The Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission met Wednesday to discuss changing its boundaries and to plan future meetings based on group concerns.
The primary focus at the Oct. 23 meeting was to follow up after the Sept. 25 meeting, at which the group voted to recommend changing its boundaries to follow the Sonoma Creek watershed with the exclusion of areas in Santa Rosa and the second supervisorial district (Sonoma Raceway).
The joint powers agreement, which governs the commission and authorizes it under both county and city jurisdiction to review planning and development proposals, is set to expire at the end of this year. The group must decide to make any recommendations about boundary expansion to the two governing bodies to give them enough time to approve a proposal.
SVCAC’s current boundaries were set more than 20 years ago when the commission was created, and used the boundaries of Planning Area 9 to divide projects amongst area planning commissions. But the current boundaries have come under scrutiny because they bisect Kenwood and do not reflect what many commissioners consider Sonoma Valley.
At the September meeting, the panel selected Chair Mark Bramfitt, Commissioners Rochelle Campana and Sean Bellach, and Ex-Officio Commissioner Greg Carr to meet with 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin about the expansion, and to create a map to present to the Sonoma City Council and the Board of Supervisors.
Carr reported on the smaller group’s meeting, noting that Gorin is in favor of modifying the boundaries to follow the watershed, excluding any area in Santa Rosa, but she wants to include Sonoma Raceway. She plans to talk with 2nd District Supervisor David Rabbitt about the expansion. Campana said Gorin wanted to include the area because of projects at surrounding wineries and vineyards, including La Roche and Paradise Ridge.
Bellach noted Sonoma Raceway CEO Steve Page said he would be OK with the raceway being included in the boundary and had even come to the group for input on raceway projects in the past.
However, SVCAC Vice Chair Kirsten Lindquist, who was conducting the meeting in Bramfitt’s absence, said the group should stay with the original plan and keep things “simple” so as the increase the chances of the Board of Supervisors agreeing to expand the boundary and not creating an area where there is a third jurisdiction for the commission.
After Bellach motioned for the boundary expansion to reflect the watershed, with the exception of Sonoma Raceway and areas in Santa Rosa, El Verano West Commissioner Clarence Jenkins said he wanted to leave the resolution open to include the raceway. Then, ex-officio Dick Fogg reminded the group they were only making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and to the Sonoma City Council. Gorin could push to include the raceway later.
The group agreed to propose the expansion for which Bellach motioned, adding they did not want to add more commissioners to the group. The SVCAC will let Gorin raise the issue of including the raceway in the new jurisdiction.
In a more open discussion concerning matters in the current jurisdiction, Jenkins brought up the roundabout project at Arnold Drive and West Agua Caliente Road, noting that it is difficult to navigate in a larger agricultural truck. Jenkins said, as someone who is entrenched in the agricultural world (he is president of Madrone Vineyard Management), not only does the roundabout affect the flow of larger trucks, but the actual construction of the multi-million dollar project in the middle of the grape harvest season was especially inconsiderate to the Valley’s biggest cash crop and its producers.