June meeting to discuss new advisory body
Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Eldridge being considered for inclusion
The prospects for setting up a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) for Glen Ellen, Kenwood and possibly Eldridge will be the focus of a June 18 town hall meeting hosted by Supervisor Susan Gorin. Coming on the heels of the newest county MAC in The Springs area, Gorin hopes to provide another avenue for North Valley residents to make their voices heard at the county level.
“There has definitely been interest in starting up a MAC for the North Valley,” Supervisor Gorin said. “I’ve had some initial conversations with stakeholders from both Glen Ellen and Kenwood. Now’s the time to bring more folks into this conversation and find out what residents of these communities want to see.”
Once established, the MAC will provide a direct forum for communication between local residents and businesses, and the county and Supervisor Gorin.
The MAC members will be appointed by the Board of Supervisors to “provide recommendations on matters of local concern,” according to Gorin.
Participants of the June 18 meeting will consider a name and define the function of the proposed MAC. They will also look at existing boundaries in the region based on census data, school district boundaries and population density, and begin to work through what makes sense for a MAC in the North Valley.
Arthur Dawson, a long time Glen Ellen resident and active with local issues, has already met with a number of people in the area and proposed possible answers to some of these issues, though nothing definitive.
Dawson noted that MACs are permitted under state law to give otherwise unrepresented rural population concentrations a larger voice in county politics. There are distinct population centers throughout many counties that are too small to be incorporated, yet have issues that strongly affect their communities. Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Eldridge fit that category.
And while Aqua Caliente, Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, and Fetter’s Hot Springs – collectively known as The Springs – may someday be incorporated by the City of Sonoma, for now, they are rural residents with all of the issues of a city. The recently formed Springs MAC may be a first step in the direction of incorporation. It is how the City of Windsor got started.
Dawson said people should think about how they would like to define their communities: using census blocks, zip codes, special district boundaries, but find some limiting definition of boundaries and bring it to the meeting.
The MAC meeting will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Kenwood Depot, 314 Warm Springs Road in Kenwood. For more information, contact Supervisor Gorin’s office at 565-2241.