Sebastopol City Council to consider changes to planning commission and apple fair
By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, March 15, 2021
The scope of the Sebastopol City Council’s March 16 meeting at 6 p.m. over Zoom reaches from a waste reduction Senate bill, potential changes to the Planning Commission’s composition to a request to sponsor a modified Gravenstein Apple Fair and a lot more.
The agenda and the meeting’s link and password can be accessed here: https://www.ci.sebastopol.ca.us/SebastopolSite/media/Documents/city_clerk/March-16-2021-FINAL-City-Council-Meeting-Agenda.pdf?ext=.pdf
The meeting starts off with a proclamation declaring March 2021 as Women’s History Month.
Afterwards, Don Mort is scheduled to receive a certificate of appreciation for serving as interim police chief of the Sebastopol Police Department (SPD) from Aug. 17, 2020 to March 1, 2021.
One year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, the consent calendar presents for the council’s approval an extension of the local emergency proclamation from the city’s acting director of emergency services, Fire Chief Bill Braga, the agenda said.
According to the agenda report, the Sebastopol City Council first approved the emergency proclamation at its March 17, 2020 meeting, extending it in May, July, September, October and December of 2020 and again on Feb. 2 of this year for the ongoing threat of virus.
Also up for approval through the consent calendar is a recommendation from the subcommittee for the city’s Locals Who Make a Difference Recognition Program to declare Hunter Valencia as the next honoree to be honored with banners along Main Street and the Downtown Plaza.
The city recognizes three honorees a year for four months at a time through the banners, the city website and a council proclamation. The report includes quotes from Valencia’s nomination applications regarding his community service, mentoring local youth on top of honor, Advanced Placement and college classes and volunteering with a Soroptimist International of West Sonoma County “town flocking” fundraiser.
The city has budgeted $4,500 from the general fund for the item, according to the agenda report.
Apart from that, the consent calendar offers up for approval the minutes for the March 2 city council meeting and the March 3 special city council meeting for closed session.
Waste reduction mandate
Following the consent calendar, the city council will receive an informational presentation from Zero Waste Sonoma about Senate Bill 1383, “the most significant waste reduction mandate to be adopted in California in the last 30 years,” the agenda report said.
The agenda report continued to detail actions required by Sebastopol to adhere to SB 1383 in its mission to direct less organic material to landfills, like creating a food recovery program “to recover edible food from the landfill” and collecting organic material from businesses and locals.
According to the agenda report, the changes will impact Sebastopol’s solid waste and recycling services and costs to residents, businesses, the city and others.
Regular agenda items
Next, the city council is slated to consider releasing flags memorializing the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage through the 19th Amendment to the museum of the West Sonoma County Historical Society, the agenda said.
The agenda report said the museum and historical society may use the flags “for their upcoming exhibit, publicity and possible fundraising.”
Then, the council will discuss and consider sponsoring the “Bite-Sized” Gravenstein Apple Fair of 2021 to be held at Ragle Ranch Park on Saturday, Aug. 14, including the SPD as traffic control at the Covert Lane and Ragle Road intersection, the agenda said.
The Gravenstein Apple Fair was canceled in 2020, although the Sonoma County Farm Trails established a drive-thru for folks to pick up apples in the parking lot of the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center parking lot that scheduled weekend in 2020.
According to the agenda report, this year’s membership drive seeks $14,000 and the city has enough “Other Community Support” funding in its budget to sponsor the 2021 fair with $5,000, the higher level of sponsorship that comes with annual benefits compared to the $3,000 sponsorship level for 2021 fair benefits.
The agenda report describes the Farm Trails’ plans to host one choice for participants to pull into a loading zone or park and enter the location to shop for apples, related products and to-go fair food “first come, first serve, with no tickets, fees or reservations needed.”
The second choice allows participants to buy tickets ahead of time “for a socially distanced, time-limited, reserved seating experience,” in 90-minute slots at the designated area in the park, where there would be live music, per the agenda report.
Finally, the city council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendations for changes to its composition to drop down to a seven-member team, removing the alternate member position by making the current alternate the seventh commissioner, the agenda report said.
Furthermore, the commission recommends dropping down to a five-member planning commission eventually.
In addition, the Planning Commission is requesting requiring in the Municipal Code that its makeup be limited to a majority of at least four members living within city limits, permitting up to two members who own businesses in Sebastopol but don’t live within the boundaries and one member at most who neither lives in the city nor owns a business there, while still living within the 95472 zip code, the agenda report said.
Last, the Planning Commission is seeking the council’s direction to staff and the commission about establishing what geography the non-city resident can reside in and still be allowed to serve on the commission.
This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at sonomawest.com