From the Desk of Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.
707-565-2241 • Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org
The below text is part of 2 emails from Supervisor Hopkins’ on May 28, 2021.
(You can subscribe to get the entire text of Supervisor Hopkins’ emails – as well in Spanish, here.)
BOS Approves $2.8 Million in Relief Funding for Businesses
The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution during the May 25th 2021 Board meeting authorizing nearly $2.8 million in relief for businesses forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will cover Environmental Health permit fee offsets and applies to restaurants, body art businesses, and pools that were required to close or limit operations after March 1, 2020. The funding is part of the County’s pandemic recovery plan to assist the business community impacted by the pandemic and restore the economy.
Eligible restaurants will be reimbursed for the cost of their Environmental Health permit fee. Eligible body art businesses will be reimbursed for permit fees for the time they were not able to operate. Indoor pool operators and outdoor pool operators will also be reimbursed for the time they were ordered to close. For more information, click here.
Coming to the Board in June
I have also advocated for the following two business support measures :
- In West County, one of the critical sources of business support are the Chambers/Visitor Centers. Therefore I have sponsored a budget item advocating to keep the current level of funding and support for Chambers/Visitor Centers;
- Up for approval is the Access Sonoma Broadband Action Plan addressing the strategic goal to create accessible and affordable broadband for our community. The pandemic and disasters brought the disparities of Sonoma County’s Digital Divide to the forefront as more and more people became dependent on broadband access for work, education, and social connection. Many barriers to broadband include cost, lack of infrastructure, and digital illiteracy. To combat these barriers, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board has developed Access Sonoma Broadband Action Plan. If adopted, next steps include:
- Exploring a governance structure to oversee creation of business and funding plans
- Conducting broad community outreach to identify partners interested in implementation
- Developing broadband infrastructure projects in unserved communities, leveraging public assets, and funding opportunities
- Develop broadband adoption programs for disadvantaged communities
Beautification and Tourism
This week we launched a collaborative effort with CalTrans and their ADA project planned for 2022 in Guerneville. While this project will update the sidewalks and curbs to provide for ADA access, we see it as an opportunity for downtown revitalization. This week we started a collaborative conversation with Main Street businesses, CalTrans, and TPW (Transportation and Public Works) to look at additional beautification projects that can be added at the same time to leverage the funding work already being put into design and implementation. Mags of Brot, Jilla of the River Queen, and Bob of the Bank Club/Russian River Chamber will be contacting Main Street businesses to gather local input and ideas.
We are also working on mitigating tourism impacts, constantly working with Regional Parks and others to manage our natural areas for responsible public access. Current efforts include adding sites for parking and shuttles, installing 101 corridor electronic signs, and ongoing stewardship outreach and education.
I am also partnering with Supervisors Rodoni of Marin and Williams of Mendocino to develop a Coastal Pledge and programs to improve stewardship and combat trash and visitor impacts along the Coast.
State of California Re-Opening
What will the re-opening of California’s economy look like on June 15th?
Everyday Life California plans to fully reopen the economy on June 151. Everyday life will feel a lot like before covid-19. Restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and most everyday places2 will be open as normal with no capacity limits or social distancing required. Of course, anyone can wear a mask anytime they’d like, especially around children and others who are vulnerable or not yet eligible for vaccination.
All Californians will continue to follow state masking guidelines as well as state and CDC travel guidelines.
Mega Events Some public health measures will remain for mega events, which include 5,000+ people indoors or 10,000+ outdoors. Think concerts, sporting events, festivals, and conventions. Mega events are high risk for spreading covid-19 because they attract people from around the world, and people gather in crowds. Indoor mega event attendees will be required to confirm proof of vaccination or negative covid-19 status to attend. Outdoor mega event attendees will be strongly encouraged to do so.
Visit this document on the CDPH website What’s Next? California will keep a close eye on covid-19 vaccination and infection rates over the summer and keep these guidelines in place until at least October 1, 2021.
Drought Drop By
June 12 from 9 am to 1pm for curbside pick up of a free Water saving kit. West County location – El Molino High School.
- Bucket to catch water for reuse
- WaterSense labeled low flow showerhead
- 5-minute shower timer
- WaterSense labeled low flow faucet aerator
- Toilet dye test tablets
- Self-closing garden hose nozzle
*While supplies last. Limit one kit per household.
At this outdoor event, local COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols.
The Road Report
My work towards better roads in West County is ongoing, and I’m pleased to report on a number of significant wins that have come after advocacy and collaboration with County Transportation and Public Works TPW) Director Johannes Hoevertz and our respective teams.
On Tuesday, May 25th, the Board of Supervisors approved the 2022 and 2023 Pavement Preservation Program Funding and Tier 2 PG&E Settlement Funds List of Projects. This list of projects include an historic $23 million of projects for West County including both road repavement and also replacement and repair of crumbling retaining walls. This retaining wall work is crucial to evacuation routes. TPW will be replacing worn-out wooden structures with concrete and steel that will last for 100 years. The retaining wall projects are primarily in locations where there is just one way in and out, strengthening evacuation routes so that hundreds of homeowners don’t get trapped during disasters behind a failed retaining wall.
Guerneville will see a major facelift with both the ADA project from CalTrans scheduled for 2022 and TPW/District 5 is going to be working with Main Street businesses to develop a beautification project to be completed in conjunction with the ADA work. By tagging onto their project we will save millions of dollars in design and implementation. In addition, thanks to the Pavement Preservation Program funding we secured, all of the county roads in downtown Guerneville will be repaved at the same time.
Occidental, Cazadero, Fort Ross, Jenner, Rio Nido, Forestville and Bodega Bay all have major road repaving or maintenance during this period as well. We are working hard to reverse decades of deferred maintenance and while we can’t do every road that is needed, we will be hitting quite a few.
I’m also happy to report progress on two areas that have been of concern for evacuations – Moscow Road and Vacation Beach bridge. Vacation Beach Bridge is staging now and will be open within the next two weeks. While Moscow Road is still under design in the new bridge approach through FEMA, Director Hoevertsz has designed an evacuation route plan. Should an evacuation be needed, a one-way egress will be opened in the direction from Monte Rio to Duncan’s Mills, allowing an exit route.
While we are talking about Moscow Road, the two encampments along this stretch are in the process of dissolution. Services and options have been repeatedly offered to residents and will be offered again. The Interdisciplinary team will work with all of those who are willing to accept services. After the 72 period of notice is up, those sites will be cleared and cleaned up.
For both firefighting and evacuation – Willow Creek Road will be open as an emergency vehicle access road only, providing an important fire fighting resource for fires threatening Camp Meeker and Occidental.
There has been literally years of advocacy and planning that have gone into these projects. I am so excited to finally showcase the exciting projects coming to West County over the next 2+ years.
PPP Funding West County Roads:
Bay Hill Road, Bodega Bay
First Street, Third Street, Fourth Street, Fifth Street, Brookside Ln, Church Street, Mill Court, Mill Street
PG&E funded projects:
Summerhome Park Rd retaining wall #1 Summerhome Park Rd retaining wall #2 Joy Road,
Fort Ross Road
Starrett Hill Rd retaining wall
Eagles Nest retaining wall
Memory Lane retaining wall
Maintenance and Repaving planned from other funding sources planned for:
Hereford Lane, Jenner
Rio NIdo Road, Rio Nido
In addition to these listed, there is ongoing FEMA repairs from the floods and fire funds as well as projects from the regular TPW budget and workflow.
Evacuation zones are pre-determined geographic areas that are used to efficiently evacuate residents during large-scale disasters.
The Sheriff’s Office will announce evacuation orders by zone. By knowing your evacuation zone, you’ll immediately know if you need to evacuate or not when you receive an evacuation notice.
Find your zone here: https://socoemergency.org/get-ready/evacuation-map/
and click on the link for County of Sonoma. Enter your address in the search box at the top. Write down your evacuation zone number and keep it somewhere handy.
Be sure to sign up for alerts so you receive evacuation notices (nixle.com and socoalert.com). Have a plan so you know how you’ll leave your neighborhood and where you’ll go.