Cotati is considering easing its cap on fast food-type businesses. The potential change is sparked by a high vacancy rate in the city’s commercial spaces, said Assistant City Manager Micah Hinkle, who oversees City Hall economic development efforts.
The Sebastopol City Council, with the controversial CVS Pharmacy project still casting a shadow over downtown, is adding a chain store ban and solar energy requirements as possible ways to preserve the community’s identity and shape new development.
‘As the city grows and develops and learns, there is a lack of clarity in what the city wants future growth to look like, and it is important the council become pro-active,’ said Vice Mayor Robert Jacob. ‘It is very clear our town wants to maintain its unique, small-town identity.’
In a first test of Sonoma’s new rules governing so-called formula stores, the city planning commission has narrowly rejected a use permit for Berkeley-based Peet’s Coffee and Tea to open an outlet near the historic city plaza.
A controversial proposal to restrict chain stores in Sonoma has been significantly scaled back amid infighting among city leaders who are at odds over the issue. The original proposal called for banning all “formula businesses” from Sonoma’s historic Plaza and enacting new use permit requirements elsewhere in the city. But the latest version, which is supported by a slim majority on the City Council, calls for banning only formula restaurants on the plaza.
Opponents of proposed chain-store restrictions in Sonoma won a victory last week when city leaders backed away from enacting a temporary ban. But with a narrow majority on the City Council clearly favoring the concept, it’s probably only a matter of months before the city of 10,000 joins a select few nationwide that have such regulations. What, if anything, should the City Council do?
After days of making national news, Sonoma city leaders on Wednesday backed away from enacting a temporary ban on chain stores. Some saw the proposal as a way to protect the town’s character, but others said it would shut out economic development. Was it the right decision?
Williams-Sonoma could face an uphill battle over its plans to return to Sonoma and open a store at the original site on Broadway due to possible city regulations on chain stores. What do you think the City Council should do?
The conspiracy theories are in full swing in Sonoma over the city’s exploration of new regulations for chain and big-box stores.
Sonoma’s latest foray into whether it should regulate chain stores had city leaders on the defensive Monday night as they discussed the formation of a committee to study the issue. The meeting revealed how difficult it will be for the City Council to reach consensus. Councilmembers debated the need for a committee at all, and then, who among them was most qualified to serve on it.
Power plays and political sniping are becoming more apparent in the debate over chain stores in Sonoma as the city inches closer to becoming one of the few in California to strictly regulate corporate businesses. Even the normally routine matter of what issues city councilmembers can bring up for discussion at public meetings is now under review after one councilmember accused another of wasting staff time with the chain store debate.