Jan 30, 2019
by Duane Dewitt
Authentic Community Engagement has been “deprioritized” in Roseland according to Margaret Van Vliet the current Executive Director of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC). She informed the Citizens Advisory Committee of the CDC about this decision during the Wednesday Jan 16, 2019 meeting held at 10:00 am. When some questions were asked of CDC staff by the Commissioners about the status of keeping the Commissioners informed about ongoing projects Ms. Van Vliet conceded there were times the staff was not doing well at updating the Commission, let alone the community. Two years ago, the county was awarded a $392,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency for Brownfields Revitalization in Roseland which stipulated Community Engagement would be a top component of the grant. Yet in the last year only two meetings with the public were held to help the community what was occurring regarding the spending for community outreach.
At Roseland Village Shopping Center two bulletin boards were built to help inform the community of upcoming events but they are rarely used. Announcements and agendas for meetings involving Roseland are not posted in the Roseland Library Branch either.
With important matters coming up such as an effort to subdivide the 7 acres of the Roseland Shopping Center owned by the county taxpayers into 5 separate lots it will be helpful to keep the community informed. On Thursday Jan. 24, 2019 at a meeting of the Santa Rosa Planning Commission an item had been scheduled for a public hearing about this matter, but it was rescheduled for Thursday Feb. 6, 2019 at 4 pm at the Santa Rosa City Hall at 100 Santa Rosa Ave. at the intersection of Sonoma Ave. in downtown Santa Rosa. The attorney for the owner of the remaining 4 acres of the Roseland Village Shopping Center appeared at the public hearing on Jan. 24 to read into the record a protest against the matter going forward. The owner of the 4 acres on the east side of the shopping center is a relative of Viggo Poulsen who originally built the shopping center in partnership with Hugh Codding in the 1950s.
Since that time there has been an agreement in place regarding the parking and traffic flow patterns in the parking lot. Now the county wants to let the proposed developers of housing on the western 7 acres of the site be allowed to ignore the stipulations of the previously agreed upon easements from the past. The Thursday Feb. 6 meeting of the Planning Commission will be an important time for Roseland residents to express concerns about traffic problems on Sebastopol Rd and what the future traffic flow will be with housing being built.
Another concern will be the end of the Roseland Library and Boys and Girls Club at the site latter this year. The Roseland Community Benefit Initiative (CBI) meeting at 10 am on Thursday Jan. 24, 2019 in the Library building mentioned there is support from their small group for the branch to be moved to another site a mile to the east in the Wright School District. It will be in the area of the Food Maxx Grocery Store where there is a large parking lot. The timing of the move is not certain, but Sonoma County employees have previously stated they expect environmental clearance to be completed for the Roseland Shopping Center in mid-2019.
The members of Roseland CBI have formulated two main issues they will be supporting for 2019. They are seeking mandatory inspections of all rental units in Roseland to assure safe sites for renters. Also, they are seeking to help reduce youth crime in Roseland by better communication and cooperation with the Santa Rosa Police Department. When asked one of the women at the CBI meeting stated she did not see any difference for the better since the annexation of Roseland into the city of Santa Rosa over 16 months ago. As a matter of fact, she stated she only saw the police in the area when someone called them. Other Roseland residents have told Roseland Review they hope the police will enforce the laws better, especially for traffic and parking violations.
Now with Spring approaching the West Side Little League is holding signups for youth baseball ages 8-12. Here is information to contact Westside Little League. P.O. Box 4808. Santa Rosa, California 95402. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone : 707-674-5024. Also, of interest to local residents may be the Earth Day neighborhood cleanup to be done in the Roseland NeighborWood on Saturday April 20 from 10am to 12. Tools and snacks provided.
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