The residents of Healdsburg have a vision for the future of their City. I believe I know what that vision is, after knocking on over 1,500 doors and speaking with hundreds of my neighbors. They see a City where residents and tourists co-exist, where housing is at least obtainable, where children fill our schools and the fabric of our small-town flourishes.
How do we get to this somewhat idealized version of our future? An American Institute of Architects team came to Healdsburg in August to help us figure this out through their Sustainable Design Assessment Team – SDAT. I had the honor of working with a small but dedicated committee of visionaries, to help secure one of only nine such studies conducted nationwide this year. While the final report is due this month, we were given a presentation of their preliminary recommendations.
SDAT confirmed many of the issues I have focused on over the last several years and in my City Council campaign:
- The City should focus its efforts on affordable housing for our lowest earners as well as our “missing middle” families. We need a comprehensive plan looking at all factors including a Housing Land Trust, the use of Measure S funds, a housing bond, in-lieu fees, inclusionary housing, ADUs and the use of City-owned properties for building. I support Measure P – the GMO amendment which will allow 50 additional units of middle-income rental housing to be built each year.
- We need to build neighborhoods, not just developments. The City needs an over-arching citizen-driven master planning process that outlines what we want developed, perhaps even detailed to the block level in some areas.
- The number of hotel rooms is about to double. We need to push “pause” on future hotel development. Every new hotel room has an incremental impact on the livability of Healdsburg in terms of traffic, parking, and overall resources. This will mean updating the City’s general plan now, not later.
- We need an economic development team to focus on bringing new businesses to Healdsburg that pay at a level such that our residents can afford to live and thrive in our City. SDAT found that 5,000 people per day commute OUT of Healdsburg.
- We need to connect our neighborhoods, as well as take advantage of our Russian River resources. For example, the City’s upgrade of Badger Park’s river access should be tied to the County’s plan for a new Memorial Beach Park. We also need to look at connecting our City’s neighborhoods from East to West, not just our traditional North/South focus.
- I also support the SDAT report’s recommendation that we involve the arts into all of our design and development efforts. Our City’s thriving arts community is a resource we should tap to make our community truly world-class.
I have religiously attended Council and Commission meetings over the last five years to understand the issues and contribute to our great community. We should be meeting common goals as a Council. I believe we can build issue-based alliances on the Council that work for all perspectives in solving our toughest problems and challenges, but also put Residents First! I look forward to the honor and opportunity to serve our community.
— Tim Meinken, Candidate for Healdsburg City Council