President’s Message

President’s Message, June 2024

Small Town Living Has Its Advantages
Living in a small town has some advantages, have you noticed? The people seem friendlier, perhaps not so uptight or quick to judge. Forestville over time has created a vibe that one newcomer called “welcoming.” I hope that’s true for most of us except for the curmudgeon who turns his car alarm on when a local restaurant provides music on their patio. Get some earplugs dude! Aside from THAT GUY, we are a caring community who takes pride in our place.

I see folks picking up litter, so the town doesn’t look so shabby, witnessed hundreds of volunteers pitching in to make the annual Youth Park BBQ a success and we have volunteers setting up the Farmers Markets, working at the schools, fixing neighbors broken chairs, the list goes on!

One of the expressed fears people have is that this spirit of friendliness could change. That if big money moves in most of the rest of us will (eventually) have to move out. That could be true however there are steps we can take. Check out the Town Values we discussed in a prior President’s Message. If we keep working on manifesting those values, we should be okay.

And – Disadvantages
Living in a small town has it’s disadvantages as well. Want to repave the Sidewalks and put in Crosswalks? Doesn’t matter if the money is allocated from local funds and the design already engineered, wait in line for years for CalTrans to approve.

Want a Use Permit for the downtown Oaks Park? Pay over $100,000 and wait in line for years at Permit Sonoma.

Want a skatepark for the kids? Expect to jump through unending hurdles in a bureaucratic maze.

Apparently, it’s to be expected being an “unincorporated” town. We don’t have our own police department, parks district, town council or street cleaners. We must count on the County to look after our needs, yet the County is awash in other priorities. Our needs barely get their attention.

So, what do other small communities do to get things done? Turns out many have some configuration of a Community Services District. Monte Rio, Guerneville and even Graton have a CSD to problem solve and make things happen. Most of those CSDs were put into place some time ago whereas these days asking for citizens to vote in a parcel tax to pay for services we may want is like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up a hill. People go ballistic when a fee or tax is even mentioned.

For someone who owns two parcels it’s no big deal to tack on a few bucks a parcel to make something cool happen. To those who own hundreds of parcels, that money adds up. It’s a dilemma we’ve yet to figure out, but there are people who won’t give up trying to make things happen for our little town. Let’s wish them luck, or even better, join them in their efforts. Email me at info@95436.org if you’d like to get involved.

Our New Municipal Advisory Council Reps (MAC)
Speaking of representation, we have two new MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) members this year. Thai Hilton and Lonnie Lazar. Terrifically talented and committed men. Both have looked over the study paid for by the County last year on Governance issues. That’s where the CSDs got mentioned, how and where they are working.

Upcoming Environmental Impact Report for Asphalt Plant
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the upcoming Environmental Impact Report being produced to address having an asphalt plant close to Martinelli Road and 116. Granted, if I lived down the road from such a plant, I might be a bit concerned about my quality of life and property values. Many are. But I’ll be transparent here. If we desperately need our rural roads repaired, the stuff to do it doesn’t come from fairy dust. Until such time as we can produce a better product, we are stuck with asphalt. It’s 95% rock and having an asphalt plant at a quarry makes sense to me. My guess is there will be fewer semi’s barreling down Mirabel Road instead of more.

About the reported smell, which would be gross of course, I worked a block away from an asphalt plant in the middle of Santa Rosa for 25 years and never once smelled it. The newer plants are designed to recycle the smelly parts. We won’t smell it, we won’t see it and most of us will forget it’s there except for the people who live nearby. They will continue to hate it no doubt. I probably would too.

Downtown Oaks Park Pie in the Park Fundraiser Day, August 31
And lastly, the Downtown Oaks Park is hosting our first annual fundraiser “Pie in the Park” on Saturday August 31st to raise money for park maintenance. With a live band, a “Best Pie” contest, a Pie Walk whereby folks can win whole pies, face painting and general festivities to celebrate my 80th birthday, what could go wrong? Since I wanted to throw a party, anyway, why not turn it into making money for the park we all love. Be there or be square.

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.