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October 19, 2021
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Sebastopol City Council fills Planning Commission seats

By: Brandon McCapes
December 25, 2020

The Sebastopol City Council filled two Planning Commission seats expiring at the end of the year, in addition to approving planning and engineering projects at their meeting Tuesday, Dec. 15.

After hosting interviews for the three candidates during a special meeting held before the regular meeting, council members voted to re-appoint current Vice Chair Paul Fritz to the Commission. The Council selected Beau Anderson to fill the seat of Commissioner Patrick Wilson—who did not seek reappointment.

Council members praised Vice-Chair Fritz, an architect, for the work he has accomplished as commissioner. Fritz has been a commissioner for five years—four years in his current appointment after completing one year of another commissioner’s term. Before his appointment to the Planning Commission, Fritz worked with the city on the General Plan Advisory Committee.

During his interview, Fritz told council members he would like to see a new downtown specific plan to improve pedestrian accessibility. He also supports infill projects that allow for higher-density duplexes and triplexes in areas currently zoned for single-family homes. According to Fritz, around 80-percent of residential areas in Sebastopol are zoned for single-family homes.

“It brings a lot of diversity to a neighborhood. It integrates our community better,” Fritz said. “I think if we want to attract more affordable housing we have to look at that.”

Beau Anderson, who currently works as an administrative services officer for Sonoma Clean Power, has had extensive experience in city and county planning, including working for the Board of Supervisors Fifth District Office and serving on IOLERO, which oversees the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Council members were impressed with Anderson’s experience in local government.

“I do bring a broad skill set,” Anderson said. “I’m really interested in having an opportunity to give back, draw on my work experience and deep community connections to make sure Sebastopol has the same quality of life I grew up with.”

The third candidate, Kyle Falbo, who has been actively involved at city council and planning commission meetings as a member of the public, also received praise from council members for his participation in the public process. Council members expressed eagerness to appoint him to the next vacancy on the Planning Commission or to another committee.

Falbo, a mathematics lecturer at Sonoma State University, is known for bring graphs and charts to public meetings.

 

Other City Council news:

 

The City Council honored Elizabeth Smith, of Sebastopol, as part of its “Locals who Make a Difference” Recognition Program. The program awards “honorees [who] have shown an exceptional contribution to improve the quality of life in the City of Sebastopol.

Smith was selected for her work strengthening families and the community through service work, such as restarting the Soroptimist International Chapter in Sebastopol and West County, her work leading the “Project Whole Child” program and other contributions to the community.

City staff gained approval to begin soliciting bids for the repaving of local streets. The city council held a discussion concerning which streets should be prioritized for repaving at their Oct. 6 meeting, and finalized the list at their Oct. 20 meeting. The total budget for the project is $451,920, with$140,000 from regional Measure M funds, $271,973 from state SB1 funding and $38,127 from the City Traffic Impact Fund.

Following are the streets approved for repavement, placed into two groups for the purposes of bidding: Hansen Court, Michael Place, Kathleen Court and Cleveland Avenue; Eastside Avenue and Strout Street.

A public parklet sponsored by the owners of the restaurant Ramen Gaijin will be installed on Main Street per council approval last night. The parklet, which will be the fourth approved on Main Street and Sebastopol Avenue since October, will add outdoor seating for surrounding restaurants once the current lockdown measures are relaxed.

Ramen Gaijin owner Matthew Williams said the parklet would be necessary for his restaurant to weather the rest of the pandemic.

“Patio dining will be essential to sustaining our business during what has been a catastrophically devastating year. We are just looking for a lifeline. The COVID pandemic, for restaurants, has been a real disaster,” Williams said.

At 11 p.m., after four hours discussing the Sebastopol Inn project with community members and county officials, the council voted to continue its only regular agenda item—consideration of amendment to recently assigned city council and staff committee assignments for 2021—to its next meeting, Jan. 5, 2021.