The Rohnert Park City Council held their first monthly regular meeting in the council chamber, located at 130 Avram Ave. Tues. Mar. 10. The agenda can be found on the city’s website under city council – meeting central links. If you didn’t catch the live streaming video of the meeting, the video is available on that same website for replay. City council meetings typically are a mix of the routine, the non-controversial and the controversial. Tonight’s meeting was no exception.
A non-controversial example from tonight’s meeting would be Mayor Callinan calling up representatives of the Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park for recognition. The certificate of recognition read in part: “The Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park was founded in 2002 by a dedicated group of volunteers and serves as a fundraising and community outreach auxiliary to the Rohnert Park Animal. The Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park worked diligently to organize the Bark After Dark event and it proved successful. It was a sold-out event and nearly $30,000 was raised. The success of this fundraiser provides life-saving medical care and other vital community pet assistance programs.”
Public hearings can tend to be controversial. Often the reaction is a type of feedback to the council about an issue or votes the speakers disagree with. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a request of the council to look at a citizen’s concern or a request to make improvements. Tonight, we had examples of both. Several speakers were present to address the city council. It appeared Mayor Callinan pushed the council’s closed session back, so these speakers did not have to wait around to address the council. Ten speakers asked to speak. They had up to three minutes each. Ninety percent of the speakers berated the council for their selection of the By-District Map and Election Sequencing they adopted last month. The tenth speaker requested the city to look at garage regulations in Section 17 and change it to make it fairer and less burdensome on homeowners.
They then moved on to the routine consent agenda items. After three items were pulled from the Consent Agenda, the council passed 5-0 the remaining items. The items pulled were 8E by the Mayor Callinan, 8H by Councilmember Belforte and item 8I by the Vice Mayor Mackenzie. Callinan wanted to make a minor add on costing $4,500 to the city hall main lobby and floor replacement project. Belforte pulled her item because she wanted to publicly thank city staff for saving significant costs on the Fire Station 3 Construction Process. Mackenzie thought the public should know more about what the Proclamation of Existence of a Local Emergency meant. He allowed City Manager Jenkins to explain that ratification of this Proclamation allows the city to be eligible for state reimbursement of some costs and flexibility in dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation locally. All three items passed 5-0 after discussions.
The heart of the night’s meeting however was the public hearing on Ordinance No. 947. This ordinance would Amend Telecommunication Regulations of the Municipal Code. In effect, it was establishing the rules for upgrade of the existing 4G cell system and preparing for potential implementation of 5G technology in the future. An extensive 45-minute presentation from the staff with Q&A of questions from the council members was conducted. The public hearing was opened, two speakers spoke out against the ordinance mostly objecting to the potential of 5G being allowed in the local community. After the ordinance was introduced – the council approved it by a vote of 5-0. Those interested in the finer details of the ordinance should view the presentation and discussion on the city’s website. It is interesting. The next city council meeting, including the second reading and vote on this ordinance, is scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 24. The agenda will be posted in advance, also on the city’s website.