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May 27, 2018
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Cotati gives the go-ahead

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
April 27, 2018

Farmers' Market 

Fresh produce, ponies and summertime crafts will be coming to Cotati’s La Plaza Park this summer as the Cotati City Council unanimously approved the use of the park for a weekly farmers market running for 13 consecutive weeks hosted by the Agricultural Community Events Farmers’ Markets.

The farmers’ market will run Thursday evenings from June 7 to August 30 and will include food vendors, food trucks, produce, alcoholic beverages, crafts, live entertainment and inflatable jump houses and a petting zoo for children to enjoy. The fun summertime market which often kicks off the summer vacation mood is also held in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Glen Ellen, Petaluma, Downtown Novato and Fairfax.

The market approval for Cotati also authorizes the closure of La Plaza Street for market booths and vendors.

As stated in the consent calendar item, “The Farmers Market would have exclusive use of La Plaza Park and they are requesting street closure of La Plaza between W. Sierra and W. Cotati Avenues and exclusive use of parking spaces adjacent to the park on La Plaza between Old Redwood Highway and W. Cotati Avenue.”

And along with the request for the use of La Plaza Park, Agricultural Community Events also asked the city in a letter to lower park usage fees by 50 percent as ACEFM is a registered non-profit. Typically for non-residents, the use of the park for events has a $150 per day fee as well as a deposit of $250 that is refundable if the park is left clean following the event.

However, according to consent calendar report on the item in the past, the city has typically waived partial fees for events like these due to, “economic development value.” Plus, city staff, “believes that there is significant benefit to residents from the farmers market continuation,” and that “the event will not require the use of the park for an entire day every Thursday, so staff has looked for opportunities to reduce costs for the applicant.”

A one-time fee of $650 and a refundable deposit of $500 was recommended with the fee based on 50 percent of the usual daily rate of $100. City staff also believes that the higher deposit will help to ensure that the park is left in a safe and clean manner following each week’s market. The total cost to the city for the market in regards to waived fees and staff for the 13 nights is around $853.

The market will also have to responsible for their own equipment, tables, chairs, road barriers, signs, cones, etc., and the recommended fees and requirements fall in line with last years’ requests.

Santero Way apartment complex project 

Also approved on the consent calendar, was the acceptance of public improvement plans/agreements for the Cotati Station Apartment development project on Santero Way adjacent to the SMART train station. 

Some of the agreements for the project include a public access easement agreement, public access and recreation use agreement, grant of public storm drain easement agreement and a grant of public water easement agreement. The public access agreement includes the right to use the project area for public access, emergency exits and maintenance and improvement of the sidewalks and landscaping near the apartment complex. A storm drain easement must be added because the proposed public parking lot cuts right across a new park which the developer will be constructing for the complex. 

One Cotati resident did express concern that with people coming to Cotati for the free SMART train station parking and with the new apartments, parking may become quite horrendous for Santero Way.

Council member Susan Harvey did say that city staff and council members do know that parking is already a major issue on Santero Way and that they will work to try and add mores spaces.

“There is a parking management plan that will be part of it. We know that Santero Way has a horrendous parking problem and more parking places will be added, it is a very important point,” Harvey said of the parking woes. 

The public improvements associated with the project, “Consists of a public parking lot, public street and sidewalk improvements… along the project’s frontage on the east side of Santero Way and an increase of a six-inch diameter sewer pipeline to an eight-inch diameter pipeline,” the agenda item report states.

All the easement agreements will complement the improvements and ensure that the developer follows through with the storm drain and sidewalk improvements. 

When complete the complex will have 60 market rate units and 14 affordable units, as well as a commercial space and associated parking spaces and the new park will consist of 0.49 acres.