Sebastopol City Council Preview

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, March 2, 2021

City of Sebastopol city council

The Sebastopol City Council’s March 2 meeting at 6 p.m. over Zoom looks to be an eventful one, presenting the city’s new police chief, discussing whether to approve and adopt a climate campaign’s goals and continuing the extended Benedetti car wash public hearing, according to the agenda.

The agenda and the meeting’s link and password are available here:

The meeting will begin with several proclamations for the month of March this year, designating March 5 and 6 as National Day (24 Hours) of Unplugging, recognizing March 15-21 as National Surveyor’s Week and setting March 31 as Equal Pay Day, according to the agenda.

Next, Kevin Kilgore will swear in as the new police chief of the Sebastopol Police Department after the city searched for over a year to replace former Police Chief James Conner after he retired in December, 2019.

First up, the council will focus on a presentation on the Climate-Safe California campaign and consider passing a resolution to endorse Climate-Safe California’s goals.

The Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) board endorsed the campaign led in part by the Climate Center in Santa Rosa, pushing for stronger climate policy at the state level, according to the agenda report.

The request for approval comes from Vice Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney and Councilmember Diana Rich, both members of the Climate Action Committee, the agenda report said. The report names Gurney as the liaison for the Sonoma County Transit Authority (SCTA) and the RCPA.

Then, the public hearing for a proposed automated car wash on Sebastopol Avenue will continue at the March 2 meeting. Mark Reece, owner of Benedetti Tire Service & Express Lube, applied to establish the car wash beside his existing business.

However, the planning commission suggested the city council deny the project’s applications for the conditional-use permit, variance and tentative parcel map, the agenda report said. The applicants requested a variance to allow development at a lower floor area ratio than normally required in the proposed zone and the tentative parcel map would split the lot into three parcels.

The agenda report said a Mitigated Negative Declaration “to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)” was also included in the project applications.

The city council directed city staff at the Jan. 5 public hearing “to bring the project back with a resolution of approval and conditions of approval” tackling structural and drying equipment noise, “water droplet emissions from drying equipment,” an extension of Abbott Road and other concerns, according to the agenda report.

Earlier in the meeting during the consent calendar the council will consider approving a revised policy on the city’s records retention schedule and destruction management, approving an ordinance for the Sebastopol Municipal Code to file campaign finance statements and statements of economic interest electronically, in addition to approving the Feb. 16 city council meeting minutes.

Furthermore, the consent calendar lists approval to authorize Mayor Una Glass to send Governor Gavin Newsom a letter “letting him know that the City of Sebastopol, a leader in rooftop solar installations, stands in support of protecting the future of rooftop solar,” the agenda report said.

According to the report, the city was told PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric “have proposed or are expected to propose” increasing the cost for solar, “putting it further out of reach for middle and low-income households” and setting “discriminatory new fees on all solar users that will further discourage solar adoptions.”

The consent calendar also includes approving a resolution to appoint City Engineer Joseph G. Gaffney as the Engineer of Work, “directing the preparation of the annual Engineer’s Report and describing potential changes to the City of Sebastopol’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Lighting Assessment District.”

The agenda report said the Lighting Special Assessment District pays to keep the city’s streetlight system running.

Last on the consent calendar is contracting Argonaut Constructors to repave city streets, allowing City Manager Larry McLaughlin or an appointed person to sign the contract for up to $355,397, the agenda said.

Reports from McLaughlin and City Clerk Mary Gourley, Glass and other council members on agency, committee and subcommittee developments and possible direction to representatives will finish off the meeting.

This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at