Valley of the Moon Alliance: 2014 report
By Linda Hale, VOTMA board member
The Valley of the Moon Alliance (VOTMA) just finished an exciting year of community engagement that included outreach to local organizations, an update of a 10-year-old study that projected growth, and bringing in new board members. In addition to our quarterly board meetings, we attended Board of Supervisors meetings to address issues related to our mission to preserve rural character and promote Sonoma County’s General Plan 2020 guidelines.
VOTMA is working to inform and engage people. On the 4th of July, VOTMA board members manned an information table in the Plaza Park to let folks know about the work done in our valley to protect water resources, address traffic issues, and track growth. Board members met throughout the year with County Supervisors to discuss areas of event concentration, parking issues in Kenwood, and highway safety. Responding to some of the complaints of residents along our state-designated Scenic Corridor regarding a proliferation of signs, we met with local business owners and developed a petition to point out the existing regulations regarding sandwich boards, billboards, and excessive signage.
The major accomplishment of 2014, however, was the update of the 2004 VOTMA study of potential growth, particularly with regard to event centers in the Sonoma Valley. Various county officials will be interested in our updated report. What has changed in the last 10 years? Working with local groups and PRMD resources, data was gathered to show that areas of over-concentration exist, particularly in Kenwood, south Sonoma Valley, and the Dry Creek/Westside Road area. VOTMA, along with the Westside Neighborhood Association of Healdsburg and others, were able to get the development of guidelines to avoid over-concentration included on the PRMD work plan for 2015. VOTMA will continue to work with officials regarding these guidelines.
VOTMA continues to be a voice for the community. Look for a community fundraiser in the summer of 2015 to raise funds for outreach and research. VOTMA also maintains a great website at www.VOTMA.org and we are working to make information and resources more easily accessible. Check it out for updates, results of the 2014 update on the potential of event centers, information on how to help, who to contact to make an impact, and how to donate. Our nonprofit tax ID is 80-0038375. And please join us at our Jan. 21 meeting, 7 p.m. at the Kenwood Depot. The VOTMA Board members look forward to seeing you!