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    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal



    Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal
    MARY CALLAHAN
    THE PRESS DEMOCRAT October 7, 2019


    A bid to develop much-needed, high-density housing in Sebastopol has put the future of a prized community garden in jeopardy, potentially displacing an acre of tilled land that helps feed seriously ill patients and provides valuable education to teen volunteers through the highly regarded Ceres Community Project.

    Early stage planning for Gravenstein Village, which would be built behind O’Reilly Media headquarters on the north end of town, could allow Ceres’ gardening needs to be integrated into the project as currently envisioned: 18 multistory structures arranged across two parcels totaling just over six acres, according to Phil Kerr, a principal with the development firm with an option to buy the land.

    Alternative locations for the garden are also under discussion, according to city officials and Ceres representatives. The garden is currently hosted on donated land, under a month-to-month lease, until the property changes hands.

    But Ceres Chief Executive Officer Cathryn Couch said replacing the one-acre garden with smaller plots dispersed around the residential project is not workable for several reasons, chiefly the need to maintain supervision and safety for teen volunteers who work in the garden.

    Given eight years of effort and investment in the soil, the Sebastopol nonprofit also is reluctant to confront the cost, disruption and labor needed to start over someplace else, even if a different plot of land were donated, she said.

    Bottom line: Ceres hopes to persuade San Francisco-based City Ventures to design its project around the garden, Couch said.

    “It’s not just having a garden space,” she said. “It’s what the value of that garden is now for the community and our investment in that over time. It’s more complicated than, ‘Oh here’s another tract of land. Build another garden.’ ”

    {snip}

    The first public review of the plan will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday before the Sebastopol Planning Commission at the Sebastopol Youth Annex, 425 Morris St.

    A preliminary design presented during an earlier city Tree Board meeting showed buildings distributed evenly across the irregularly shaped parcels, including the area where the garden and assorted infrastructure are currently located.

    Kerr said there remains plenty of time to work out a creative, satisfactory solution between Tuesday’s meeting and what could be months, perhaps years, of plan development still ahead.

    “Nothing’s been decided at this point,” he said. “It’s really early in the process.”

    {snip}

    See full article here
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    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    Here's some info from Ceres about this project:

    Background
    City Ventures is considering the purchase of approximately 6 acres of land behind O’Reilly Media for housing development. They are seeking public comment and input in the hopes of creating a project that will address community needs and concerns. Ceres is advocating for our existing garden to be preserved as part of the development.

    We need your help now to demonstrate the importance of the garden to our community. With the project going before the planning commission on October 8, it’s very important that your comments are recorded on or before that date, to get your support for the garden on record.

    Talking Points

    Stress the value of the garden to the Sebastopol community. Ceres Community Project’s Garden:

    • Is part of our robust youth development program serving over 200 youth each year in Sebastopol. It is an integral part of Ceres’ program, where youth learn to grow the food they cook in the kitchen. The garden is a place where youth who aren’t able to thrive in our high-intensity kitchen environment find a peaceful, calming environment to connect with their peers, adult mentors and the natural world
    • Grows organic food for the meals we deliver to people who are in treatment for serious illnesses like cancer or heart disease.
    • Is a community resource, open to all to stroll through and enjoy. The garden models what a healthy food system looks like, providing soil building, climate mitigation and an important local food source
    • We hope that City Ventures will find a creative way to include the intact garden, with a minimum size of 1 acre, in their plans
    • If you are commenting/writing in support of the garden, please keep your points focused on the garden, rather than on your support or opposition to the other aspects of the proposed development, including housing

    Opportunities to comment

    Submit a comment to the Sebastopol Planning Commission no later than October 8
    In person at Public Meeting on October 8, 7 pm at Sebastopol Youth Annex, 425 Morris St. Sebastopol
    In writing to [email protected]
    Write a letter to a concerned party
    City Ventures, 444 Spear St, Ste 200 San Francisco CA 94105 [email protected]

    Sebastopol City Council


    Submit a letter to a local newspaper
    Sonoma West Times and News
    1070 Gravenstein Highway South Suite 220
    Sebastopol, CA 95472
    Or, use the e-form to submit electronically via www.sonomawest.com
    Press Democrat

    Email letters of no more than 200 words to [email protected]. Please include your full name and home city for publication. Letters must be original and written exclusively for The Press Democrat. Letters that do not include a home address and daytime phone number will not be considered for publication. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Mail to 427 Mendocino Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95401
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    rossmen
     

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    I remember when the Sebastopol independent charter school was exploring options to build just north of O'Reilly. Supposedly the controversy of annexing beyond the growth boundary meant that the city utility connections for O'Reilly were undersized. Guess that was a lie. Now my hood is up in arms about 103 townhomes. Let's do the math. 1/6 of 103 is about 18 times 600k equals about 10mil. There is totally a deal to be made here to move the garden.
    Last edited by Barry; 10-09-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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    robert777's Avatar
    robert777
    Supporting Member

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    I was involved in the battle for People's Park in Berkeley in1969 and see this as part of that issue. I'm glad there are possible compromises, but my pessimism leads me to feel like power and money will win, as they usually do in this world.
    Companies ask for more than they know they can get, then "compromise" by getting what they wanted in the first place.
    Good luck in this venture.

    Robert Feuer

    Last edited by Barry; 10-10-2019 at 09:11 AM.
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    jerichsalud's Avatar
    jerichsalud
     

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    How many housing projects have we seen come forward in Sebastopol in the last couple years that are still feasible? I'm not aware of many, I can think of one. I'd think it wouldn't be too difficult to identify another place for the garden. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think while it may be a short term difficulty for CERES I think this housing and another location for the garden is in the best interest of Sebastopol.
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    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    Good reasons are always found in California to not build housing!


    Last edited by Barry; 10-10-2019 at 09:13 AM.
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    ray50sfo's Avatar
    ray50sfo
     

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    ...and usually by the same people who decry the cost of housing...

    Quote tommy wrote: View Post
    Good reasons are always found in California to not build housing!


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    Becky's Avatar
    Becky
     

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    I don't believe I have heard or read that a food garden for people should replace housing. My understanding is that the Ceres Community Project garden is a valuable part of the community and would serve as the same for a housing community. This garden now grows from soil that has been nurtured for at least eight years. This garden is not only alive on the surface for all of us to wander through to be nourished by nature, but alive beneath to serve as one small piece of Sebastopol that is sequestering carbon.

    Before finalizing an opinion about building necessary housing and/or supporting a unique and established food garden that feeds seriously ill clients and educates local teens, how about considering a volunteer stint at Ceres Community Project? Come and take a stroll through the Fall/Winter garden and talk to the teens who volunteer there. My experience there has made it evident that this garden is a gift to the community, the planet, and would do the same for new residents.
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    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
     

    Re: Ceres Community Project defends Sebastopol garden against housing proposal

    Would like to come out on Sunday - how do we enter and if coming by to walk through fine?
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