The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Sebastappeal - September 2015


Sebastappeal - September 2015

Pressing Issues and Apples

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Kudos to Diana Rich, Executive Director of the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center and her 150+ volunteers for the fabulous Tour D’Organics. Thank you, too, to Ride Director Daniel Rich, along with course marshals from the Red Peloton and local medical professionals from Velomed. Hundreds of cyclists enjoyed the beauty and bounty of the West County, touring local farms and orchards. Mark your 2016 calendars for August 14 to participate next year. 

Slow Down Sebastopol!  

With school back in session, there are many more drivers, pedestrians and cyclists en route to/from local schools on local streets. We need to observe the “rules of the road” and practice courtesy. Plan ahead, allow enough time to get to your destination, and practice patience. No one wants to be in danger on the street or the sidewalk. 

The City Council resumes its regular meetings on September 1. That evening, the Council will continue its discussion about “formula businesses.” Consider the related issues: 

What area comprises our downtown core?

What businesses should we allow/not allow in the DT core?

What businesses could thrive elsewhere?

What are acceptable locations for formula businesses? 

What areas do we identify as our shopping centers?

I expect a lively debate. Come and add your point of view. If you’re not able to attend, email your representatives and our City Clerk to make sure your voice is heard. 

If the topic of formula businesses doesn’t light your fire, then perhaps fireworks will. The Council will discuss the legal sale and use of fireworks in town. Should these activities continue, be curtailed or ended? Is private use OK? Or only one big public celebration? How do you feel about this?

Check the City’s website for the meeting packet and details.

About two weeks later, the Council is sponsoring PARKing Day on Friday, September 18, an annual open-source event when folks transform parking spaces for cars into temporary public spaces for people. This global celebration, originating 11 years ago in San Francisco, calls attention to the re-dedication of public real estate for car storage to more fun, people-oriented public use. 

Sebastopol’s CORE PROJECT leads the effort to place temporary one-day “parklets” on our City streets, notably our main streets, north- and south-bound Highway 116. This group is taking on Caltrans to get approvals in the highway right-of-way. 

According to Paul Fritz, CORE PROJECT member and local architect, “PARKing Day 2015 will demonstrate how to improve the pedestrian environment in a downtown dominated by cars. The CORE PROJECT will show the community the potential benefits of [permanent] parklets downtown. Congratulations to Sebastopol for once again leading the way!” 

Temporary parklets don’t need to be expensive or complicated. Google “parking day images” for some examples.  Interested? Email

On the next day, Saturday, September 19, the Piazza Hospitality Group and David Baker Architects will host a Community Open House about the Diamond Lumber Yard Site on the east side of The Plaza. About a year ago, this property was the subject of a Council-sponsored workshop. Come see what’s now proposed at 6828 Depot Street – a 59-room “art hotel,” restaurant, spa, workshop space and art studios.  

This event will take place from 1 to 3 PM at the Youth Annex at 425 Morris Street. Attend and let the potential developer know what you support. RSVP’s are welcome to csher@piazzahospitalitygroupcom

Throughout September and October, Slow Food Russian River will operate two community apple presses at the Luther Burbank Gold Ridge Experimental Farm, on Bodega Avenue between Nelson and Pleasant Hill. 

Use of either press, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 3, is free. Apple quantity is limited to 100 pounds per visit [about 20-30 minutes to press]. Bring your own plastic containers for the juice [no glass allowed]. A volunteer will be on site. Reserve your time at and learn more about local growers. 

The press was a big success at the Gravenstein Fair. According to promoter Bob Burke, “We pressed 2,200 pounds of apples – that’s more than a ton! - over the two days. [About] one-third of the visitors tasted fresh Gravenstein apple juice for free. People of all ages love the press – old folks remember presses from the old days and kids love to work them. Everybody finds something to like.” 

With support from the City Council, Slow Food Russian River is keeping this tradition alive: Sebastopol hosts the only known community apple press in the USA.