By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sebastopol’s council is meeting twice this week to put a sales tax on the November ballot and hear an appeal by the developer of the
proposed CVS Pharmacy project of that proposal’s latest denial.
It also is convening Monday in a closed door session on unspecified potential litigation.
“I cannot remember the council meeting that many times in one week,” said Larry McLaughlin, the city’s longtime attorney and now its interim city manager.
On Tuesday, the council is expected to finalize the plan to put a half per cent sales tax on the November ballot. It would raise $1 million a year for such things as street repair, an update of the city’s general plan and to hire an additional officer for a police force that is the smallest since 1986.
The council gave its tentative approval for the tax measure at its June 19 meeting. McLaughlin said it will now also consider whether to add an expiration date for the sales tax.
If it is approved by voters, Sebastopol’s sales tax would increase from its current 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent and be the in Sonoma County.
Also on Tuesday the council will hear the appeal by Armstrong Development Inc. of Sacramento of the rejection by the city’s Design Review Board of the controversial CVS Pharmacy project.
The board denied Armstrong’s third design proposal on May 30, finding that it was out of character with Sebastopol’s core area and devoted too much space to driveways, parking and drive-throughs.
Armstrong is proposing to build a CVS Pharmacy and Chase bank branch at the site of the vacant Pellini Chevrolet dealership, at a cost of $10 million. CVS and Chase would move to the site from existing buildings elsewhere in Sebastopol.
Armstrong has the major approvals it needs to build the project, but still needs an approved design.
The developer in its appeal contends the Design Review Board did not follow the directives of the City Council when it rejected Armstrong’s design and sent it back to the board.
The developer also contends the reasons for the rejection are not supported by the evidence introduced during the hearing and the denial was based on subjects that were off-topic, McLaughlin said.
Armstrong officials did not return calls seeking comment.
The City Council has set a special meeting for Thursday to make a decision on the appeal.
The Tuesday and Thursday meetings are at 6 p.m. in the Sebastopol Community Center.
The council also has a special closed meeting set for Monday to discuss possible future litigation, which McLaughlin would not identify.
He did say, however, that the city could face lawsuits by either the developer or the citizens group that is opposing the pharmacy project.
You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.