Sebastopol council reviewing ordinance that would ban new gas stations

By Zoë Strickland, Managing Editor, SoCoNews, April 5, 2022

city council preview

At the Sebastopol City Council meeting Tuesday night, April 5, the council is expected to hold two public hearings — one on an ordinance that would prohibit new gas stations in Sebastopol and another that would modify the eligibility requirements for planning commissioners.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. For details on how to attend, go here.

No new gas stations?

Following up from an August 2021 discussion the council had about whether or not it wants to move forward with a ban on new gas stations and a January planning commission where a ban on gas stations was supported, the city council is set to hold a public hearing and introduce an ordinance that would amend city zoning to prohibit new gas stations in Sebastopol.

Per the proposed ordinance, existing gas stations would continue and could be modified for aesthetic, safety or other reasons, but wouldn’t be able to expand “fossil fuel infrastructure or related components.”

Planning Commission

According to the city council’s agenda, the proposed ordinance that would change rules surrounding Sebastopol’s planning commission removed language relating to a planning commission “alternate” and changes the references for out-of-city boundary from the 95472 zip code to instead be based around three Sebastopol-area elementary school districts: Twin Hills, Sebastopol Union and Gravenstein Union.

The proposed ordinance also specifies that a majority of members of the planning commission will need to be city residents at all times. This would allow up to two business owners who live outside the city and one resident outside the city but within one of the three elementary school districts as noted.

Tacked on to the planning commission discussion, though separate from the ordinance, is addressing the planning commission’s current two vacancies. Even with an extension to the application deadline, the city hasn’t received any applicants and city staff is asking for direction from the council about how to move forward.

Odds and ends

Also on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting, the council will be issuing a handful of proclamations; viewing presentations about the Learn to Swim program at Ives Pool, the Russian River Watershed Association and the quarterly update on Sebastopol Police Department audit recommendations; reviewing the city’s standard conditions of approval for planning entitlements; and considering amending city council and city staff committee assignments.

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