Glen Ellen Forum notebook – May meeting results
SDC alternatives delayed, county emergency plan reviewed, housing rezoning, and more
By Jay Gamel
Glen Ellen Forum monthly meeting attendees learned a lot about the county’s newly revised emergency plans from Lisa Hulette, a guest speaker from Permit Sonoma invited to discuss the county’s newest plans for dealing with disasters.
“We have been living in a heightened state since 2017,” she told the zoom audience at the May meeting as she outlined the county’s ambitious Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Plan being formulated to protect people and minimize loss of life, injury, and other impacts to society and the environment. A big part of the plan is getting as many people as possible to read it and prepare for the very high likelihood of future wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, and other hazards that beset the region.
A big part of the wide-ranging plan is to encourage all county departments to include emergency thinking into whatever they do, Hulette observed. “Encourage the incorporation of mitigation best management measures into plans, codes, and other regulatory standards,” she noted with her presentation. “Coordination will be really important to get us through any future disaster.”
Removing wildland fuel and creating defensible space around homes is vital, ensuring a noncombustible space around the house. She described projects being looked at as “big enough to matter, small enough to accomplish.”
There will be a public webinar on the plan in June, with public comment between June 15 and 30. Current timelines suggest it could come to the Board of Supervisors by September.
Oz Robledo, an IT professional, spoke about computer scams and keeping computer security at high enough levels to fend off the bad actors out there in the vast domain of the worldwide internet. Robledo spoke about the ever-increasing number of scams based on the internet and phone communication, and outlined some of the ways people can test what they are seeing and hearing to avoid being taken for money or information they would not otherwise disclose. He advised people to closely check return email addresses for inconsistencies. Remember: If it sounds or looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Tony Passantino, education program manager for the Sonoma Ecology Center, who also coordinates programs for youth with Sonoma Valley Unified School District spoke about encouraging environmental literacy in our schools. He teaches throughout Sonoma Valley, including at Dunbar and Kenwood elementary schools.
Alice Horowitz, co-chair of the Glen Ellen Forum’s SDC/Eldridge Committee, updated the membership on what has been happening with the Sonoma Developmental Center’s (SDC) Project Advisory Team (PAT), comprised of a number of area residents proficient in relevant areas, like historical preservation, land use issues, and real estate development. She advised that notes from the April 23 PAT meeting with SDC consultants are available online (see below).
The next step in the SDC specific planning process is the choice of three possible planning alternatives, now expected to happen early this summer, with a public meeting possibly slated for shortly thereafter. A study on adaptive reuse has been completed and the public is encouraged to comment on the process at www.sdcspecificplan.com.
Glen Ellen resident and land use planner Vicki Hill explained the county’s preparation of a draft environmental impact statement that will serve future decisions on expanding zoning densities for designated parcels throughout Sonoma County. The increase is designed to boost affordable housing in the unincorporated areas. Two Glen Ellen parcels are currently in the rezoning proposed plan. The report may be examined at www.ceqanet.opr.ca.gov. Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal on May 20, Hill said. Contact Derik Michaelson at Derik. [email protected] or call (707) 565-3095 for more information. Join the next virtual Glen Ellen Forum meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 7 (the first Monday of the month, unless otherwise noted). The June agenda will feature speakers from the Sonoma County Water Agency as well as representatives from the Eldridge Cemetery Memorial Committee. Visit the forum at www.glenellen. org to register. You can also find more information on the Glen Ellen Forum on their Facebook page or by contacting them at [email protected] glenellen.org.