These posts first appear in the Sonoma County Gazette and then reprinted here on the FPA Blog.
by Vesta Copestakes
Rezoning Sites for Housing in Forestville
Sonoma County is examining sites for future affordable housing and is seeking public input for the Housing Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Forestville has 4 areas (6 parcels) designated and needs our input. One parcel is across the street from Forestville Youth Park (FOR 2 – APN# 083-120-062), another is the ElectroVector site between Carr’s Drive-In and Forestville School (FOR 1 – APN # 083-073-017), a third is across the street from Forestville School and includes the proposed Forestville Skate Park (FOR 3 – APN# 084-020-004, 5 – APN# 084-020-003, & 6 – APN# 084-020-011), and the 4th is behind Forestville School (FOR 4, APN # 083-073-010).
Visit this website for the Project Background and Description and to review the document (should be ready early February) https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Regulations/Housing/Housing-Sites-EIR/
and comment at this URL: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/83b2b6566c33411cb67841d1d6981d67.
Once the Draft EIR is published there will be 60 days for comment.
Find Forestville on the list on the left of the home page, click on it, zoom into the four sites, click on the one you want to COMMENT on, then make your comments on the right side of the page. The space is large enough for 4,000 character so if you need to write more, please send an email to: HousingSites@sonoma-county.org using the FOR # and parcel # to identify the parcel on which you comment.
There will be additional opportunities to let decision makers (Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors) know what the community’s thoughts on the project are after the Final EIR is prepared.
Publication of the Draft EIR, and notice of all public hearings on this topic will be announced in media as well as via email to the mailing list—are you on it? Sign up here: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Regulations/Housing/Housing-Sites-EIR/ (see right side, “Stay up to date”)
Thank you for participating in this every important EIR. Communities that pay attention get attention!
Lower Russian River MAC
The LRRMAC wants to thank every person who participated in the Residential Parking Permit Survey. This is a proposal for how to handle guests visiting Russian River beaches during warm months when park access areas overflow into neighborhood streets. As the Russian River attracts more people on hot days, and public parking lots are not large enough for all who wish to recreate in our river, this problem gets more challenging for neighborhoods. Your MAC representatives all along the river are working with Regional Parks, county roads department, and law enforcement to find a solution that works for everyone.
On February 18th at 5:30 pm you will have the opportunity to participate in our first general public meeting for 2021. The agenda has not been set as of Gazette press time but you can log on to the county website at https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/River-Municipal-Advisory-Council/ to get a link to the ZOOM meeting, and find it on the LRRMAC and Lynda Hopkins’ Facebook pages.
Elections were held to start the new year that resulted in minor changes to your representative for Forestville:
Vesta Copestakes, Representative – term 2019-2021
Lisa Nahmanson, Representative – term 2021-2022
Lucy Hardcastle, Alternate – term 2021-2022
Thank you every person who voted and who attends our meetings to make sure that Forestville is represented when the County Board of Supervisors needs our input.
Measure B Funds Fire Emergency Services
The community has an opportunity to make sure our fire defenses are stronger going into this next year and beyond with a 4% increase on West County’s TOT (Transit Occupancy Tax paid for by tourists) on the March special election ballot. Because West County is the largest area that serves tourists in Sonoma County, we also have the greatest burden when rescuing guests in accidents, falling off cliffs, getting caught in waves at the ocean, drowning in the Russian River, health emergencies, and more. We need help paying for emergency services that tourists require. Please read Measure B and VOTE this March.
Measure A Funds our High Schools
There are 3 high schools in West County and they all need our help. In Forestville, we are concerned that El Molino campus could be closed and all students moved to the Sebastopol Analy campus if we can’t find a better solution to budget shortfalls. No one wants to cut classes and sports, so consolidation might be the only solution if we don’t pass Measure A. Currently, we are paying $48 a year for a parcel tax that will end shortly. Measure A replaces that tax with a 3-year tax to buy us time to find a better solution to the budget crisis. A portion of Measure B funds also are designated for our high schools so the combination could be just what we need to save our schools. Please get involved in helping us find better ways to balance the budget as we move forward.
YES on Measure A campaign needs volunteers and donations to help it succeed. Learn about the measure at https://yesonainfo.com/ and If you are interested in helping, contact Domenica Sheets 707-695-6883 and Kara Mendez 707-849-1471.
Forestville Fire Merges with Sonoma Fire
Fire Chief Dave Franchesci and his team are looking forward to consolidation with Sonoma County Fire District. Benefits include an extra firefighter on each engine, access to 3 dedicated Fire Prevention Officers to help on vegetation management, better staffing, and better access to equipment.
Chief Franchesci was impressed with the leadership skills of District Fire Chief Mark Heine, who oversees the department. Dave witnessed first-hand how Chief Heine dealt with the 2020 August fire that threatened river communities, “he got extra firemen mobilized in 20 minutes flat”. Chief Heine stayed at the scene for 3 days straight to be sure our local team had what it needed to contain the fire. Their efforts spared every town along the river.
The Forestville Chamber of Commerce Has a NEW Email
Local small businesses take note! The Forestville Camber is holding its annual membership drive and has a new email address if you would like to ask questions, connect with a board member, or get involved. ForestvilleChamberofCommerce@gmail.com.
Meetings are open to anyone and are held on the 1st Wednesday of every month @ 5:30 pm via ZOOM until Covid leaves us. Email us if you want to get on our list for uodates. Learn about what the chamber does for our town’s businesses at forestvillechamber.org.
Spring is not far away of you want to be part of the Forestville Farmers Market. Mary Rand is market manager and can be reached at email@example.com or 707-766-4597.
Forestville Downtown Park Trail Upgrades
Regional Parks West County Trail upgrades to connect the trail to downtown Forestville are making serious progress on the boardwalk that travels over a wetland. The boardwalks is still not complete but getting closer every day. If you love to walk the trail you still have to take the muddy route and we will let you know when the boardwalk is complete. For updates, consider joining our mailing list. Here’s a link to the page on the Downtown Park: https://forestvillefpa.org/forestville-oaks-park/park-before-after-design/
There’s A Lot to Love in Forestville!
If there’s anything we’ve learned over decades living in our small town, if there’s a chore to be done, we’re the ones to do it. If you are so inclined, please show your love for our town by picking up trash when you take walks (bring a bag with you), rake leaves, twigs, etc. that can present fire hazards, clean out drainage ditches so water runs free, clean what goes into a street drain system so trash doesn’t enter our waterways and the drains run free….whatever you can think to do, please show your love by little act of kindness for our community. Volunteering for FPA is easy to do. For more info, go here. Thank you!