President Barack Obama laid out plenty of ideas for creating jobs Thursday night, but here’s one you didn’t hear him pitch — tweaking zoning rules to boost economic development. While it may not be on the president’s radar, that’s precisely the approach the Santa Rosa City Council is taking to generate jobs locally. And much like Obama’s plan, it is not without its skeptics.
A tentative ruling from a Sonoma County judge will keep a Larkfield medical marijuana dispensary closed while it goes through the county permitting process. Judge Mark Tansil ruled that Sonoma County has an interest in enforcing zoning laws, deterring violations from other marijuana clubs and protecting the public.
A group of local merchants has sent a letter to the Sonoma City Council demanding changes to the city’s zoning ordinances to “keep our town free of big-box store conglomerates.” The council will take up the issue tonight when it reviews a proposal to open a Staples office supply and computer store on West Napa Street.
Sonoma County has lost a bid to shut down a medical marijuana dispensary on the eastern outskirts of Santa Rosa, where it has been operating for months without a permit. Staff members say it serves many elderly patients, including people from the nearby Oakmont and Spring Lake Village retirement communities.
Sonoma County’s zoning board voted unanimously Thursday to allow an 83-foot-tall cell phone tower near Oakmont. Critics said the tower would emit dangerous levels of radiation while supporters said it would finally provide decent cell service in the area.
The Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments will take up a proposal Thursday to install an 83-foot-tall cellphone tower off Highway 12 across from the entrance to Oakmont. Some residents are concerned the tower will mar the scenic views and possibly expose them to radio frequency radiation. Others support the tower, saying it would provide better cellphone coverage.
A Cazadero company agreed to repair two Russian River beaches where it removed gravel in May as a way to groom the gravel bars for the summer tourist season. Bohan & Canelis did not admit it violated Sonoma County’s zoning laws that prohibit gravel mining in the lower Russian River.