Aug 30, 2018
by Thomas Martin
Hot dawg! The ambitious proposal to spruce up the Springs and give it pizazz is moving forward.Evidence of the community’s interest can be seen by active citizen attendance at the Springs Community Alliance meeting in mid-August. Chair Rich Lee introduced County Representative Yolanda Solano who moderated the meeting.
County Representative Yolanda Solano hardly got into her presentation of an overview when questions from the floor came fast and furious. Citizens wanted to know answers to a number of pertinent questions:
▪ Can we widen the sidewalks?
▪ Will there be pocket parks for kids?
▪ Are there plans for bicycle paths?
▪ Where will people park if a Plaza is built?
▪ Is there funding available for planned improvements?
▪ What happens to a business that doesn’t fit or is outmoded?
▪ If more affordable housing is built, how can we deal with extra traffic?
At each stage of the plan development residents have an opportunity to voice their views. Several months ago there were four community workshops beginning with a large turn out at El Verano School. Second, the Community Advisory Team (CAT)is developing design guidelines (see below). In mid-August planning meetings were held at the Springs Community Alliance (above) and later at the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (SVCAC). An environmental impact review is underway. When ready there will be a draft published in October.
The plan will be available for public review. Then it will go to the County Planning Commission. After a final EIR the plan will return to the County Planning Commission for a recommendation. Assuming approval, the proposal will be sent to the full Board of Supervisors. Susan Gorin, Supervisor for District 1, has been a steady supporter of the Springs Specific Plan.
A Community Advisory Team (CAT) appointed by Supervisor Gorin meets periodically with County planners to hammer out details and decisions that will become “Design Guidelines” for change. Some guidelines will carry mandatory rules, others may be permissive. Watch for announcements of the next meeting (at La Luz) and plan to attend.
Design Guidelines CAT members are charged with creating will bring life and energy to the Springs plan. CAT is establishing rules and directives regarding the following subjects:
▪ Character of buildings, design of complimentary architecture
▪ Windows and doors, compliment the architecture, insure comfort and visual interest for pedestrians
▪ Use of color and materials, for aesthetic value in keeping with Springs styles
▪ Site design: Building placement, orient towards streets, the Plaza, sidewalks
▪ Pedestrian circulation, make well-defined walkways, sidewalks, parking, bicycle paths
▪ Parking, minimize visual impact and number of driveways, add central parking, include landscaping
▪ Service areas, be visually limited, screened, and incorporated into buildings
▪ Public Spaces, outdoor seating, vegetation, shade, parklets
▪ Sidewalk amenities, benches, art, furniture, landscaping, bicycle racks
▪ Landscaping and fences, ensure design for site beautification
▪ Signs, wall, window, and hanging - control clutter, insure compatibility with environment and buildings
▪ Springs Plaza, create a center for community life in center of Springs
▪ Gateway Signs, distinguish the Springs from the remainder of Highway 12 when entering from either direction.
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