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October 16, 2021
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Housing, water and cannabis

By: Paul Matli
April 30, 2021

During Tuesday night’s more than 4-hour long meeting, Mayor John Moore and his colleagues discussed a number of topics from housing, water conservation and cannabis cultivation. The meeting was thorough with many presentations and much discussion amongst the council with some public comment mixed in. City Manager Damien O’Bid also gave out some important information regarding Sonoma County’s vaccination program and about the return of the Farmers Market. 

 The majority of the meeting focused on housing, in particular the Cottage Housing Project. There were a number of presentations on this new housing project which, of course, led to discussion amongst the council. There were seven key tenets about the Cottage Housing Project.    

 They ranged from promoting a sustainable development practice through smaller, more efficient housing and effective use of residential land, diversifying the city’s housing stock by providing a housing type that is affordable and that responds to changing household sizes and ages, such as retirees, small families and single parent households. Some others include providing centrally located and functional common open space that fosters a sense of community and openness with the cottage development, providing private areas around the individual dwelling to enable diversity in landscape design and foster a sense of ownership and maintaining the character of existing residential neighborhoods and ensuring compatibility between cottage development and their neighbors.

The Cottage Project was intended to provide a San Francisco style living without the high rent prices. Also, some members of the council noted the issue of diversity since often times people of color get discriminated against in the housing market. Cotati is a small town, but there always seems to be construction projects ongoing. The Cottage House Project is another one that seems to have good intentions behind it.

Before moving into the main part of the agenda, the council took some time to listen to the public comment section. Community members who talked Tuesday night really stuck it out considering it was about three hours into the meeting when the public comment was allowed.

After public comment wrapped up, the council moved into the next phase of the night which centered around marijuana cultivation, construction and water.

As has been a theme at every Cotati City Council meeting, talk about marijuana again dominated a part of the meeting. This time it was Halcyon Enterprise asking the council for consideration of a commercial cannabis permit for cultivation and distribution at 420 Aaron St.

 Some key figures to note during the presentation were when Halcyon asked for a general industrial zoning district, requested up to 22,000 square feet of canopy, six primary grow rooms, areas for cloning, dyeing and processing, Type-11 distributor, permitted use with commercial cannabis permit and phased operation. 

After hearing the presentation and discussing it, the council approved the resolution to allow cultivation.

Next up was something called the West Street Project. This project is funded through Harris and Associates, to provide professional development through bidding for the West Side Street Project, approving funding for pavement material testing and authorizing the city manager to execute said agreement and amendments up to the approved budget amount. Essentially West Street Project is another street project being done in the City of Cotati. Some projects that were completed were the Chirps at ORH/Valparaiso and Yellow Reflective tape. A few of the upcoming projects are Street Preservation Project, Quick Strike, Redwood Drive and Cypress Ave. The council approved this resolution since the City of Cotati could always use maintenance on roads and other street projects.

Since Sonoma County has been so dry, the Water Advisory Committee called for 20 percent voluntary conservation and to provide direction to the City WAT member. They used the meeting to remind community members just how dry California is.

Finally, City Manager Damien O’Bid added in some new details about the vaccination program. He said that kids 16 and over are able to get the vaccine now and that 63 percent are partially vaccinated. The county’s goal is to get 50 percent fully vaccinated by next week. Sonoma County is currently in the orange tier and may hit yellow before the governor gets rid of the tier system in June. According to O’Bid, there will probably still be restrictions in place, but the tier system will be gone, which means much more freedom and maybe a sense of normalcy again. For those who enjoy the Farmers Market, O’Bid announced it will return in June on Wednesday nights.