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Springs Splash by Thomas Martin

Springs Residents and Mission Inn Employees Clean Up Sonoma Creek!
Plus Hopeful Housing News

 

Oct 6, 2018
by Thomas Martin

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Creek walkers readily found trash left by hikers or campers and local volunteers also cleared refuse from the Sonoma Creek tributaries.

These wonderful people gathered in Larson Park on the shores of Sonoma Creek to gather bottles, trash, and other debris on Coastal Clean Up Day (9/15/18). Families and Mission Inn workers spoke with pride about improving the environment on Sonoma’s central waterway.

Creek walkers readily found trash left by hikers or campers. During rainfall months that debris washes to the bay. Sonoma Creek is home to fish, animals, and other marine life. Historically the creek was the site of Native American villages. Springs residents say, “Thank you,” to the good people who cleaned up the Creek last month. Local volunteers also cleared refuse from the Sonoma Creek tributaries, Nathanson and Fryer Creeks. Bravo and thanks to each of them!

More housing in the Springs?

County proposes changes to housing density rules.

In late August a staff report from the County Planning Commission was revealed that proposes several changes affecting the Springs. Among the proposed changes are the following ideas.

  • Rezoning to make it easier to build multi-family housing units.
  • Encourage greater population density within Urban Service Areas (UBS). Services provided within an UBS are sewers, water, police and fire protection, roads, and transit opportunities.
  • Allow a new kind of housing in Urban Service Areas known as Cottage Housing which would allow for various kinds of structures on a single acre of land.
  • Change the standard population density per unit to allow a greater number of small rental units and discourage large developments.
  • Establish standards for condominium conversion and provide greater protection for residents in mobile home parks.

Valley growth predicted.

In Sonoma Valley these changes would affect land areas outside the City of Sonoma. The city’s urban growth boundary (UGB) limits expansion beyond the city limits. However, in areas around the city with urban services such as sewers, police, and fire protection, increased housing and population density would be allowed! It is anticipated the Springs and areas along Eighth Street East would be candidates for more housing and population growth.

Environmental impacts?

These Planning Commission proposals were accompanied by a negative declaration stating there would be “no impact” on the environment. However, the Greenbelt Alliance (GBA) Regional Director, Teri Shore, filed a letter with the County stating the GBA supports increased housing and density but an environmental review is needed. GBA noted that increased population will have an impact on carbon emissions, transportation, schools, shopping services, traffic patterns, increased wildfire protection, police services, and medical services to mention a few.

Watch for notices of time and location of meetings!

These changes are bound to be controversial. Watch for meeting announcements. Attend and express your views. Valley housing is needed.   Let’s make certain that the final decisions of the Board of Supervisors work to the advantage of Springs residents.

Happy New Rain Year!

As the October 1 - September 30 rain year begins, let’s hope 2018-19 brings greater precipitation than 2017-18 when a total of 20.08” was recorded in Boyes Springs. Climate change? Hard to guess in a microclimate like the Springs, but it was a peculiar rain year. The first rainfall came on the heels of the fires, 0.33” on 10/20/17.  In the month of December only 0.05” of moisture fell. In January through February there were 28 days straight without rain. The heaviest month of rainfall was March with 6.0 inches. Over the twelve-month rain year only seven days were recorded with more than an inch of rain. The greatest one-day downpour was 2.45” on April 7. At press time Sonoma had received only 0.05” of rain since April 17!

Data Source: This author reports daily to CoCoRaHS, Community Coordinated Rain and Hail Studies at Colorado State University. Anyone wishing to be a reporter or view the data for Sonoma County, California, the United States and Canada go to www.cocorahs.org. Sonoma County has the second most reporters (150) in California. San Diego has 177. Are you a weather buff? Checkout www.cocorahs.org.

Springs News Welcome! Have newsworthy information to share?

Send to Springs Splash at tvmsonoma@att.com. Next deadline October 12.

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