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Our County by Efren Carrillo - October 2015


Our County by Efren Carrillo - October 2015

by Efren Carrillo

Our Local Coastal Plan (LCP) is currently undergoing an update.  The staff at the Permit Resource and Management Department (PRMD) have held 4 public workshops in the coastal communities in the past month to elicit public comment, and all were well attended.  An additional workshop was held in Santa Rosa.

Public concern about protections for the Coast is part of Sonoma County’s legacy.  In fact, the development of the Sea Ranch led to the establishment of the California Coastal Commission and, subsequently, our Local Coastal Plan.  Sonoma County citizens are currently actively working to keep our coastal beaches available to all by opposing parking fees for beach parking lots.

Beginning with an editorial in last month’s issue of the Gazette, a campaign has been mounted to claim that “big wine” is behind the inclusion of an agricultural element into the LCP update.  Others claim that County planning staff is inserting policies to weaken the LCP, and allow for massive new development to support event centers on the Coast benefitting “big wine”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The LCP effort is intended to create a modern, up-to-date web accessible document with digital maps that is user friendly.  The update focuses on 5 key areas: 

Water Quality,
Biotic Resources,
Geologic Hazards,
Sea Level Rise,
and Public Access.  The update will continue and strengthen existing protections for our precious coastal resources.

As to the concern that this plan will result in an explosion of vineyard conversions and “event centers” related to new agriculture, rest assured that the protections currently in place remain under the LCP update.  Currently there are 0 tasting rooms on agriculturally zoned lands in the Coastal Zone.  The only two existing tasting rooms are confined to commercially zoned properties.  There is no change to land use designations or densities proposed in the update.

The Agricultural Element of the LCP draft update is new.  However, it isn’t the result of a conspiracy – it is an attempt to codify the protections within the current LCP.  There are no changes to Agricultural land use designations, minimum lot sizes (160 and 640 acres), maximum residential density, or allowable land use. Of the Agricultural uses currently existing in the coastal zone there are 8 dairies, no wineries, 3 acres of vineyards, and 17,852 acres of rangeland.  What is not allowed in the agriculturally zoned lands?  These remain the same:  Hotels, Motels, resorts, and similar lodging are not permitted.

In order to establish commercial activity – like a winery - on any property, there is a public process.  Obtaining a use permit for processing or tasting rooms requires going to the Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Adjustments, with potential appeals to the Board of Supervisors and in some cases the California Coastal Commission.  These projects are not approved through the back door, and the public has the opportunity to comment on these projects along the way.

Is there a deadline for your comments?  NO!  The LCP is currently in the draft stage.  Public meetings were held, and comments resulting from the draft were asked to be submitted by September 30th.  Staff will revise the preliminary draft document based on public comment and agency input and develop policy options for key issues.  This is a long range project that will not conclude with a final product for at least another year.  There will be 2 public hearings conducted with the Planning Agency, each resulting in additional staff work and revisions, and a “final” draft presented to the Board of Supervisors sometime next year for adoption.  Then, it will be submitted to the California Coastal Commission for certification.  

There will be 4 public hearings – each with an opportunity for public comment – as well as the time in between each hearing for you to submit any comment that you might have on the document.  Staff has worked hard on protecting our coastal resources, and welcomes your input.  To submit your comment on the draft document after you have read it and become informed, please e-mail Lisa Posternak at



Southwest Santa Rosa UPDATE

There are exciting developments and public meetings to report on in the Southwest Santa Rosa area.  In Roseland, we will be opening the first community center at 5pm on October 7th, followed by a public meeting on the future of the Roseland Village Shopping Center.  The event will take place at the Roseland Village Shopping Center, next to the Dollar Tree Store.  The space will be available for community activities, and a new Boys and Girls Club will be opening the same day.  Soon to follow will be the first ever Roseland Public Library branch, opening in early November.  The library is a much anticipated use for the community, and we are thrilled that the Commission has lent its support to providing services while we await future, permanent development.

Moorland Neighborhood Park UPDATE

In Moorland, residents have held two public meetings which actively engaged residents on the design of the future Moorland neighborhood park.  It’s been inspiring to see the engagement of young and old alike in the design features and interests of the neighborhood.   The planning process is the first step in the new park – and is expected to conclude by the end of this year.  Regional Parks hopes to break ground on the new park next spring.


Moorland Park Planning Workshops

Public Invited to Design Park at Community Meetings

Sonoma County Regional Parks is organizing a participatory design process to involve the Moorland neighborhood in each step of planning for a new 4-acre park.  A neighborhood steering committee will guide a design process built upon a series of community workshops at theMoorland Avenue park site in southwest Santa Rosa.

Comprised predominately of residents and other stakeholders, the steering committee will meet before and after each public workshop to develop agendas and distill results. Their actions will directly influencea proposed master plan expected to go to the Board of Supervisors for approval in early 2016.

Each bilingual workshop will focus on a particular design phase to maximize community involvement in decisions that will define the park. The planning process will be clearly outlined and important factors, such as budget and site constraints, described.  Whenever possible, participants will work from a blank page, instead of preconceived proposals, so the group can hear all ideas, insights and concerns. When project limitations exist, participants will be engaged in considering tradeoffs and a variety of communication techniques will be used to ensure all voices are heard.

“The Moorland neighborhood is very close to creating its first park. This exciting project has been over 20 years in the making,” said Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who represents the area and worked to acquire the park land.  “Regional Parks and I have committed to an inclusive process that will engage the community to meet the needs of current residents and future generations who will live, play, and socialize in their neighborhood park.”

Park site, 3390 Moorland Ave. (at the northwest corner of West Robles and Moorland avenues)

Subsequent workshops (All start at 6:30 p.m. Locations to be announced.)

Oct. 8 - Workshop #3 - Evaluating Alternatives and Choosing a Preferred Conceptual Plan

Nov. 12 - Workshop #4 – Refining the Draft Master Plan*                               

*Any revisions to the draft master plan after Workshop #4 will be made with the guidance of the Steering Committee. A final proposed master plan will then be available for public comment and reviewed by the Regional Parks Advisory Commission, which will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Anticipated project timeline

August – December 2015 - Master planning

January 2016 - Board of Supervisors approve park master plan and CEQA document

February – May 2016 - Project Engineering and bidding

Summer 2016 - Construction begins       

For more information, contact Regional Parks’ Project Manager Scott Wilkinson at (707) 565-2734  or Community Organizer Steve Rasmussen Cancian at (213) 400-5426 or (bilingue.)


Our County by Efren Carrillo