Kevin McDonnell 2018 City Council Candidate

We sent a questionnaire to each of the 2018 mayoral and city council candidates.  The questionnaire was very specific about the Scott Ranch/Davidon proposal and the future of the land at Windsor and D Street.


Petaluma City Council Candidate
Kevin McDonnell
Response


As you know, I have been following the Davidon development/ Petaluma's for Responsible Planning story since the beginning.  I've been impressed and admired the efforts to stop this misguided development.  PFRP is a model of what citizen's can do to create positive outcomes in our community.  Here are my responsive to your questions:

Question:
What role does a city council member have in protecting community character and addressing issues such as traffic circulation?
 
The Council has a huge role in defining and protecting the community character.  The first step is, as you note, developing a strong General Plan.  The Council's role in this is communicating the importance to the public and securing public participation in the process.  Only with public participation is there public confidence in the General Plan and in the Council.  The second step is protecting the character is assuring compliance with the Plan; compliance by development proposals; compliance by the city that transportation projects in the Plan and impact fees in the Plan complete the improvements in the Plan; The third step is to address by its discretionary authority any proposal that is permitted by the Plan but inconsistent with the character of the city.  This arises because of the long window of the 20 will naturally not be able to foresee all possible future proposals.
 
Question:
What steps would you take to solve traffic congestion on Windsor, D Street, and adjoining streets now that commuters are using these streets to avoid 101 traffic?
 
The first step addressing traffic congestion on D St at Windsor is to assure that the freeway construction is completed.  This requires advocating for the existing gas tax and against a repeal of it on the 2018 state ballot.  Freeway completion will reduce the current incentive to use D St as a highway alternative.  This will not be enough.  Traffic calming measures could be taken to further dis-incentivize this route.  The current situation puts excess traffic on many west side streets which leads to their early deterioration and failure for which there is no repair funding.  The is an east side problem as well with traffic choosing Highway 37 to Lakeville and then to multiple unintended streets.

Question:
What is the number of homes (if any) that you think should be built on this property?
 
The idea number is zero.  There are two paths to zero.  One is for the community to buy the developer out of the project completely.  The other is to bring enough focus to flaws in the CEQA document proving that the developers review is inadequate or non- compliant.

Question:
Since 44 acres of the 58 acres will become part of Putnam Park, where on the remaining 14 acres should the 28 homes be located? 

If any housing is to be built, it should be on the least environmentally sensitive lands.It should not be near the red legged frog habitat.  It should protect wildlife corridors.

Question:
Given that Petaluma is already critically short of police, fire, and first responders, would the Davidon development help solve this problem? How would you solve this problem?
 
Petaluma is short of police, fire and first responders.  It is also short parks maintenance and public works staff.  It is also short of housing.  Petaluma's city budget is a pending crisis.  Within two years, Petaluma will not be solvent.  Davidon will not solve any of this.  Property tax and sales tax revenues from Davidon are inconsequential to the magnitude of Petaluma's problem.  The current Council has cut city costs as deep as possible.  They have not been able to agree on a path forward to increase revenue.  I would work to get a Council consensus on solving this.  I would work to get public trust in the Council and for it's financial ideas.

Question:
Are there net fiscal benefits to the proposed Davidon project? What are the potential costs to the city?
 
As discussed above, while Davidon or any development pays fees, they are to mitigate their impact.  Their fees are to mitigation their traffic impact or their park impact all as set in the General Plan and associated fee structures.  Any net fiscal benefit would be in the area of sales tax and property tax.  This is balanced against the long term obligation of not just police and fire services but also against long term road maintenance and other services.  Petaluma has a housing shortage but Davidon would not be the priority housing development.
 
Preliminary project plans show that four homes will be located within the red-legged frog habitat.
Question:  Should the Council permit Davidon to build on the portion of the land that is habitat for the threatened red-legged frog, which would mean its death or removal or could these houses be relocated to avoid this significant impact?
 
The City should not allow housing in red legged frog habitat.  I believe that the CEQA documents will provide clarity and strength in making this point.



Please contact Kevin McDonnell with any questions about these statements:
kevin-mcd@comcast.net