Town Hall Meetings

May 3, 2015 Town Meeting

About sixty-five people took two hours on a beautiful spring afternoon to attended the Forestville Town Meeting on May 3 to review site plan designs suggested by the Town Square Planning Group (TSPG)* for the new Town Square and Open Space Park and to hear a report from Supervisor Carrillo.

Meeting Highlights
Park Design
The current plans are based on the input from the two Town Meetings last year and use the fundamental elements approved at those meetings.

See the following two reports for past information:
April 6, 2014 Town Meeting
February 9, 2014 Town Meeting
Kristoffer Koster, of SB Architects, presented the current plan (see below) and showed building design possibilities.

by SB Architects and Land Design, Inc.
Phase 1 plans with no buildings.
Click on image to view larger.
1) Open Space; 2) Gathering Spot; 3) Trail Head; 4) Bike Staging; 5) Holiday Tree; 6) Natural Amphitheater; 7) Picnic Tables; 8) Gazebo; 9) Water Feature; 10) Bus Stop; 11) Central Path; 12) Marketplace; 13) Bathrooms; 14) Shed; 15) Parking.

by SB Architects and Land Design, Inc.
Entire plans showing buildings.
Click on image to view larger.
1) Open Space; 2) Gathering Spot; 3) Trail Head; 4) Bike Staging; 5) Holiday Tree; 6) Natural Amphitheater; 7) Picnic Tables; 8) Gazebo; 9) Water Feature; 10) Bus Stop; 11) Central Path; 12) Outdoor Seating Area; 13) Kiosk; 14) Marketplace; 15) Stage; 16) Bathrooms; 17) Shed; 18) Parking; 19) Assembly Structure.

See more photos at bottom of page.

Koster and other members of the TSPG then responded to questions/comments:

Open Space Vrs. Activities
Regarding the tension between open space and activities, the design preserves 2/3rds of the property as open space while accommodating the Town’s desire for community gathering places (e.g. Holiday Tree lighting) and a stage/gazebo.

The layout maximizes views to the surrounding hills and vineyards; it does not require the removal of any existing trees over 6 inches in diameter.

Note: For the County permit process, it is best to include in our design everything we might want to do in the coming years. That does not commit us to erecting any buildings but allows us the flexibility to do so.

Potential Buildings
The suggested buildings (Assembly Structure #19, figure 1 and Kiosk #13, figure 1) can only be used for purposes related to the public use and recreational easements on the property (such as a bike shop or other concessions).

The Assembly Structure could be used as a meeting hall, a farmer’s market, or possibly for art exhibitions.

Buildings could be sources of rental income to help fund the long-term maintenance of the park.

Water Feature
A water feature, desired by many in the community, will have to be simplified to reflect the current drought conditions.

Location of Stage
The location of the stage will be affected by some road noise, but that is true for all of downtown Forestville.

Landscaped berms along the highway and the fact that the stage site is on a slope somewhat below street level should help with this.

Toilets are required by the County and will be useful for events, such as a farmer’s market or a musical performance.

The Square and Park are designed to be wheelchair friendly, will allow wheelchair access to the West County Trail, and provide for 3-4 disabled parking spaces.

The new parking area will have lighting for nighttime use.

Paving for hard surfaces will be permeable where possible. (Note: emergency vehicles need sufficient traction.)

Horses will continue to be allowed on the West County Trail, and there will be 2 parking spots for horse-trailers (as recommended by the County) in the parking area.

Extension of West County Trail
Ken Tam, from the County Parks and Recreation Department, reported that the County is moving ahead with the extension of the bike trail along Mirabel Road.

The bike trail will be a Class 1 trail (separate from road) to the Youth Park and then a Class 2 trail (on the shoulder of the road) to Steelhead Beach.

He also reported that a $200,000 grant has been provisionally approved towards the $300,000 needed to complete the trail through the new Park.

The design and submission of County permits should be completed this spring. It is hoped the County will approve the permits by next fall.

The first phase of construction then could begin in 2016 (the plaza, new parking area, restroom facilities, and possibly stage).

Development of Adjoining Private Property
Catherine Bartolomei, representing Town Square Associates which owns the property adjacent to the Town Square and Park, reported that an easement lawsuit had prevented any plans for the property.

That lawsuit now has apparently been settled, and she hopes to move ahead with plans, which she will share with the community as soon as she knows what they are.

Fund Raising
Lucy Hardcastle-Barnett announced that the FPA has started a new Fund Development Committee to help meet the needs of growing the new Park.

If you have expertise and interest in helping that Committee, please contact Brian Martens or call 887-8386.

Dates: Every 1st Monday of the month
Next meeting: June 1
Time: 5:30PM
Where: Food For Thought, 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville
(Railroad Ave. parallels Front St. in downtown)

We are encouraging all members to bring ideas, resources, and expertise to these meetings. Join us, to make sure we get the best community park possible.

Want to Comment?
Go to: Comment on Town Square & Park Design

Report from County Supervisor Efren Carrillo
At the Town Meeting, Supervisor Carrillo outlined the many issues that are currently confronting the County and Forestville. He then responded to questions:

The Roundabout is “moving ahead.” Caltrans and the County were recently successful in defending a lawsuit against the roundabout and can now move forward with the design and putting contracts out to bid. The roundabout is already fully funded.

The widening of Mirabel Road is also fully funded and moving ahead.

Regarding the Bypass, not much is happening. Additional funding as well as environmental documentation is needed.

Regarding the release of redevelopment money by the State, the Supervisors are focusing right now on areas where there used to be redevelopment programs. However, some of that money might be available for Forestville.

Regarding the drought, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino are not at critical levels yet. The new State law—The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act—should address concerns about vineyards and others unduly drawing down the water table.

* Town Square Planning Group
The land for the Town Square and Open Space Park was acquired through a public-private partnership between the Sonoma County Open Space District, the Forestville Planning Association, and a private investor group—the Town Square Associates.

The land is under conservation and recreation easements that dedicate it to public use. The Town Square Planning Group (TSPG) consists of representatives from each partner, two local architects, Jeff Blechel and Ken Smith, Dan Northern of the Locals Alliance, and Ken Tam from the County Parks and Recreation Department.

The TSPG is currently benefitting from the generous donation of expertise from the San Francisco architectural firms, SB Architects and Land Design, Inc., as well as by the local engineering firm, Adobe Associates, in Santa Rosa.

Showing entire environment.

Click on image to view larger.

Showing topography, wind, sun, views.

Click on image to view larger.

See the entire Powerpoint presentation from SB Architects and Land Design in a PDF:
5-3-15 Town Meeting Presentation

Board Meetings

• 1st Tuesday of mo.
• 5:30 – 7:30 PM
• In-Person at:
6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville
• Via Zoom: Get Link
• For more info, contact:
Board President,
Lucy Hardcastle
Everyone welcome.