Sonoma County officials made their first pitch for a public power agency on Tuesday night to the Sebastopol City Council, with seven more stops to go in a campaign to enroll eight cities in a plan to supplant PG&E as their sole source of electricity.
Two hundred people turned out Thursday in Santa Rosa to rail against PG&E SmartMeters, complaining that individual opt-out fees are unfair, that cities should be able to get out of the program and that the wireless technology is a health threat.
Land use consultants Scot Stegeman and Russ Pinto were appointed to the Sebastopol Planning Commission on Tuesday. The two were praised by the council for their long experience in land use planning, which are beneficial attributes as the city gets ready to update the General Plan for the first time in 20 years.
Two new members were seated on the Sebastopol City Council Tuesday night, in a meeting where the outgoing mayor made an eloquent plea for the city to reunite after what had been a divisive and bitter election season.
The controversial CVS Pharmacy project, already subjected to two dozen meetings and hours of public debate over a two-year span, received final approval after midnight Wednesday by the City Council. In a 3 to 2 vote, the council approved the final design for project by Armstrong Development of Sacramento, overturning an earlier rejection by the Design Review Board to design approval.
The Sebastopol City Council deferred taking action on a proposal to sharply increase water and sewer rates until alternative, lower hikes can be explored.
A controversial proposal by CVS Pharmacy to build at one of Sebastopol’s most visible intersections was in limbo Wednesday after the City Council rejected its design plans. Now the developer, who declined comment, must decide whether to revise the design, give up the project already approved by the City Council after a year of discussion or consider legal action.
The contentious debate over the CVS Pharmacy project in Sebastopol is tinged with complaints of bias and free speech violations. Opponents sought to have Sebastopol City Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer disqualified from the vote, contending that a misdirected email showed that she was biased in favor of the project. And they complained the mayor violated their rights to free speech by barring a slide show.
After three hours of sometimes bitter debate about whether radio frequencies cause health problems, the Sebastopol City Council Tuesday allowed additional antennas to be added to an existing telecommunications tower behind City Hall. The council in a 2-2 vote denied the appeal of the EMF Safety Network, a Sebastopol group that has vociferously fought PG&E’s SmartMeters, downtown Sebastopol Wi-Fi and cellphone antennas.
The Sebastopol City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that restricts panhandling, which city officials say has increased in the past few months. No longer will panhandlers be allowed to solicit occupants of vehicles along streets and in parking lots and people at banks and ATMs.