Daniel Hoffman, Assistant Planner, email@example.com
(a consultant based in Berkeley, to whom the County has contracted this position), clarified for me the next steps in the process, as follows:
1. The project will go back to the Design Review Committee for Preliminary Design Review for referral comments. If the comments are favorable, we would move on to the Use Permit before taking a formal action on the Design Review. If the comments are not favorable, it could go back to Preliminary Design Review for additional comments.
2. After DRC provides favorable referral comments, we would schedule the Use Permit for a hearing, most likely with the BZA (Board of Zoning Adjustments).
3. Depending on the DRC comments, final design review could come back to the committee or handled by staff after the Use Permit is acted on.
Later he added: the project would not be under the purview of the Planning Commission.
So, the next thing will be a second Preliminary Design Review, but we don’t know when, and there could be as little as 3 days’ notice!
Design Review Committee meetings
are usually held on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 1:30 pm, sometimes with as little as 3 days’ notice between the agenda being posted and the meeting being held. Design Review are only supposed to comment on the aesthetics of a project, so it’s good to bear than in mind when raising other issues.
SO, it’s important to sign up to be notified of public hearings:
Meanwhile, written comments can be submitted at any time and those sent to staff will be held on file until the hearings.
I think that at this point comments should be sent to:
Board of Zoning Adjustments (Planning Commissioners) – can send via Arielle.Kohn@sonoma-county.org
Chelsea Holup is staff for Design Review Committee only.
I attach a new flyer with one new contact name. Please circulate, print, and post!
Please ask members of organizations, friends, neighbors, to submit comments to the people listed above.
I can send a list of possible talking points.
I should point out a couple of errors I made in the article I submitted for the Gazette and to Wine & Water Watch. From re-reading one of the reports I realized that if built out as planned, there would be not 10,000 square feet of additional impervious surface, but 1.65 acres! Also I had got the location very slightly wrong in relation to the Community Separator, but nonetheless it is still in a rural, unincorporated area and very close to the Community Separator between Cotati and Sebastopol. (There are a number of maps that appear to be a bit contradictory, but the clearest is attached).
Here is my report on our meeting with Supervisor Rabbitt:
On Wed. 4/17, Shirley Johnson (from the Sierra Club) and I met with Supervisor David Rabbitt, as individual constituents from his District, to discuss our concerns about the proposal for a gas station on Hwy 116/Stony Point Road. He met with us for about half an hour, and expressed that he was glad to have an advance heads up about the project. He heard us out and asked a lot of questions, mainly about the site, its ownership and history etc., but it is clear that he cannot or will not intervene to deny the project, but will let the usual process of Design Review, Planning Commission etc., unfold as it will. His main question was, given the Limited Commercial zoning on the site, what other commercial use could there be that would satisfy the owners financially? (The property is on the market for $2 million. We believe the sale is probably contingent upon a Use permit for the gas station. I can send more of the info. that I have if anyone wants to know more).
When I mentioned that only neighbors within 300 feet of the project site have to be informed, Sup. Rabbitt said that is standard for all projects and they could not change that just for this one. However, he also asked if there was a notification sign at the site (which there isn’t) and said he would have staff look into that. (There is a for sale sign from a commercial real estate agent, but currently nothing about the proposed gas station or who to contact for information/comments). (By the way, two people have raised an alarm about land for sale for housing on the opposite corner, but I believe that is misinformation because it is actually advertising for KB Homes at a different location in Rohnert Park).
I have a heap of reports of studies etc. and further information (which I received from staff) about the project including studies on traffic, noise, hydrogeology, biological evaluation, air quality/GHGs etc. The reports that have been independently reviewed by “our” experts so far have been heavily criticized for flaws and factual errors. Let me know if you would like any of this information or could review any of the reports! (or, it can be obtained direct from Daniel Hoffman, firstname.lastname@example.org)
” A Planning application can only be approved if found to be consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan, Sonoma County Zoning Code and, applicable Area or Specific Plan and if found to be compatible with the health, safety, and welfare of the neighborhood.”
If anyone with more expertise on these issues has other suggestions, please feel free to send them along!