Support or Oppose? Sebastopol Inn to be homeless shelter?

Update: Here is link for the meeting:

Here’s a link to the livestream video from the city meeting: https://livestream.com/accounts/14608643/events/9237029

Support or Oppose? Sebastopol Inn to be homeless shelter?

Nextdoor and waccobb.net have many comments on both sides of this issue. Yesterday was the city council meeting and it appears to be stalled on the city level and full throttle forward to purchase by Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. 31 units will only scratch the surface of the growing needs. Does small town Sebastopol have the infrastructure to handle sanitation, police and any problems that might arise? How will it effect small businesses who are struggling to survive? Could money be better spent? How will residents feed themselves without a kitchen?

Residents say NO to the city. Last nights zoom meeting describes the intent to house homeless seniors susceptible to coronavirus, make it permanent homeless shelter after virus is contained.   See their comments below.

“Whether you support or oppose, you should be addressing your comments to Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. this is a County project and moving forward very quickly”. 

PETITION BELOW:

Support Sebastopol Economy; Stop Lynda Hopkins Agenda

451 SUPPORTERS
1,000 GOAL

On August 4, 2020 the Press Democrat broke the story that Sonoma County housing officials are negotiating to buy the Sebastopol Inn, eyeing the 31-room boutique hotel near the heart Sebastopol’s downtown to be used as a permanent homeless housing. According to Barbie Robinson, interim executive director of the county’s Community Development Commission and director of the Department of Health Services states, “This is part of a model for permanent supportive housing”.

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/sonoma-county-eyes-sebastopol-inn-as-potential-homeless-housing/

As the Sebastopol Downtown Association’s purpose is to promote, nurture and cultivate the downtown vitality, the SDA is extremely concerned about the impact of this proposal on our local businesses and economy.

1. It will have a negative impact on the beloved businesses in the GRAVENSTEIN STATION and THE BARLOW
2. Sebastopol currently has only two hotels; and a moratorium on non-hosted vacation rentals. We must preserve our existing hotel rooms.
3. The Hotel Sebastopol’s construction is on an indefinite hold. The loss of Sebastopol Inn will be gravely felt.
4. The current sales tax and TOT tax situation for Sebastopol is in a fragile state; this could sink businesses in close proximity.
5. It will stress our essential services; ie fire and police services.
6. Does Sebastopol have the funds for the ripple effect generated by this proposal that will affect the tax revenue that is already burdened by the COVID-19 crisis?
7. Funding is from short-term money associated with COVID-19 resources, will the long-term maintenance of this building fall on the City of Sebastopol and tax paying residents?
8. The City of Sebastopol has spent $40K since April for economic vitality. How much more will the City need to spend to offset the effects of permanent homeless housing in the downtown business district.
9. Sebastopol businesses are already struggling to recover as a result of the fires, floods and COVID-19; their struggles are trickling down to the City of Sebastopol and its residents. How much more stress can they endure?

The SDA acknowledges a homeless problem exists in Sonoma County. However, converting one of Sebastopol’s two hotels to permanent housing is not the solution. We propose that Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and the Board of Supervisors seek an alternative site outside of the Sebastopol Downtown District.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE:
1. SIGN and SHARE the petition. Add Your Comments to be shared with the City Council on Tuesday August 11th

2. Attend the August 11th City Council meeting dedicated to this topic with Supervisor Hopkins; where you will have the opportunity for public comment
zoom meeting ID 816 4928 9886
zoom password: 732389

IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO SIGN THE PETITION YOU MAY EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS DIRECTLY TO:
3a. Board of Supervisors: bos@sonoma-county.org

3b.  District 5 Supervisor Lynda Hopkins: Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org

3c. Sebastopol City Council members:
Sarah Gurney – sarahgurney.seb@gmail.com
Mayor Patrick Slayter – ps.sebcc@gmail.com
Una Glass – una.glass.seb@sonic.net
Michael Carnacchi – mcarnacchi@cityofsebastopol.org
Neysa Hinton – NHinton@cityofsebastopol.org
City Clerk- Mary Gourley – mgourley@cityofsebastopol.org

Thank you for supporting our amazing, local and diverse business district; they are truly the heart and soul of Sebastopol.

COMMENTS from signers:

Kameron W.
California
2 hours ago
Won’t be positive for surrounding businesses who are trying to work and make an honest living. There should be no homeless housing in a city. The homeless individual should not be privileged or rewarded. The homeless individual does not need to be near businesses or people’s homes. If they want to live in society they must have the mental capacity to make their way in society just like the rest of us. If you want to live off the land then set aside some government land that’s not favorable but can sustain vegetation. Be supplied with minimal food and water and sanitary places to defecate. It should be supplied with personnel for nurturing and teaching of such needed skills to make it in the general public. If they are determined unable to do so then they are obviously handicapped in such a way they will need medical attention (physical and mental) to further help the individual.
name not displayed
California
2 hours ago
I work in downtown Sebastopol. I believe that converting a boutique hotel in the midst of all the various downtown businesses including such close proximity to the new Barlow & adjacent businesses (many of which are getting back on their feet after last years floods) is an inappropriate location. I don’t believe that it can best serve homeless folks and will most likely be detrimental to downtown Sebastopol businesses. It seems the money to purchase the hotel could be spent on building an appropriate facility in a more appropriate location. Thank you.
Stephen H.
California
4 hours ago
We. Need hotels for the economy of Sebastopol
William G.
California
9 hours ago
West Sonoma County has limited lodging as it is. Politicians should not be responsible for converting an already scarce resource into a facility which will increase crime and danger in a small town. This is the opposite of progress and protection.
Valerie C.
California
13 hours ago
Sebastopol inn for the Homeless would be a disastrous idea for the Small town of Sebastopol. Horrific idea. A better idea is to create living spaces in Santa Rosa near Employment, Medical, etc.
Terry B.
California
14 hours ago
I love living in Sebastopol . Can’t support this. Much more planning is needed.
April G.
California
15 hours ago
Homelessness is clearly a problem but this is certainly not the answer. How about using any one of the number of abandoned buildings on the outskirts of Sebastopol/ Santa Rosa
Elizabeth F.
California
15 hours ago
My family has used the Inn to house our visiting family and friends over the last decade because it feels like home and because it livens up downtown Sebastopol. It is of concern to me just as the Barlow is settling in (following flood and fire issues), that loss of the Inn for visitors will affect the vitality and attractiveness of downtown. We think this county community has to provide supportive housing but downtown Sebastopol is not the location. Vulnerable people need health care, cooked food and household supplies, and other social services not available in downtown Sebastopol.
name not displayed
California
16 hours ago
It is without question, the worst possible idea, to set up a homeless shelter in the heart of a business district. The Barlow has survived fires, flooding and already on life support due to the shut down as a result of the pandemic. Shops And restaurants can’t survive closed too long. They’re paying expensive commercial rent. No one will want to come to spend money on wine tastings and outdoor restaurants and peruse the shops, in a location that’s full of individuals lingering around panhandlers and addicts who syringes strewn throughout the grounds. Etc in addition to the fact crime always increases in such areas. Cars get broken into and other such criminal activity. It’s a cancer. That parking lot alone in the Sebastopol inn will become a ghetto. There’s a reason why virtual games like the sims, which is designed to let you be in charge like a mayor, teaches you how to build a successful city/town. All of the things you need to do in order to get residents to move in, and shops for the to go to, etc, and to put prisons and power plants far out, as to not cause decay to the area. Planting a seed like this will be the destruction of the peace and Beauty that exists in that specific area and in town in general. Moreover, to do so with a pandemic in progress, is adding insult to injury. This is a bad idea that’s not just wrong, it’s disastrous. That said, the homeless need care and attention. In cases of addiction —and alcoholism which are sadly common, the Sebastopol Inn would end up what was known as a crack den in the 80s. You can’t just fill dozens of motel rooms without assigning a monitor to have sign-in sheets and track who is visiting, as they can be part of a drug transaction or a user needing a spot for the night. This is how it all begins if you look at patterns in San Francisco or New York City or any city, and then it’s a nightmare that makes real estate plummet, and invites a bad element and then it’s nothing anyone wants but hard to get rid of. It sends everything good away and invites in all the things a town doesn’t want. The crimes may start out with breaking into cars and stealing bikes, but it will grow and become far, far worse. If the owner is desperate to sell and that’s what I was told, well, that doesn’t give the owner the right to destroy everything here after selling and leaving town. Again, this is a pandemic and Sebastopol has faired well, so that on top of everything is just absurd to do is bring in people who can kill the many seniors here and those with other conditions. There is plenty of room in Sonoma county and by any measure, Santa Rosa is far better equipped to oversee such a thing and police it. Sebastopol businesses are unique and attractive to many in the Bay Area and across the country and the world — Especially during harvest season, I have had many friends stay at the Sebastopol inn— and they have always done well because there was rarely a vacancy! The American economy will be in lots of trouble during this pandemic and there is not a lot we can do about it, as stores and restaurants and shops across the country shut their doors on able to pay the rent and order to remain closed by their own government, but we can control a lot more Inn Sebastopol, and it doesn’t have to end like this.
Chris Y.
California
17 hours ago
This is important to me because I want to see all people thrive but not at the risk of others
Todd S.
California
18 hours ago
They need real help, not just a free room and a place to do drugs and alcohol
Jeanine G.
California
18 hours ago
My kids play in that area and I would no longer feel safe letting them be alone in town anymore
Gregory D.
California
18 hours ago
My civil liberties are important to me
name not displayed
California
18 hours ago
my civil liberties are at stake.
name not displayed
California
18 hours ago
I am a business owner on the downtown Sebastopol square I feel that having a permanent homeless shelter in our small already congested city would negatively effect our community.
Jessica M.
California
18 hours ago
I have friends who are business owners in sebastopol.
Suzanne S.
California
19 hours ago
I do not feel like this project is appropriate to the proximity of downtown Sebastopol. It would not benefit Sebastopol businesses and may increase crime and drug abuse.