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  1. TopTop #1
    Zeno Swijtink's Avatar
    Zeno Swijtink

    Greenbelt Alliance supports Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Mayor Craig Litwin
    Sebastopol City Council
    7120 Bodega Avenue
    Sebastopol, CA 95472

    RE: Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Dear Mayor Litwin and Members of the City Council:

    For 50 years, Greenbelt Alliance has protected the region’s working farms and natural areas while making the Bay Area’s cities better places to live. A key component of our work is identifying where new growth should occur and which development proposals best meet the needs of the region. Our Compact Development Team endorses and advocates for livable, transit- accessible communities with a wide range of housing options for families of all sizes and income levels.

    Over the last two years, Greenbelt Alliance has been monitoring the process of adoption for the Northeast Area Plan. We have been pleased to note the interest in planning for a walkable, mixed-use development that efficiently locates new homes near to downtown. We write to encourage the adoption of a Plan that will create this type of community, while planning well for the infrastructure and resources necessary to support this growth.

    Additionally, we have recently learned about the Northeast Sebastopol Development proposed by Aldridge Management. This project calls for at least 324 homes as well as a significant amount of civic, commercial, and retail space. In addition, the proposal includes public open space adjacent to Laguna de Santa Rosa. Although it is early in the process, we are thus far pleased by much of what is proposed in the current plans. The design of the homes is compact and pedestrian-oriented, leaving plenty of room for jobs and shops that residents can access on foot. The parking provided is not excessive, and its footprint is minimized. In an effort to foster an inclusive community, the developer has committed to offering 20% of the homes at below-market rates. The project includes mitigations for flooding from the Laguna and, furthermore, presents the opportunity to affirm a healthy connection between the Laguna and the downtown core. In addition, the Smart Code codifies pedestrian-oriented design as a guiding design principle.

    The Northeast Area Specific Plan is the framework that will guide future projects in this area, and the final Specific Plan is still forthcoming. Greenbelt Alliance writes to support a finalized Northeast Area Specific Plan that will allow for projects similar to the Aldridge Management proposal: ones that feature compact, walkable development that enhances downtown Sebastopol

    Page 2 of 2

    and provides homes that people with a range of income levels can afford. In addition, this plan should effectively balance the need for new homes downtown with the desire for public open space, while additionally locating enough new residents in this area to provide support for increased Sonoma County Transit service. Once a Specific Plan is adopted, Greenbelt Alliance plans to evaluate the project proposed by Aldridge Management for potential endorsement after the developer has filed an application with the City. In the meantime, we look forward to continuing to engage in the broader Specific Plan effort.

    In closing, Greenbelt Alliance applauds the City of Sebastopol’s focus on the downtown area for new homes, jobs, and shops. This kind of development combats climate change and alleviates pressure to pave over natural areas and working farms while providing homes for the people who live and work in the community. It is our hope that the final Northeast Area Specific Plan will encourage projects such as that proposed by Aldridge Management that use land efficiently and create complete neighborhoods.



    Marla Wilson
    Livable Communities Outreach Coordinator

    Kenyon Webster
    Mary Gourley
    Dave Brennan
    Last edited by Zeno Swijtink; 05-23-2008 at 10:57 PM.
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  2. TopTop #2
    Helen Shane's Avatar
    Helen Shane
    Supporting Member

    Re: Greenbelt Alliance supports Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Sebastopol Preservation Coalition

    Important – the next meeting will be a

    Study Session of the NE Area
    Final Environmental Impact Report
    Wednesday, March 5
    Palm Drive Hospital, 7 pm

    Thanks to the endurance and persistence of all who attended the City Council meeting on February 19!

    We feel the Council owes the public an apology for keeping so many people waiting for two hours before discussing the NEAP. People were standing against the walls in the meeting room and many were standing in the foyer. We had repeatedly asked the City Manager to move the meeting to the Community Center.

    The Council meetings should be a time for the public to speak without fear of interruption for at least 3 minutes, and even applaud or stand up in agreement if they wish do do so.

    During the Council's deliberation, Council Member Kelley was unable to get a second for her motion (our request) for a study session or an agendized Council item on the General Plan changes that will affect the entire community.

    Council Member Gurney’s motion, seconded by Council Member Kelley, to postpone the first Planning Commission hearing on the Final Plan and EIR until April, to give the public more study time, was voted down by the other three Council Members. We were disappointed as this leaves the public very little time to study the new documents. The Planning Commission will take up the Final Plan and Final EIR Tuesday, March 11.

    Rezoning and abandonment of LOS traffic standards, the building height limits, water and the impacts on the community continue to be downplayed and unstudied.

    However, there is power in information, so we hope you will take the time to read and understand the final documents for the NEAP at:

    Information Days at the Sebastopol Library
    in the Forum Room
    Monday & Tuesday, March 3 & 4
    10:00 am to 8:30 pm

    Reports can also be purchased at the Planning Dept. on Johnson Street.

    The Sebastopol Preservation Coalition supports revitalization of
    the NE area within the parameters of the current General Plan.

    [email protected] or [email protected]
    or Clare Najarian at 823-1405
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  3. TopTop #3
    Helen Shane's Avatar
    Helen Shane
    Supporting Member

    Re: Greenbelt Alliance supports Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Sebastopol Preservation Coalition

    Please come to an important informational meeting on the Northeast Area Plan and find out how it will change the General Plan of Sebastopol, remove all traffic standards for Downtown Sebastopol, and about the problems in the Plan’s Environmental Impact Report.

    SPC meeting Wednesday, March 5
    Palm Drive Hospital

    7 pm

    We will help you prepare your public comments for the Planning Commission Public Hearing(s) on the Northeast Area Plan and it’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This is a very important hearing, so please be sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend:

    Planning Commission Public Hearing
    Tuesday, March 11

    Sebastopol Community Center
    7 pm

    (Note that there will be seats for all and each person can speak for 3 full minutes.)

    And - if you would like more, objective, information about the NE Area Plan and its EIR, there will also be Library Information Days at the Library Forum Room , Monday & Tuesday March 3 and 4 any time between 10:00 am – 8:30 pm with volunteers to help you access and understand the documents and a dedicated computer so you can print selected pages. A great opportunity to learn the facts.

    [email protected] or call Clare Najarian at 823-1405

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  4. TopTop #4
    Helen Shane's Avatar
    Helen Shane
    Supporting Member

    Re: Greenbelt Alliance supports Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Sebastopol Preservation Coalition

    Sebastopol Preservation Coalition
    c/o Najarian
    357 Neva St.
    Sebastopol, Ca 95472

    March 4, 2008

    Marla Wilson
    Livable Communities Outreach Coordinator
    Greenbelt Alliance
    631 Howard St. Suite 510
    San Francisco, Ca 94105

    Re: Northeast Sebastopol Development Proposal

    Dear Marla Wilson:

    We write in response to your letter dated Friday, February 15, 2008, to Mayor Litwin and Members of the City Council:

    Sebastopol Preservation Coalition shares Greenbelt Alliance’s advocacy of livable, transit-accessible communities with a wide range of housing options for families principles. In fact, SPC’s mission bolsters Greenbelt’s principles.

    SPC was formed to support Sebastopol citizens’ vision of Sebastopol:

    • ensure growth takes place in a manner which does not exceed the city’s infrastructure
    • support local businesses
    • ensure the existence of secure and adequate future water supplies for the community
    • avoid building in a flood plain
    • enhance the Laguna de Santa Rosa
    • build more affordable housing for lower income households
    • discourage traffic congestion
    • maintain Sebastopol’s small-town character

    All of this is possible within the framework of our present General Plan, painstakingly crafted and appropriately amended since 1994.

    The Northeast Area Plan seeks to amend the General Plan without thought or regard for the rest of the community:

    The Northeast Plan would abandon all traffic levels of service for not only the Northeast area, but all of Downtown Sebastopol without consideration of the effects of the overflow on neighborhood streets, Highways 116 and 12.

    The Northeast Plan would build up to four stories on top of ten feet of fill, some in a liquefaction zone.

    The Northeast Plan would build 320 housing units, 80% at market rate.

    The Northeast Plan Water Supply Assessment prepared for the Northeast Area is based on incomplete information and fallacious assumptions. It threatens not only the Plan area but also the rest of the Sebastopol community and other cities and communities in the County that rely on the same aquifer. Sebastopol relies exclusively on wells for its potable water.

    The Northeast Plan proponents have done no Economic study of the impacts on our traditional downtown.

    The Northeast Plan is unrealistic. Traffic and parking impacts of the Plan are significant and not adequately mitigated--- some comments are that mitigation is impossible. The Plan would generate 8100 new car trips each weekday, but would provide only about 240 new parking spaces. No new transit routes or services are incorporated into the Plan. We are not Davis, where bicycling is king. Our community is diverse. Not all are capable of bicycling or walking everywhere. Many who live in Sebastopol’s market area and live outside our city limits shop use their automobiles to carry purchases back to their homes.

    One of the proponents of the NE Plan at a public meeting declared that the four story buildings proposed in the NE Area would have to be five or six story buildings in order to justify mass rail transit. Shouldn’t transit be in place before creating more vehicle traffic?

    SPC offers a number of alternative scenarios that consider the entire town in increasing affordable housing, provide jobs, enhance city revenues to support the infrastructure, all within the confines of the current General Plan, and without sacrificing what makes our community unique: a small country town on the edge of a thriving Laguna de Santa Rosa. Attached is what we call our Areas of Agreement. They were arrived at by consensus at our December 5, 2007 meeting.

    We would be happy to discuss this with representatives of the Greenbelt Alliance.


    Helen Shane
    (Coordinator of the Sebastopol UGB Initiative and the Sonoma County Rural Heritage Initiative, both endorsed and supported by the Greenbelt Alliance).


    Daisy Pistey-Lhyne
    Mayor Craig Litwin
    Vice Mayor Linda Kelley
    Sarah Gurney
    Sam Pierce
    Larry Robinson
    Dave Brennan
    Mary Gourley
    Audubon Society
    Community Alliance of Family Farmers
    Environmental Center of Sonoma County
    The Faith Based Coalition
    The Housing Advocacy Group
    The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation
    Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economy
    Living Wage Coalition
    New Economy, Working Solutions (NEWS)
    Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California
    Petaluma Tomorrow
    Service Employees International Local 707
    Sierra Club
    Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
    Sonoma County Conservation Action
    Sonoma County Farm Bureau
    Sonoma County Grape Growers
    Sonoma County Housing Coalition
    Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club
    The Sonoma Land Trust
    United Winegrowers

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