Town Hall Meetings

Summary: October 26, 2023 Town Hall Meeting

Vesta Copestakes (L) and Lucy Hardcastle (R) emceed the Town Hall as their last act on the Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) as Forestville representatives. New representation has recently been elected. Lucy has been Forestville Planning Association’s president for a number of years as well as other community ventures. Vesta who started and and owned the Sonoma County Gazette, put her pencil down from that punishing deadline endeavor and is now a contributor to the Russian River Valley News along with writing for this website. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for the many years stepping up to keep our community informed. They are both recognized as → Hometown Heroes ← seen on this FPA website.

Approximately 120 people came to the Elementary School for the latest Forestville Town Hall held October 26, 2023. It was an opportunity to hear updates from local communities such as:

  • The Chamber of Commerce reminded folks of the Holiday Tree Lighting taking place Friday, November 24th starting around 4 pm in the Forestville Downtown Oaks Park. They will be serving free hot dogs, cider, hot chocolate and cookies with a visit from Santa and music from the local High School chorus and DJ Neil with holiday music.
  • There will be a Downtown Holiday Celebration Saturday December 16 from 4-8 pm with local businesses open along with extra vendors and booths along Front Street. Rain or shine! Food and Drinks, Holiday music from every store with carolers too. Lots of craft and art booths for your holiday shopping!
  • On Saturday, January 27th starting at 6 pm is the Chambers annual Crab Feed! For $65 per ticket you’ll get all the crab you can eat with pasta and salad, then a lively silent auction with no host drinks.
  • Our local Skatespot has secured property at Packinghouse Lane and Highway 116 to put in a skate park but must raise the money for permits and insurance. They are ever hopeful and take donations at their website.
  • The FPA announced its Community Fund winners and results of the recent Town Hall Survey. Read the most recent Presidents Message to learn more about what this town wants for itself going forward. They also reminded folks of the Hometown Heroes opportunity to acknowledge those among us making a positive difference for the town and its residents. After the meeting many signed up to receive emails and to volunteer to help create the town we wish to see in the future, what to keep, what to add, what to value!
  • MAC members (Municipal Advisory Council) Vesta Copestakes and Lucy Hardcastle let the attendees know this was the last Town Hall they were producing. That an election was taking place with three candidates vying for two positions to serve the next two years as the 5th District representatives from Forestville inasmuch as both Vesta and Lucy’s terms were up. Information on these candidates were available at the MAC table and folks were encouraged to vote prior to the end of the month (Update! Lonnie Lazar and Thai Hinton were elected to begin serving in January.)
  • WiFi Symbol GraphicVesta announced free WIFI would be installed in downtown Forestville mid-November through a grant from Biden’s Infrastructure Bill to bring Broadband to rural America.
  • Matt McDermott, President of Forestville Water District announced the renovation of our sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting will be coordinated with the need to install new sewer lines down Front Street, hopefully to take place by the end of 2024.
  • The proposed Asphalt Plant was spoken about and comments are still encouraged. The project is still in the “scoping” period and it will take at least a year before any decision is made. Read more about: Canyon Rock Asphalt Project & Timeline.

The Housing Element Update
The next section of the meeting was devoted to The Housing Element update as a follow up to the April 2023 Town Hall when there were unrealistic expectations for Forestville to carry a disproportionate number of low-income sites. After those initial proposals were vetted, just three remain on Forestville’s list. They are the properties listed as #1 – 6555 Covey Road, the Electro Vector site; #3- 6220 Hwy 116 near the County Yard and #6- 6250 Forestville St. near Pajero Lane. Knowing which sites are slated for affordable housing helped us know where houses will be built (if they pass EIR standards.) But to know how they could be built we invited two experts on the subject, Rich Wallach and Calum Weeks, long time affordable housing advocates.

Rich Wallach from Burbank Housing talked of how properties are selected for low-income development, what steps need to be taken to get them built and what is the process for folks to qualify for that housing.

Calum Weeks from Generation H Housing also talked of what their agency does to build complexes for low income and workforce housing.

For more information on the Housing Element, read:

  • The Statement from the County
    The County of Sonoma’s Housing Element has been certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), signifying the County’s compliance with State Housing Element law…
  • Project/Environmental Review Process Notices(CEQA Guidelines)
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), requires lead agencies to consult with public agencies having jurisdiction over a proposed project and to provide the general public with an opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report…
  • The 2023-2031 Housing Element Update Project (Housing Element Timeline – Project Milestones and Events)
    Facilitates and encourages housing development over the 8-year planning period beginning February 1, 2023 and ending in early 2031. The County prepared the 2023-2031 Housing Element to affirmatively further fair housing and to accommodate the County’s 3,824-unit…

Submitted by Lucy Hardcastle 11-12-23

Monthly
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.