FPA History


June 2, 2002
16 residents agree to the need for a town council of elected representatives to serve as the official voice of the community for a proactive, positive influence on the town’s current and future growth.

Sept 14 – First Town Meeting
130 residents gather for information about existing and pending plans for the town. Divided into smaller work groups to define an identity and a future image of the town.

Formation of FPA and interim Board of Directors.

Founder and Interim Board Chair: Joan Riback

Oct. 5, 2002
First meeting of interim Board. 21 persons attend and form 3 committees:

  • Governance, chair: Allan Tilton
  • Communications, chair: Mary Luttrell
  • Planning, chair: Margaret McLaren

Nov. — Dec., 2002
Planning Committee forms 3 sub-committees: Vision, Issues, Training

FPA files Articles of Incorporation as nonprofit association and applies for 501(c)(3) status.

Feb. 2, 2003 – Second Town Meeting
Presentation of drafts of mission, vision and identity statements (see webpages), based on feedback from first town meeting.

Overview of issues with feedback sessions and plans for action.
Bypass; Crinella property; storage units; affordable housing; West County trail; quarry expansion; crosswalk

Spring, 2003
Numerous committee meetings; during a walk through town the Board realizes the need to develop a master plan for downtown.

  • Downtown committee chair: Ursula Bischoff
  • Planning committee chair: Sig Anderman
  • Governance chair: Raynetta James

June 21, 2003 – Third Town Meeting
Focus on Bypass and traffic issues. Pro and con presentations followed by open discussions.

Summer, 2003
Regular monthly committee meetings and recruitment of additional volunteers.

Oct. 4, 2003 – Fourth Town Meeting
Topic: Expansion of Quarries. Presentations by proponents and opponents, followed by a moderated panel discussion. Survey forms distributed.

Committee meetings continue monthly.

Change of committee chairs:
Downtown Planning: David Carpenter, Communications: Elizabeth Naegle

Jan. 25, 2004 – Fifth Town Meeting

  1. Review of issues: quarry expansion EIR; “Woodstone” proposed housing development; “Meadowlark” Burbank housing ; Crinella property ; proposed carwash.
  2. Informational presentations on proposed Russian River flow reduction. See: article: Save the Russian River, Save Sonoma County
  3. First election of first Board of directors. See: FPA Board Elections

Spring, 2004
Downtown Planning Committee invigorated with increased participation and action.

Design guideposts developed, incl. sidewalks, bike paths, landscaping, benches, lighting, parking, slow down of traffic.

May 1, 2004 – Sixth Town Meeting
Agenda: Downtown Planning and updates on ongoing issues.

a. Endorsement of statements of identity and vision which include desires for:

  • a pedestrian and bicycle friendly town;
  • landscaped with native plants and local art;
  • a town square as a venue for residents with farmers, market and music performances;
  • limit of building heights to 2 stories

b. Proposal ( by Elaine Neiswender) unanimously accepted that Forestville move towards designation as a “Wildlife Habitat Community” under the guidelines of the National Wildlife Federation.

c. Division of opinions re. developing Forestville as a tourist destination vs. a locally oriented town. Compromise suggested: aim development at local community while making it attractive to visitors for economic viability. Coordinate planning for Crinella property with the rest of town for a cohesive appearance.

June 19, 2004 – Special Town Meeting
Purpose: to review the newly published Quarry EIR and its impacts on Forestville before the June 25 deadline for feedback to the county PRMD.

FPA began supervising federal grant money for the Green Valley Creek Restoration

Sponsored the first Downtown Social in August

Town meetings held to give townspeople a place to discuss their views on quarries’ request for expansion

Bodean Company reaches a Good Neighbor agreement with Citizens for Sensible Growth and FPA re: mitigation measures for expansion. They will make an annual donation for the town’s improvements.

Town Meetings held to give citizens a forum to voice concerns, ask questions about Orrin Thiessen’s plan to develop Crinella property. People said they would like to have a public Town square if this property must be developed.

Town Meetings held for: Report from County Supervisor Mike Reilly re: roundabout proposal on 116.

As a result of the “Good Neighbor Agreement” between the FPA, Citizens for Sensible Growth and BoDean Quarry (known then as Blue Rock) the quarry agreed to pay an annual fee to be funneled through the FPA to mitigate gravel truck traffic through town.

It was agreed that those fees would be funneled through the FPA, who in turn would establish a Community Fund for downtown improvement. (See Community Fund section for a listing of grants given through the years.)

FPA hosted a candidates’ forum to debate (Rue Furch and Efren Carillo) for Supervisor Mike Reilly’s seat.

5th District Supervisor addressed a Town Hall meeting about installing a Roundabout at the intersection of Mirabel Road and Highway 116. A group was formed to plan what would best represent Forestville in the middle. Ideas were Redwood trees but perhaps a Valley Oak, a native of our area would be appropriate.

Also discussed was the Community Fund established in 2008 and the types of projects preferred. There are many issues the Board of Supervisors are facing, including deficits and how best to use the money that was available.

A Town Hall meeting once again addressed the concept of a Roundabout, which would be 50 feet in circumference. There is controversy with some citizens feeling the gravel trucks wouldn’t be able to navigate it, but a set up testing in a large parking lot showed it was possible. The reason the Roundabout was brought forth was as an alternative to stop lights. The thought of the large gravel trucks having to use their brakes to stop, then gear up to get going again would release too many diesel particulates into the downtown air. Also, the thought of sitting at a traffic light among those trucks breathing in the diesel fumes was unsavory. Also at that Town Hall was information presented about sustainability and preserving Valley Oaks and native grasses.

At the Town Hall the Fire Department talked of Fire Safe standards and water conservation and grey water harvesting with a free workshop from Daily Acts called the 7 Wonders of Water Conservation. There was more discussion of the Thiessen Project to be located along 116 between Mirabel road and the Pharmacy. The FPA talked of ways we could beautify the town by having flower baskets and benches, perhaps more charming street lights.

An opportunity to purchase 8 acres in downtown Forestville presented itself once plans for a large condominium and business project fell through. The FPA applied for an Open Space Matching Grant through the County and the proposal was accepted. Inasmuch as it was a Matching Grant we needed to bring many people to the table to raise the capital for the match. (see Downtown Park for the history and plans)

The FPA hosted a candidate’s forum for 5th District Supervisor along with facilitating funding to restore Green Valley Creek watershed by utilizing volunteers to plant shade trees and rebuild pools for the salmon fry.

A committee was formed to oppose the FPA’s Open Space Matching Grant proposal as they felt a commercial component was important for that parcel. A compromise was reached between the FPA and their group to split the 8 acres between them. Farmhouse owners Catherine and Joe Bartolomei stepped up to purchase those 4 acres for commercial development, such as a hotel they had proposed as part of the original Thiessen condominium project. On October 24, the County Board of Supervisors agreed to fund the proposal.

The Community Fund gave a grant to install art banners in downtown Forestville, half of which would depict a historical scene and half would be designed by 9 local artists. A documentary was made called The Russian River – All Rivers, The Value of an American Watershed and made it’s rounds to many film festivals. Controversy rose up when a Cell Tower was proposed for downtown Forestville. The neighbors surrounding its installation (the storage units off Railroad Avenue behind town) felt a better place could be found, and efforts were made to find a more acceptable location however the County was unwilling to be flexible with their decision.

The Deputy Director of Engineering for the County spoke at a Town Hall meeting about the logistics of putting in a Roundabout at the corner of Mirabel Road and Highway 115. There were questions about funding, but designs were being drawn up. One of the biggest costs would be to shave down Highway 116 between Hidden Valley Road and the intersection to provide a better line of sight for vehicles and trucks approaching the intersection.

Architect Kristoffer Koster from SB Architects presented plans for the downtown park drawn to incorporate aspects listed as desirable from several town meetings. Those plans included a Class 1 trail head for the West County trail, a gathering spot, bathrooms, a bike staging area with 2/3rds to be preserved for conservation and protection of the young Valley Oaks and riparian area in the lower part of the park.

Use permits were submitted to the County for the downtown park including drawings from SB Architects, which had been presented at previous Town Hall meetings. Representatives from the FPA have attended Water Board meetings to discuss water and sewer hook ups in the future when the funding was secured to establish bathrooms etc. Park maintenance is a big issue with Board and volunteers policing the area. A Community Fund grant was given to Russian River Cyclery to build a bike kiosk for the park and the Chamber oversaw the summertime Farmer’s Market. The Youth Park completed their campaign to build a new Youth and Community building at the Youth Park with substantial support from the community and their successful golf tournament. There was no Town Hall meeting in 2016 as the permitting process was going through the County Permit and Resource Management Department and there was not much to report out.

A Town Hall was held to introduce our new 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. She listened to concerns from the 100 in attendance and answered many questions. Hearing there was an uptick in break ins she encouraged us to have a presentation from the Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit. There is a proposal to widen Mirabel Road at a cost of $5.9 Million, which would make it much safer for bicycles and pedestrians along that road. At that Town Hall we learned of the Valley Oaks in the downtown park, how they can live for 600 years and what it takes to protect their roots, lots of mulch. A gift of $5,000 was received from a park donor to purchase mulch, and that was matched by a second donor to enough mulch could be purchased to protect the trees from summertime use.

It was reported that $250,000 was found to complete the West County Trailhead in the downtown park and the Parks Department was doing research on how best to build the trail through the wetlands in the lower portion of the park.

The Bartlomei’s were working on a preliminary design for their 4 acres adjacent to the park and were submitting it to the County for review. The Historical Society asked for volunteers to keep their organization going.

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.