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Planners to look at water, history

By By Pam Gibson SPECIAL TO THE INDEX-TRIBUNE

Preserving water and history will be the topics taken up by the Sonoma Planning Commission Thursday.

The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at 177 First St. W., Sonoma.

Public Works Director Dan Takasugi will go over such issues as supply, challenges, the situation created by low levels of water in Lake Mendocino, and over-all strengths and weaknesses of the city’s current water system and conservation policies. A similar presentation was made in June to the City Council.

Members of the Planning Commission often question whether the water supply is adequate to meet the needs of new development as several projects move forward in the planning process.

The commission also will address proposed changes to the Sonoma Municipal Code related to strengthening rules regarding historic preservation.

The ordinance amendments will give Sonoma a formal way to evaluate the significance of historic structures proposed for alteration or demolition and will open doors to grant programs previously unavailable.

“The objective is to achieve Certified Local Government status,” said Planning Director David Goodison. “This would ensure that local policies and programs, with respect to historic preservation, are comprehensive, consistent with best practices, and in compliance with state and federal law.”

The certification is conferred by the State Office of Historic Preservation in partnership with the National Park Service. Cities with the designation are required to have a system to survey and inventory historic resources, a historic preservation review commission, a local preservation ordinance consistent with the National Historic Preservation Act, and a local preservation plan.

Once these components are in place, the state agency confers the certification and annually reviews compliance.

Goodison said the Design Review Commission’s charter would be updated to include new duties related to administering the preservation plan and ordinance.