasionally-broken-up 30 foot tall panels for hundreds of feet. I suspect that it wouldn't take much for that look to overtake our downtown as well. I agree with the feeling that the Barlow needs aging/weathering - certainly when it was empty it did seem pretty harsh too. But I'm very thankful for the lack of stucco.
    Last edited by podfish; 07-04-2014 at 09:35 AM. Reason: shpellling
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