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Construction leads to discussion

By: Paul Matli
February 14, 2020

Construction is happening all over the City of Cotati. Some is to fix the roads, others to upgrade the water and energy systems, but perhaps the most important part of construction has to do with Veronda-Falletti Farms.

Veronda-Falletti Farm was purchased by the city in 2008 along with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. This property has been a staple of Cotati since then. Community members can visit the farm anytime to see a number of animals and they certainly weren’t pleased with the recent news of construction taking place.

Community members spent most of the open session speaking up in favor of the farm and how much harm could be caused to animals by moving them while construction is taking place. It was refreshing to see many community members standing up for the farm because it shows how important Veronda and Falletti are to the city.

For those not familiar, the city decided to refurbish the farmhouse and rebuild the water tower, which is expected to take about 45 days (completion should be around May 2020). The improvements are intended to preserve the buildings far into the future, improve safety and accessibility and accommodate a growing list of community workshops and activities at the farm.

The issue of livestock and the farm took up the most time during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The Cotati citizens are very concerned about the animals, however the council allowed everyone to speak who wanted to and most of them were against the construction project and didn’t think it was necessary.

Farmster is planning to bring in a variety of new heritage animals to the farm, such as KuneKune pigs, Shetland sheep, alpaca, chickens and others that are gentle for kids and support the planned educational programs for all ages. They can also see new agricultural programs, such as raising crops and fruit trees and farm-based crafts.

After this the council moved into the most important item of the night, which was an ordinance amending a section within Title 13 water, sewer and electrical of the city municipal code to comply with SB 998 Discontinuation of Residential Water Service: Urban and Community Water systems.

This ordinance simply would change the billing cycle of electrical and water bills and is in compliance with the new state law. The ordinance passed the council 5-0 after a little discussion.

Another announcement related to this was Councilmember Mark Landman announcing that prices for Sonoma Clean Power will increase. He said the prices will go up every year and be anywhere from 27 million to 45 million. This is all part of the power charge indifference adjustment or (PCIA) as Landman called it. So, community members who have Sonoma Clean Power should expect their prices to go up.  

Tuesday’s meeting was much shorter, but still very effective. The next meeting is Feb. 28, so community members with something to say are welcome to attend and make their voices heard.