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Oliver’s Market, Cotati going in circles over roundabout


One of Cotati’s biggest employers may have inadvertently undercut its objections to a city proposal to install two roundabouts on its main street.

Oliver’s Market, which has said it won’t relocate downtown if the traffic plan goes forward and may leave the city, has been showing a video to demonstrate how the roundabout would be an impediment to big trucks.

The traffic control circles are part of a $3.5 million city plan to revitalize its small downtown. City officials favor it over another plan they came up with that would make Old Redwood Highway a four-lane road.

But Oliver’s video, which company officials filmed, does not tell the full story of how Cotati’s roundabouts would work.

The video, presented last week by Oliver’s General Manager Tom Scott to the city’s design review committee and promoted on the company’s website, shows a semi-trailer truck negotiating a Petaluma roundabout that is said to be the same size as those in Cotati’s proposal.

The truck circles the roundabout in residential west Petaluma several times, its rear two sets of wheels crossing into the roundabout’s inner circle each time, leaving black tire-tread marks.

In a letter on the Oliver’s website describing the company’s opposition to the roundabouts, Scott directs readers to the video with a link.

But according to Petaluma officials, the roundabout in the video at West Haven Way and Windsor Road is 110 feet in diameter. The proposed roundabout on Old Redwood Highway in front of the site where Oliver’s has planned its new store is 118 to 128 feet in diameter, according to Cotati officials.

There are other differences. The travel lanes around Petaluma’s roundabout are 17 feet wide. In Cotati’s version, the travel lanes are 22 feet wide.

The differences are significant when it comes to trucks, one expert said.

“It’ll make a big difference going around,” said Jose Campos, who runs JGC Truck Driving and Training in Santa Rosa.

“It would make it a lot easier with the bigger one,” said the veteran truck driver. “It would be a tighter turn with the shorter one,” he said.

It’s common practice too, especially on larger trucks, to adjust the rear axle position to create a smaller turning circle when conditions require it, Campos said. In Oliver’s video, the axles are set at the rearmost position.

Cotati Councilman Mark Landman found the video problematic. “That’s a difficult thing for me and for everyone in the community,” he said. “What we’re looking for and need right now is good information on the project to help us make a good decision.”

Scott downplayed the discrepancies, saying the video was made chiefly “to spur conversation.”

“What is true is that a roundabout that size will handle a big semi. We thought it would be edifying to have the decision makers see what that actually is going to look like.”

The company has not changed its position that if the roundabouts go in, it will call off its plans to build a new store downtown.

“They’re meeting with us and we’re hoping we can find a positive solution to this,” Scott said. “We’re not trying to kill something. We’re trying to work with the city to build something.”


Dig Deeper

Watch the video prepared by Oliver’s Market and presented to the Cotati Design Review Committee

11 Responses to “Oliver’s Market, Cotati going in circles over roundabout”

  1. Kay Tokerud says:

    Ideologues are killing businesses in Sonoma County! Reducing and impeding traffic is the antithesis to a thriving business. Cotati’s adherence to ICLEI’s smartgrowth directives are taking precedence over the needs of local businesses as well as the wishes of the residents.

    In Santa Rosa we got rid of four traffic circles on Humboldt street. We also got rid of the smartgrowth majority on the city council. That’s what Cotati needs to do, get rid of all the ideologues off your city council. Only then will reason prevail and the needs of local businesses and residents be considered important. Wasteful and useless traffic circle projects are the poster children for ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability goals. ICLEI adherents will put up roadblocks for any project that does not conform to their goals of getting us out of our cars and confining us to smartgrowth ‘human habitations’ and smart trains.

    ICLEI is in high gear now, they started in 1990 and were instrumental in the development of United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. Besides getting us off the land and out of the suburbs, they want to restrict our movement to within smartgrowth developments. We will live on the upper floors and come downstairs to work on the ground floor. Every smartgrowth development is the same all over America. Hey, it’s efficient and has worked well in places like China and Russia, hasn’t it? Human capital is being pitched now and we are referred to as a herd. How much more of this nonsense are we going to tolerate before we put up a fight. We can start by supporting our local businesses instead of UN American organizations and UN American mandates. Kick ICLEI Out of Cotati now.

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  2. Social Dis-ease says:

    Why should Oliver’s move, they’re an asset. The ICLEI cronies from the City should move.
    Cotati-they don’t work for you, they work for ICLEI.
    Like John Wayne said;’ time to ‘save’ another town.
    Municipal sabotage=ICLEI.

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  3. Mike Maacks says:

    Oliver’s, come to Cloverdale, we’ll treat you right!

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  4. John Lennon says:

    The majority of businesses in Cotati don’t want this ,saying it will hurt business. Most cities would end the project right plan right there.

    One thing is certain, Cotati is painting itself as a very business-unfriendly environment.

    The real question is why?

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  5. Lucky2BOliver's says:

    “Why We Can’t” (above)has one thing right- Cotati needs Oliver’s more than Oliver’s needs Cotati.

    At the time of Measure F in 1997, Oliver’s only had their Cotati store. If it had closed due to competition from the proposed Lucky store, then they would have been gone for good. Now that they have expanded to a local chain of three stores, the diminished importance of Cotati in the eyes of Oliver’s management has been clearly demonstrated by their eagerness to leave if their demands aren’t met.

    They have previously dictated the composition of their competition in Cotati, driving away business in the process, and now seek to impose the their vision of street design on Cotati. What’s next- police cars with Oliver’s ads on them?

    This looks like a microcosm of the phenomena that is driving the “Occupy” movement- the influence that businesses and their financial resources wield over the lives of all of the rest of us.

    Oliver’s isn’t the corner grocery store. From a report dated 2007: “In 2003, Oliver’s Market operated 2 stores in Sonoma County, with average annual revenue of $20,000,000 per location…”. I wonder what those numbers are now, given their continued expansion and the demise of the Pacific Markets location in Rohnert Park?

    All of this was only possible because, from a report dated 2005: “In 1994, the city of Cotati offered Steve and Ruth a low interest redevelopment loan of $500,000. They used the money to expand by taking over the adjacent space, adding an additional 11,000 square feet for a total of 36,000 square feet with about 28,000 square feet of setting space.”

    I guess that this is just Oliver’s belated way of saying “thanks”.

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  6. Greg Karraker says:

    I saw the video, and this issue is a red herring. Whether trucks will hit the roundabout is a tiny part of a much bigger problem.

    The problem is that Oliver’s, in good faith, spent nearly $400,000 on site planning only to find their plans were useless because of this last minute change. Besides costing them thousands more in new design fees, Scott’s traffic consultants state that roundabouts will significantly reduce the volume of traffic through town, negatively affecting the number of customers who might drive to the new store, and all the new businesses that were part of their planned development.

    Merchants (except for two) up and down the block are opposed to this plan, claiming it will kill their businesses. The Rancho Adobe Fire District is opposed to them.

    So the real issue is that the City Manager doesn’t care what the majority of businesses and citizens think. She wants to stuff this traffic and business killing nightmare down everyone’s throat, collect her $180,000 salary, paid by Cotati taxpayers, then drive home to Santa Rosa in the new Prius taxpayers just bought her, leaving the mess she created in her rear-view mirror.

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  7. Oliver's Is So Lucky says:

    Real food. Real Business People.

    It is nice to see this article expose the Oliver’s-produced video for the con job that it is. You can expect more products from their misinformation and propaganda machine.

    For more information, see:


    It looks like they will be sending a crew down to Petaluma to clean up the mess that they left behind (and that Steve Maass was so “shocked” about in the video)on the area of the roundabout commonly referred to as the “truck apron”.

    Perhaps Oliver’s will now provide the money for their front group, the Northern Gateway Business Owners, to put a measure on the ballot to prevent the building of the roundabouts. How about Measure O, given the resemblance to a roundabout? It could prohibit any roundabout over 100 feet in diameter, to “Protect Cotati”. As we have clearly seen in their demonstration video, “Size Matters”. Sadly, if this occurs, the taxpayers of Cotati will be picking up the tab for this “Checkbook Election”.

    The inability of a roundabout to accommodate a truck is really a smoke screen, however, as Oliver’s really doesn’t care about the other merchants or the left turn lanes on Old Redwood Highway; they are merely allies in their self-serving campaign.

    As Oliver’s states on their website, “We believe that the proposed round a bout design will hurt business throughout Cotati, including those at the Rancho Cotati Center.” Roundabout, in this context, appears to be “code” for Oliver’s perception of reduced traffic to either their existing store or their proposed location, due to the narrowing of Old Redwood Highway from its short four lane current configuration to two lanes, as it is configured north of the project area (Commerce Blvd.), and south of East Cotati Ave.(downtown Cotati), where you turn left to go to their existing store.

    Any change from the existing Old Redwood Highway is perceived by Oliver’s as an impediment to the flow of traffic through Cotati to their front door.

    Perhaps they should relocate to Rohnert Park- next door to Costco or Walmart would be ideal. I am sure that the multiple lanes of backed-up traffic, left turn lanes and numerous traffic signals existing there will meet even Oliver’s stringent requirements.

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  8. Jim says:

    What is the point in wasting $3.5 million dollars on a roundabout? I think it is just so the city morons can spend money. Prevailing wage union construction jobs…i.e. taking taxpayer money and giving it to unions who support their campaigns.

    I hope they waste the money. I hope Olivers moves out of the city. I hope Cotati goes bankrupt faster than they would anyway, since every city in the state is bankrupt because of excessive labor costs.

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  9. Unfounded Speculation says:

    Cotati, you like 600 cities across America are in the grips of ICLEI.
    Let go of the old paradigm, and common sense. ICLEI’s goal is to sabotage business and eliminate private property.
    You have to kick ICLEI charter out of your town.
    The One Bay Area crap will in effect relinquish what little influence and sovereignty your town might enjoy now and reduce the whole Bay Area into a model of their globalist oppression.
    Look at the bright side, while they’re doing it, they’ll bankrupt the town through ‘Redevelopment’, business sabotage and deliberate over spending.
    THAT’s what’s goin’ on, so don’t give yourself a headache trying to reconcile what’s happening through the ‘old’ framework.
    Do like 10 other communities throughout America have done and…
    >Redevelopment; the unknown government.
    >Smart Growth Fraud
    >Democrats Against UN Agenda 21
    >Freedom Advocates

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  10. Why We Can't says:

    Maybe Oliver’s should send some of their employees and shoppers down to the Cotati City Hall to camp out and present their list of demands.

    Following the total folding example of the Santa Rosa City Council, Cotati will totally capitulate and Oliver’s can build their market. Cotati needs Oliver’s more than Oliver’s needs Cotati.

    Build the damn market and stop arguing over how wide the stupid roundabout is. Cotati needs to accommodate Oliver’s and be done with it.

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  11. Tom says:

    Olivers should just leave. They are a great local company that shouldn’t have to deal with this anti-business BS. I’m sure plenty of other cities would want them.

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