Sebastopol council discussing 10-unit townhome project, housing strategy

By Zoë Strickland, Managing Editor, SoCoNews, March 3, 2022

city council preview

The Sebastopol City Council is slated to hold two public hearings and a workshop at its meeting on March 1. The council will hold a public hearing for an ordinance about mandatory organic waste disposal and a hearing to consider a zoning amendment, conditional use permit and tentative map for the Huntley Square Townhomes, located at 7950 Bodega Avenue. Additionally, the council will be holding a workshop on the city’s draft housing strategy, considering an amendment that would create an ad hoc committee for a citywide staffing assessment study and considering a budget amendment to the city’s Relaunch Sebastopol contract.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will be held online. Full meeting details can be found here.

Public Hearing: Organic Waste Removal

The council will be holding a public hearing to introduce and hold the first reading of a mandatory organic waste disposal ordinance that would include the following provisions, per the council agenda:

  • Organic waste reduction measures;
  • Provisions to further diversion of organic waste, including requirements to source separate organic waste and recyclables;
  • Educational requirements for commercial businesses;
  • Reporting requirements for commercial edible food generators, food recovery services and organizations, and self-haulers;
  • Investigation of complaints of non-compliance by members of the public or other entities; and
  • Regulatory changes to align the municipal code with the already existing franchise for  collection of solid waste and construction and demolition hauling within the city.

The proposed ordinance stems from a state bill signed into law in November 2020 that is geared toward reducing short-lived climate pollutants. In addition to adopting statewide methane emission reduction targets, the bill required cities to adopt policies and ordinances surrounding reducing pollutants.

The full proposed ordinance can be found here.

Public Hearing: 10-unit Townhome Project

A public hearing is being held for the “Huntley Square Townhomes,” a 10-unit townhome project being proposed on Bodega Avenue. The council will be reviewing a zoning amendment that would propose changing the zoning from multi-family residential to a planned community, issuing a conditional use permit to develop a planned community district, a tentative map and an initial study/mitigated negative declaration.

According to the council agenda’s project description, “The project proposes to construct two ownership residential buildings on a 0.39-acre parcel. Each building will include five attached townhome-style studio units for a total of ten units. (For purposes of calculating allowable densities, SMC 17.200.020 counts studio units as one-half of a dwelling unit (DU); therefore, the project is considered to have five DU). All units will be under 600 sq. ft. Six of the units will include lofts, while the remaining four units will be single story units. The entrances to the four single story units will be at grade and wheelchair accessible/adaptable.

“The residential structures would be located along the southern two thirds of the property. The driveway entrance to the resident parking is off Golden Ridge Avenue across a deeded 25’ easement along the northern third of the property and includes 10 parking spaces. The project includes nine parallel public parking spaces on Bodega Avenue for guests and deliveries. There will be a landscaped pedestrian access path going from Bodega Avenue that connects to a shared courtyard between the residential structures and to the resident parking area.

More information about the project can be found here.

Sebastopol’s Housing Strategy

As part of its Housing Element update, the council will be reviewing the city’s draft housing strategy and taking public input, providing direction to city staff and consultants.

According to the city’s agenda report, “The Draft Housing Strategy sets forth the broad housing goals of the city and forms a ‘roadmap’ of housing policy direction into the future. The Draft Housing Strategy, together with the comments resulting from its review, will be used to update the goals, policies and programs section for the 2023 Housing Element.”

The strategy incorporates new data, including the city’s allocated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers from the state, identifies housing needs and public input. The housing strategy is a working, fluid document.

In order to meet its RHNA numbers — 213 allocated units, including 86 units for affordable to lower-income households and 35 units for affordable to moderate income households — the city has to assess its vacant land and what sites it has that are large enough to house developments.

“​​The adoption of new policies and programs to comply with all the new laws, including Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, will be necessary for the City to achieve an HCD-certified Housing Element. Certification is important because it provides the presumption of validity in the case of a legal challenge and ensures that the City will maintain local control of its land use, zoning, and project approvals. The deadline to adopt updated Housing Elements for the ABAG region is January 31, 2023,” per the council agenda.

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