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Sebastappeal - April 2015

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Sebastappeal - April 2015

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Too Many Signs!

Thank you to Gazette readers who responded to last month’s article with appreciation for my message: “Let’s clean up our streetscape.” Another thank you to the many folks who took action and removed the [red-n-white] non-campaign and/or unapproved business signs. From what I’m hearing, our community likes the new, crisper, cleaner look. 

Others commented that I overlooked the “mess of signs” at Sebastopol’s gateways. Thank you for reminding me. I ran out of space last month and didn’t get to this item on the list of “sign litter” complaints that I’d received. 

Take a look at the temporary signs at: the “grassy strip” at our western entrance; the open area east of the commercial buildings on Morris Street; the landscaping along Sebastopol Avenue; and, of lesser concern, the northerly and southerly gateways. The comments I hear reflect our community’s broad range of opinion: from support [“All the signs show how active our community is!”] to annoyance [“How messy they look” and “There are so many that I can’t even read them!”]

There are rules and regulations about placement of event signs on public and private property. For details about our ordinances that govern signs, contact the Planning Department, Director Kenyon Webster at kwebster@cityofsebastopol.org.  

I’m hoping we can continue to improve our “curb appeal.” Business and event people, please consider the message conveyed by your sign and by its public placement. Customers and participants, please think about what you would like our commercial areas and gateways to look like. I welcome your thoughts about sign issues. Email me at sarahcouncil@yahoo.com with “sign” as the subject. Signs are the purview of our Design Review Board; contact them through City Hall.

Not Enough Appreciation

I was reminded by Bob Beauchamp’s resignation from our Design Review Board about how thankless public service is, even more so when public servants are used as “The Complaint Department,” even about things we have no control over.

I want to publically thank all of our civic volunteers for their many contributions and their commitment to serve our City. It’s challenging work, especially given our tendency toward conflict, and takes perseverance and dedication. Your time, thought, and energy are gifts to our community.  I appreciate your generosity.

As I said at the March 3 Council meeting, I encourage appointees to seek guidance, help, and training through the Chair of your Board. Our assigned City Staff Member can also assist and, at the top level, our City Manager/Attorney, Larry McLaughlin. I also encourage board members to take the initiative about difficulties encountered in your role. Work through your Chair to define the problem, suggest solutions, and forward the matter, along with your skilled input, to the Council.

More Opportunities

Three vacancies on the Complete Streets Advisory Committee have been posted for applicants willing to serve for two years. Check the City website for details and the closing deadline. Interviews and appointments will likely take place in May.  

This board provides advice to the Council on matters relating to all forms of transportation other than privately-owned motor vehicles. It works to raise awareness of alternative transportation issues.  

Extra publicity about the two openings on the DRB raised nine applicants. I’m hoping the Council will have as many for these openings. Are you a bus rider, pedestrian, cyclist? Involved in The Ped Line or Sebastopol Walks? Not yet involved and wanting to give back to your community? Submit your application! 

Successes

March brought the successful Documentary Film Festival and Sebastopol World Friends’ 30th Anniversary, celebrated with adult and youth visitors from Takeo City, Japan. Sincere thanks to our community volunteers who planned and orchestrated these phenomenal events. Good wishes for sunny weather and big crowds at the Apple Blossom Parade and Festival, April 18 and 19!

Upcoming Developments

The City will hold a public meeting on the Laguna Wetlands Preserve Management Plan on Saturday, April 25, from 9-11:30 AM at the Center for the Arts.  The Preserve includes the Laguna Youth Park, Americorps Trail area, Meadowlark Field, Tomodachi Park, and the Railroad Forest. Come discuss how to protect and enhance the Preserve, to facilitate responsible public enjoyment, to coordinate volunteer stewardship, and to strengthen the identity of this area as a whole.  

Keep your fingers crossed for the re-opening of Palm Drive Hospital as Sonoma West Medical Center on Monday, April 27!