WatchSonoma Watch

Funding for Cotati roundabout plan in doubt


The elimination of redevelopment agencies has put in doubt Cotati’s ambitious — and controversial — plan to revive its downtown, even as the city remains on the hook for more than $500,000 for design and planning work on the project.

The Old Redwood Highway redesign project was to rely on about $2.5 million in redevelopment funds for much of its costs.

Now, the redevelopment agency’s remaining money — about $2 million as of August 2011 — will be allocated by a seven-person oversight board to be formed in May.

“I’m trying to remain just ever so slightly optimistic that there will be funding for projects that are in progress,” said Councilman John Del ’Osso.

Two board members will represent the city. The others will be drawn from jurisdictions, such as the Rancho Adobe Fire District, whose tax revenue has helped pay for redevelopment and which are struggling financially themselves.

The board will have the authority to disburse funds to already approved redevelopment projects, but it may also direct the money to the other jurisdictions.

“We don’t know until we get this board and we look at what we have,” said Mayor Susan Harvey.

“It’s really going to be up to that board to determine. We don’t have much say,” she said. “It will be really dependent if that board thinks it’s an important project for the betterment of the community.”

Regardless of what happens, the city this year must pay $516,823 for design work performed for the plan, which evolved from what was envisioned as a two-lane boulevard into a two-lane road with two roundabouts.

Some residents who opposed the plan in the first place find that a bitter pill to swallow. “It’s a waste of money,” said Emily Straub.

But Harvey argued said that while it is frustrating to have to shelve the work, it wasn’t pointless.

“Designs may have to sit there until we figure out a way to fund them,” she said. “You have that work done and when you have the funds you can move forward with it.”

The redesign plan was the subject of furious debate before the council approved it in December.

The controversy is still rippling through the city. Opponents are collecting signatures to force a special election on a ballot measure that would bar roundabouts from ever being built in the city. Leaders of that group said Wednesday they have about 450 of the 588 signatures they need.

“If they do get funding in the future they’ll go ahead with the roundabout project,” said Patricia Minnis, a former councilwoman. “We just want to end it.”

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

7 Responses to “Funding for Cotati roundabout plan in doubt”

  1. Social Dis-Ease says:

    If something seems inorganic to the natural ‘progression’ of events.

    Like the City is marching to the beat of drums that the People don’t hear.

    They aren’t marching to the People’s beat, their marching to ICLEI’s…

    There’s gonna be some ‘events’ comin’ down the tracks, sure would be good to have your local government on the right team.

    That’s where all this crap is coming from folks.

    That’s where a lot of uncalled for sabotage comes from.

    Time to unify our voice, and ask…

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  2. Cotatian says:

    To the Council who are so determined to cram this project through: Has anyone seen even ONE sign anywhere in town saying “YES Roundabouts”? I think that says it all, Council.

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  3. Follower says:

    “Designs may have to sit there until we figure out a way to fund them,”

    And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.

    If the citizens want to gussy up their town, the citizens will vote to pay for it.
    If they can’t afford it, then guess what… THAT is the town you live in, as is, like it or move.

    Personally, I love Cotati “as is” & wouldn’t complain one bit if I lived there.
    Yes, the traffic can be a drag but it’s “Cotati”!
    What’s the rush?!!

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  4. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Once we get past this oppressive chapter in our history, we will remember.
    We will remember who stood with the People, and who was a self servant.
    Not a ‘public servant’.

    Who sold their constituents out to make their deal ‘sustainable’.

    When this day comes, many of us activists and citizen groups may have a new mission.

    Seeing to it that any public official complicit in this oppression doesn’t get to be in public service again.

    If busy citizens in the private sector can make the time, put ourselves at risk looking after the preservation of our Country and Community then these people should be able to.

    Stand with the People.
    Stand with their oath.
    Stand for the Constitution.
    Stand with this globalist NGO.

    why do we belong to ICLEI?

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  5. Eric Newman says:

    That would be a shame for the innovative urban design plan to get lost in the redevelopment reshuffle. let’s hope the city can find a way to retain the Village Main Street project.

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  6. Every taxpayer in Cotati should be outraged over this. First, the city squanders over a million dollars on The Downtown Specific Plan, which depends on $73 million in Federal, State, and Redevelopment funds for its implementation. Without those funds, it’s a worthless piece of paper sitting on a dusty shelf at City Hall.

    Then, after realizing the DSP was deeply flawed, they came up with the two-lane roundabout scheme, costing taxpayers another $516,000 for a useless piece of paper. They are also in the process of updating the city’s General Plan, which will cost another $500,000. That’s over $2 million, all being sucked from the wallets of a town with only 7500 people, and all for nothing.

    The only good news? Hopefully, this will put a stake through the heart of the business-choking two-lane plan. Also there’s an election in November, and voters will be frequently reminded which candidates have been wasting our money.

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  7. Jim says:

    I find this and the article on the lack of funding for sidewalks near the school in Santa Rosa funny as they are surrounded by an article on how money is pouring into the political race.

    Politicians are bought and paid for. Votes are bought. Just an observation.

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