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Sebastopol to launch General Plan update


Sebastopol, the small town known for big brouhahas over new development, is about to revamp its long-term blueprint for growth.

Updating the city’s General Plan, a process expected to take at least 30 months and cost $400,000 or more, will get going in earnest early next year.

SebastopolCity Hall is already laying the groundwork, shopping for a consulting firm to guide the effort and later this month considering the makeup of a citizens advisory committee.

“The city is seeking a forward-thinking, progressive and innovative General Plan that supports Sebastopol’s vitality and livability,” Planning Director Kenyon Webster said in a request for proposals from consulting firms.

General plans, required by state law, are “a statement of the community’s vision of the future,” according to Sebastopol’s current plan, adopted in 1994.

Going on 20 years old, the plan has exhausted its shelf life, officials say.

“We’re all agreed that it’s time to do a new one,” City Manager Larry McLaughlin said.

Crafting the 1994 plan was “a pretty drawn-out process,” he said, and Webster’s message to consultants suggested more of the same.

Sebastopol has “an active population, highly engaged in community affairs,” he said. “It is anticipated there will be a high level of community involvement with the update.”

Although Sebastopol is a city of about 7,500 people, it deals with bigger issues as the hub for a sprawling West County population of 40,000 to 50,000 with the crossroads of two state highways — 12 and 116 — in the heart of its downtown.

Dealing with traffic is likely to be a focus of the plan update, McLaughlin said. Webster’s message said the new blueprint should include “promoting pedestrian-oriented development and streetscapes over accommodation of the automobile.”

At a community workshop on General Plan issues in February attended by 60 people, concerns were voiced over the city’s parking standards and traffic measurement.

Participants suggested that Sebastopol’s parking requirements result in “too much land devoted to cars,” especially downtown, and should be reviewed.

It was also noted that the assessment of development-related traffic impacts on city streets “may discourage downtown housing and other desirable development.”

Jude Kreissman, chairwoman of the 1994 General Plan Advisory Committee, said it was “an amazingly effective document” that helped Sebastopol redirect its growth.

In the early 1990s, the city was ringed by proposals for major housing developments that would promote urban sprawl, Kreissman said.

“At that time development was really piecemeal,” she said. “We were not looking at the whole community.”

The General Plan was intended to promote “infill development” within city boundaries rather than expanding them, she said.

“We wanted a plan for growth to fit what people wanted.”

The plan also “helped establish some legitimacy for environmental, health and development issues that are now much more widely accepted.”

Kreissman, a retired teacher, said people have asked her to get involved in the impending update, but she does not intend to do so.

At its Sept. 17 meeting, the City Council is scheduled to discuss the composition of the advisory committee.

McLaughlin said he expects the consultant should be hired and the committee appointed by the end of the year, and work on the new plan could start in January.

(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.)

7 Responses to “Sebastopol to launch General Plan update”

  1. bear says:

    Greedy, lucky neighbor?

    Might be someone who inherited money without effort or merit. Might be someone who’s evading taxes. Might be someone who pretends to be Christian but hides behind the principles of Christianity.

    Nobody here has any idea of the sleazy. unprosecuted deals that go on every day.

    So what is the reason we don’t at least tax these jerks? Check the historic rate of corporate taxes. YOU would rather pay more?

    NO corporate tax breaks. No subsides to corporate farms or energy production. NO hiding income off-shore.

    Congress has the power but refuses to use it.

  2. James Bennett says:

    Follower; I follow you.
    But the whole process has been molested.
    Our local electoril process included.

    As I’ve said, this insideous globalist Agenda has created like a government within our government.

    All this crap going on that belies our common sense is from their directive.

    Smart, Common Core school curriculum, fluoride, disarming the populace, decimation of property rights and our Constitution, deliberate fiscal crashing, tyrannical water and energy management, etc., etc..

    I’m lazy, but not when it comes to my activism. Spent half my day writing to public officials. Driving to the City tonight to garner interest in a documentary about Plan Bay Area/Agenda 21.

    We need to wake up and come together.

    Left/Right is to devide and distract.

    IMHO; it’s American or globalist, if you go along with groups and ideology that isn’t in our rule book (the Constitution) you are aiding the enemy.

    If you took an oath, you are literally in treason.

    We are going down a road that leads to tyranny.

    I pray that the big official in the sky comes down and blows the whistle.

    Too many fouls.

  3. Follower says:

    “Most of which obviously don’t understand what they are being part of”

    This is what angers me the most about our current political environment. These people you speak of are a reflection of the voters who elected them.
    This is the inevitable, historically proven result of “Democracy” which is EXACTLY why our Founders created a “Republic” instead.

    People are inherently lazy and greedy and that includes YOU!

    We humans will do as little as possible to get as much as possible.

    It’s impossible to read that and not be offended but it’s not a pejorative statement, it just is the nature of man.

    While on its face it may seem like a negative and in most cases it is, it’s also what made this nation great.
    People willing to pay money for things that allow them to get more with less effort is rooted in the lazy, greedy nature of man and is the engine that drove the creativity and innovation of people like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

    But now that we have perverted our Constitution to create a Nanny State, people have become accustom to the Government providing sustenance and guidance.
    We no longer struggle to survive because the Government is there with a fist full of your neighbor’s wealth, ready to trade on the open market of personal Liberty and votes.

    And the majority of us are perfectly willing to give up our freedom for the security facade the politicians have erected with money borrowed from our children’s future.

    Many voters know better but just can’t help themselves. Other’s are just completely oblivious and assume “the Government must have extra money or they wouldn’t keep sending me these checks.”

    They pretend to believe the lies our politicians tell us because it’s much easier to support someone giving you your neighbor’s money than it is to study their claims, call their bluff and elect someone promising to make you work for your own survival, be responsible for your own failures and suffer the consequences of your bad life decisions.

    This undisputable fact is proven by Congress’s 12% approval rate with their 90% re-election rate.

    “ I know they’re lying too me but I’m tired of working so hard, paying for my mistakes and watching my greedy, lucky neighbor get richer than me. So I’ll vote for the person offering me the most wealth they can take from that greedy neighbor of mine and trade a little freedom for the security of knowing that no matter how bad I screw up my life my standard of living can never drop below that of a third world aristocrat.”

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

  4. James Bennett says:

    Thnx. Emmo,
    how come conspiracy and theory are used together all the time?

    UN Agenda 21 is a conspiracy fact.

    Reading the PD is like an implementation manual.

    I try to connect the dots when I can.

    If 2 or 3 out of 10 wake up, it’s worth some flak from the other 7 or 8.

    There’s a lot at stake.

  5. Emerson Burkett says:

    Gosh James,
    You sure like to ride your Conspiracy Theory. Gave you a thumbs up, anyway. WTF.

  6. bear says:

    The city is complying with State law.

    Otherwise, they will get sued and we will pay lawyers $600/hour to figure it out.

    A new General Plan can say whatever you want it to say. Provided the City Council votes for it. That would be the democratic process? I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce has an alternate opinion.

    But WHY would anyone want radical change for Sebastopol? Certainly one of the best little cities in CA. People have fought to keep it that way.

    Be grateful for what you have.

  7. James Bennett says:

    I got an idea.

    It won’t sabotage Sebastopol’s down town business, automobile use or satisfy grant money criteria though.

    Why not lose the 20 parking meters on both sides of Hwy. 116 between Whole Foods and the Hwy. 12/Bodega intersection? Widening it, and make it a section of road with two way traffic?

    Take that contentious piece that was Pellini Chevrolet, make it a large parking lot (without tricky kiosks).

    Maybe have a shuttle that goes by the Barlow and it’s new hotel, circle through restaurants, tasting rooms and down town retail. With a nice landscaped mound around the parking. Fostering visits to down town small business, greatly reducing the need for bottle necked traffic by the Plaza/Down Town Square. Most would bypass it, instead turning at 12 and 116. A traffic sign could indicate same.

    What the globalists want is to make it a Smart Growth hub, like most every city on the Planet. Complete with the “Complete Street” model in place, roundabouts, parking shenanigans. New buildings with retail that they can control. Pick winners and losers. Organic local small business loses of course.

    Build it and they will come, especially if they don’t have a choice.

    Remember reading about those new empty cities in China?

    They’re not all empty anymore.

    The Chinese military has been forcing a million country people a month off their farms. Off a way of life many families have led for thousands of years. Now they work for the State, except those over 45 years. They are given a very small subsidy, as there isn’t work for them, they are cast aside. Evidently they have installed suicide nets, as depressed, distraught once proud citizens have been jumping off their Smart Growth to their death and occasionally the death of those walking below. Can you imagine?

    That’s their “Workforce Housing”.

    Here, we still think we’re free, perhaps more importantly, we’re still armed.

    So much more subtlety, more incrementalism is being employed by these tyrants through our adherent officials. Most of which obviously don’t understand what they are being part of.

    That’s what Plan Bay Area and the Smart Train is about. Again, our train isn’t a transportation plan, it’s a globalist directed land use plan. Also a means to fiscally crash.

    Makes me want to embrace Labor Day in the spirit it was conceived

    We should be concerned about how our plans are being…updated.