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 took more public comment Thursday on the controversial proposal for a CVS Pharmacy and Chase bank branch, but deferred making a decision for another three weeks. Mayor Guy Wilson said the council will withhold deliberations until the Aug. 7 meeting because of the large amount of testimony, letters and emails that have been received. Armstrong Development Inc. of Sacramento is asking the City Council to overturn the May 30 action by the Design Review Board that denied the project’s latest design.
Sebastopol Mayor Guy Wilson will not be seeking re-election to a second term in November, opening up a seat on the City Council that is expected to draw a lot of attention. Robert Jacob, a city planning commissioner and owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, and Kathy Austin, a former mayor and an architect, have filed papers with the Sebastopol City Clerk indicating their intention to run. Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer also has filed for re-election.
The Sebastopol City Council broached the subject of seeking a new half-cent sales tax Tuesday, at the same time it gave tentative approval to a $5 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. ‘Nobody wants to jump at a tax, but inevitably we will have to look at that,’ said Mayor Guy Wilson.
The CVS and Chase buildings, which would look unlike any others in the nation, were designed by Sebastopol architect Kevin Kellogg. But after six hearings before the Design Review Board and two before the City Council, the project still didn’t pass muster. ‘Yes they came back many times, but the focus should be on how good can we get,’ said Lynn Deedler, design board vice chairman.
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.
Dozens of people lined up Monday night to try to sway the Sebastopol City Council on a controversial CVS Pharmacy proposed for one of the city’s most prominent spots. The crowd of about 250 people was about 2-to-1 in favor, based on a show of hands, with supporters calling the project well-designed and a plus for business, and those against wanting something smaller and more fitting Sebastopol’s small-town character. The council will decide the fate of the project next month. What should it do?
Sebastopol loves a good debate, and little is as contentious in this west county city of 7,500 as development. Attention is now turned on the CVS Pharmacy project proposed for one of Sebastopol’s most visible corners.
There is nothing quite like a leaf blower to create a swirling controversy in Sebastopol. After an earlier decision to ban the noisy, but labor-saving, machines, the Sebastopol City Council may be seeking middle ground at its Tuesday meeting.