The Rohnert Park City Council met in an open session Tuesday to discuss a number of issues, most prominent of which was the proposed abolition of a $238 fee charged for encroachment permits.
Maintenance responsibilities for sidewalk fronting a piece of property in Rohnert Park falls on the shoulders of the property owner, and to perform any work on a public space requires an encroachment permit. The fee currently charged is modest and goes towards paying for the inspection and insurance coverage for repairs that such a permit normally demands.
But for many single family homes the fee can seem like a significant barrier of entry to an already labyrinthine approval process.
“For the first thirty years of existence this city used to fix the sidewalk for the residents and then we started making the residents pay for it,” said Joseph Callinan, vice mayor of Rohnert Park. “So anything to make it easier for them I agree with.”
The city doesn’t seem to mind the lost revenue, either. Mary Grace, Director of Development Services within Rohnert Park, argued that it was far more important that residents would be easily able to fulfill their civic obligations than it was for the city to raise a negligible amount of money. Grace did not expect the abolition of the fee to significantly affect the city’s budget.
“These people come to our counter because code enforcement has visited them first and told them to repair their sidewalk. They’re helping us by getting that sidewalk repaired.” Grace said. “The $238 fee is not big stakes in terms of the benefit from sidewalk repair.”
Also on the schedule was the Rohnert Park Performing Arts Center yearly update. The center proposed their upcoming theater season which includes performances such as, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, The Addams Family and BBQ Apocalypse. More information on the upcoming performances may be found on the Performing Arts Centers’ website.
Finally, the city council discussed topics that were of special interest to the members and of critical need to the City of Rohnert Park. Transportation drew the most attention, most notably the state of the city’s bus stops. Council members Gina Belforte, Joseph Callinan and Amy Ahanotu all expressed dismay at the current state of Rohnert Park’s public transit system.
“In some of our bus stops there’s no covering, there’s no seats. Some of them you walk out and its just plants. They’re in weird locations,” Belforte said.
The next Rohnert Park City Council meeting is schedule for September 25th.