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August 25, 2019
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Farmers’ Market party on the plaza Sept. is suicide prevention month New start at school board meeting RPDPS receives grant to fight alcohol-related crime Wake up to social crisis San Francisco Mime Troupe to perform in Cotati RPPS encourages public to drive sober PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program accepting applications for aid Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Contact information needed from about 150,000 PG&E customers Santa Rosa doctor overprescribing First day of school and new friends Home-based learning on the rise A slow and painful wait for a downtown RP Council looks at serious close-to-home issues Cotati City Council of Aug. 13 New Column Gun violence in the U.S. and globally Join CASA of So. Co.’s commitment to helping victims of child abuse Passenger killed fleeing crash Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children ‘Stuff the van’ with school supplies Accordion Festival Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Veterans’ housing to open in 2020 Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening Tech High School celebrates 20 years Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead DUI driver arrested after collision on RP Exp Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates Third DUI driver arrested in RP in three days Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May Our words are not enough: Educators call for action The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... Man dies in custody Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon RPPS investigating sexual assault Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms Urban growth boundary benefits State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration So. Co. Behavioral Health and Health Services in the county jail Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Sonoma County Fair reviews safety protocols Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship Illegal robocalls and spoofing Watenpaugh returns to lead CRPUSD RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Call to action in Ca. Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha Impersonating pharmacists Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy Free school supplies Correction to the July 26 issue R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! Warnings weren’t enough! SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Technology High School construction on schedule Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Rohnert Park City Council all about safety Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors RP City Council, not business as usual A young child making a big difference Cotati’s first homicide in 24 years SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity I’m ready, bring ‘em on! Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. Happenings at Cotati City Council Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career RP City Council: from safety to striping How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings L J principal promises open door policy Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission The long summer grinds Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home All about the roads Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life School district set to begin new year Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train City, county reach agreement with Homeless Advocates Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Cattle drive comes to SR SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Fatal bicycle vs. vehicle collision Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases DMV offices will close for half day Social Security – Care and Beware SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest Do you know the relationship between low impact development and water quality? Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Stray sways the crowd Showing off rope tricks Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Vehicle crashes into house It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Suicide leading cause of death in youths Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Planning Commission approves hotel

By: Lanny Lowery
May 17, 2019

On Tue., May 13, the Cotati Planning Commission passed two resolutions unanimously that effectively move the building of the Reverb Hotel closer to a reality.  The first resolution found no evidence that there would be impacts that would have a significant effect on the environment.  The Planning Commission approved variances to block length and building height and a Use Permit for the hotel, alcohol sales with entertainment, and outdoor dining on private property in the second resolution.

Commissioners Steven Onines, Neil Hancock, Lisa Moore and Ben Ford favored each resolution 4-0 after hearing presentations by Jon-Paul Harries, Senior Planner; Ken Molinaro, applicant; and a variety of project managers.  Then the four commissioners discussed their concerns and asked their questions.  Ten members of the public offered their input.  Most comments by the commissioners and the public showed support for the project.

Some history behind the project goes back to at least 2009 when the Downtown Specific Plan was adopted.  Six years later, in 2015, Cotati adopted the general plan, and, in August 2015, the city acquired the park and ride property adjacent to Highway 101, where a gas station and Tubby’s Restaurant were once located.  In 2018, two proposals were made and in July a public workshop was held.  The city accepted the Reverb proposal.

Prior to the meeting, the city council chamber filled with the buzzing of more than fifty people in the audience.  Pictures and diagrams lined the walls.  Packets, including a 140 page Planning Commission Staff Report, were available for public perusal.  A 27-page compressed version of the report summarized the request and proposal, examined the General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan Consistency, discussed planning issues and considerations and provided an environmental review.  These, along with a two page agenda, promised an entertaining and informative evening.  (These documents can be found online or at City Hall.)

Most informative, project applicant Ken Molinaro’s presentation included an overview of his family history and his roots in Sonoma County.  He grew up in Santa Rosa, receiving education from St. Rose, Cardinal Newman and Sonoma State University.  He went on to become a real estate developer in Puerto Vallarta for twenty years but now lives in Penngrove with his family.

Molinaro selected the Reverb model developed by Hard Rock as fitting for a community such as Cotati.  The Reverb is a franchise not managed by Hard Rock, and he said, “My family is building this, not Hard Rock.  I personally wanted a family hotel in my neighborhood and was interested in a musical theme.  Music is in my blood.  This is a project I need to be proud of.”  Molinaro sees this as a community project, “more than a hotel, a place for the community to hang out.”

Molinaro first became interested in this project in June 2017 during a Request for Discussion.  He spent the next two years developing a project that would blend in with Cotati’s culture.  He shared his personal excitement: “It’s in my backyard and I always wanted to be a part of the Cotati music scene.”

Laurie Alderman, one Cotati resident who expressed concerns about the project, listed problems in a one-page handout.  She stated, “The city budget is dependent on the hotel going in with sewer connection fees, building fees and impact fees.”  She cited two fire safety issues:  “The Rancho Adobe Fire District does not have a ladder truck to fight a fire four a four-story hotel.”  Also, the concrete wall and trees on the side bordering Gravenstein Highway will impede the ability to fight a fire from the street if needed.  She finds that the county as well as the city will financially benefit.  The $5m recent P-1 sewer project mostly benefitted the hotel, and there were $3m worth of street improvements near the hotel; the developer hasn’t contributed a dime toward either project offered Alderman.

Other people commented on the project.  Teresa Eaton said she did not like the project and thinks that Cotati needs housing rather than hotels.  Aaron Murphy believed that there were more pros than cons and that it was important for Cotati to grow.  Jenny Blaker liked all the comments about sustainability and landscaping but was concerned about the name “Plaza” as it might cause confusion with “La Plaza.”  She would like to see more colorful buildings.  Laurie Ann from Cotati was generally in favor of the project as it would bring in good revenue, and she liked the water plan, use of Sonoma Clean Power and having a plaza for the public.

Bonnie Russell expressed two concerns:  problems with traffic and noise coming from the plaza.  Richard Singhaus reported that he has been waiting a long time to have a hotel in Cotati; good tax revenue, have a hotel to earn income to deal with housing.

Joel Rosenblum, owner of Harmony Garage and other businesses in Cotati for the past 43 years began by wishing the Molinaros success.  His concern about islands preventing left turns into businesses along Redwood Highway were alleviated by City Manager Damien O’Bid, but he still wonders about the feasibility of having only one road out of the hotel complex.  Bea worried about traffic cutting through St. Joseph’s Church.  Erin Armstrong, President of the Cotati Chamber of Commerce does not want to see people coming to Cotati events and then leaving to other towns for lodging.  She believes that the hotel will be a good fit and aesthetically pleasing to Cotati.

Each of the planning commissioners had his or her view.  Lisa Moore stated, “I like the project, it’s more sustainable, and music is like Cotati.”  Steven Onines noted that he was impressed with the project as was Neil Hancock who went on to say, “I like the way the buildings are staggered and I like the eternal pedestrian parkways as well as the sound wall.”  Ben Ford brought up many good points of concern raised by public comment.

All of this discussion led to the two 4-0 votes for the resolutions regarding environmental impacts, variances and use permits.  This meeting will soon be followed by the city council voting on some action items based on recommendations and resolutions.