Scott Alonso 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
Scott Alonso
Response


Question:
What role does a city council member have in protecting community character and addressing issues such as traffic circulation?

Traffic is one the biggest issues in Petaluma. Our geographic constraints and realities leave few options for individuals relying on their cars to get around Petaluma. Projects do have an impact on traffic. Growth has an impact on traffic. We must ensure that projects coming to Petaluma mitigate the traffic that they bring. That is one of the reasons why I am opposed to the Safeway Gas Station on Maria/North McDowell. The character of the neighborhood would be negatively impacted and the traffic caused by the gas station would be detrimental.

Overall, Petaluma should avoid building on the edges of our city. We should protect and maintain the Urban Growth Boundary and build closer to the core of Petaluma. With higher densities at infill sites we can promote more transit options, biking and walking. This aids our town’s commitment to the environment and responsible land use planning.


Too often Petaluma's traffic problems are concentrated into Rainier as a solution.
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 traffic issues facing Petaluma are a local and regional issue. We should continue to support SMART and improvements to Highway 101. Our car culture is dependent on folks driving their vehicles multiple times a day, even outside of their normal commute. This dependence on cars is a larger issue not just impacting Petaluma. However, we could do more to improve bicycle and pedestrian routes and access along with supporting SMART.

Traffic congestion is also related to the widening economic divide facing many families and individuals. Folks are forced to commute long distances to get to their place of work. We also have individuals that do not live here but work here and having to drive to get here. We need to promote more local job growth and housing options for workers. If we can get folks to stay here, then they don’t have to commute. We also must look to support more economic security for residents in Petaluma and throughout the North Bay. Even our city employees cannot afford to live in Petaluma.

They often have to commute in to get to work. This presents not only a traffic issue but a public safety issue if our first responders cannot get back to Petaluma in a timely fashion.


Question:
What is the number of homes (if any) that you think should be built on this property?

I do not have a firm specific number in mind as the public process is still underway. We need to have the Planning Commission and the public still review the revised EIR. As a member of the Planning Commissioner I think it would be premature for me to weigh in on a specific number until I can see the revised plans and EIR. However, I will say that any decrease in homes proposed on the site is a positive step. The initial proposal dating back to the early 2000s and even the recent proposal in 2017 was not in line with our values and proper land use planning.


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 the proposed deal between Kelly Creek and Davidon does indeed go through, I think the homes should be more clustered together and we should avoid any project that is too spread out and contributes to sprawl. The remaining proposed homes should not be located near any sensitive habitat or areas.


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 has a severe shortage of public safety resources at the moment.

Now, with new developments coming online, there are associated fees a project must pay the city for impacts related to the project. Nonetheless, the situation facing Petaluma is that we are short police officers and our firefighters have inadequate infrastructure and resources. Currently for example we only have two public ambulances in Petaluma. This often strains our fire department as we the number of calls they receive each year is increasing. The demand on our services is causing residents to have to seek private care and transportation for ambulatory services. Given Davidon’s proposed location, the call times for our public safety services could be further strained and compromised.

 

Question:
Are there net fiscal benefits to the proposed Davidon project? What are the potential costs to the city?

With every development in Petaluma there are fees and requirements that a developer has to pay - ranging from sewer and water along with traffic impact fees. The specific number though will depend on how many homes, if any, are approved for this project. Overall the potential costs to the city in my view are really the environmental damages, impact on natural resources and public safety infrastructure. A cost to Petaluma that is not financial is the impact on the neighborhood’s quality of life and also how the community was not involved in the process to reach any deal. The public needs to be involved in every step of this project. Community engagement and outreach is vital for any major development proposal. If we do not do a good job reaching out the community, the stain could be long lasting if this project goes through.

 

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?

I have not seen the plans nor would I want to comment as a Commissioner on a project that hasn’t come before us. However, I would be extremely concerned in general if a proposed project’s EIR shows that natural resources or wildlife are severely threatened and the impact cannot be mitigated. There must be a full EIR presented to the public, the Commission and the City Council that reviews the impacts to the environment and that receives feedback from state and federal regulatory agencies conveying their input on the proposed project, especially with regards to wildlife and habitat impacts. We must do everything we can with the few remaining development sites in Petaluma to protect our environment, prevent sprawl and promote responsible land use planning.



Please contact Scott Alonso with any questions about these statements:
scott@alonsoforpetaluma.com