New Redwood Valley Community Plan Centers on Town’s Identity

By Ashley Tressel, Ukiah Daily Journal, June 15, 2017

The small, farming town of Redwood Valley is having an identity crisis. Housing a tight-knit community of people who know and work the land, the town is yearning for a set of clear-cut values, an image that it wants to define itself by.

So far, that includes small, sustainable farming; boutique, live-in stores; and an old-fashioned Western feel. That is what the town’s Municipal Advisory Council heard from an eager group of residents on Wednesday evening, who met in the Redwood Valley Grange to brainstorm what they want for their town going forward and what values they want to uphold.

The meeting was the first in a series with the goal of updating the 2004 Redwood Valley Community Action Plan.

Chris Boyd, council chairwoman, said the old objectives did not go far enough to keep out unwanted business (i.e. Dollar General). Residents fiercely oppose Dollar General’s impending development in their town  …read more!

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Dollar General Rebuffed Again in Middletown

By Zack Jordan, Lake County Record-Bee, May 31, 2017

LAKE COUNTY – After reviewing and updating the Findings of Fact for the Dollar General in Middletown, the Board of Supervisors approved the document, essentially denying the appeal from Cross Development.

Lake County held a special meeting for the new Findings of Fact for Dollar General after a narrow vote found issues with the previous report. After a review of the County Zoning Ordinance, the developer’s plan cannot meet Section 54 due to the store’s design. The plan does not fit the Middletown Area Plan (MAP).

Beth Rudiger of the Middletown Area Merchant Association (MAMA) said that the new findings confirm what critics of the Dollar General store have said. She also confirmed the proposal does not meet the MAP, differing in color and building material from the zoning plan.

“We at the Middletown Area Merchant Association thank the Board for spending time reading and understanding Middletown Area Plan and listening to the members of the community, for honoring the Board’s commitment to uphold to the area plan when requested to from the community, for knowing every vote you take is not just a district decision but a county-wide decision with multiple and far-ranging effects,” Rudiger said.

She added that the Board has made her and the MAMA proud by considering each vote they make for the community and deeply considering this one and not granting the appeal for the Dollar General.

County Council Anita Grant said no new evidence about this topic can be brought to the Board by the community because the time for public input had already passed.

“I have prepared redrafted Findings to reflect the change in the Board’s decision,” Grant said. “If the Board wants to make any changes to do the document, it would have to be done on the face of the document.”

She added that any other information that the Board has read or heard cannot be added to the Findings of Fact because it would obstruct from the original findings that have been set in place.

Cross Development, the company designing the Dollar General and planning construction, will have to put in a new Design Review and bring it to the Planning Commission to make sure that all areas follow and coordinate with the Zoning Ordinance if they wish to continue working towards putting in the Dollar General in Middletown.

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Redwood Valley MAC Public Meeting June 14 to Update Community Plan

The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) invites all residents of Redwood Valley and interested stakeholders to a planning meeting on June 14, from 6 to 8pm at the Redwood Valley Grange, to create the new vision of the community for the next 20 years.Formed by the Board of Supervisors a year ago, the MAC is observing its first anniversary by starting work to update the 2004 Redwood Valley Community Action Plan.

Community plans are used by Planning Commissions and Boards of Supervisors when development projects are considered for those areas. For example, when the Dollar General corporation wanted to build stores in Mendocino County, they selected Redwood Valley in part because the community is largely unregulated regarding commercial development and environmental impacts. With no specific rules preventing formula businesses or strip malls, and no need for specific environmental review, big corporations know that local residents and public boards have few tools to manage development. Cities may enact specific permit processes and limitations on development, but unincorporated communities largely rely on Boards of Supervisors. However, with a strong community plan in hand, the residents’ views can be clearly communicated to decision makers, and even incorporated into the County General Plan and zoning ordinances.

Chris Boyd, current chair of the seven member MAC, is hoping for strong participation in the new Plan’s development. “If you know what, you know how. By that I mean that if we in Redwood Valley clearly state what we want for our little town and what we don’t want, we stand on more solid ground to prevent the kinds of intrusions into our lifestyle that the Dollar General represents.” Adds Vice-Chair Sheilah Rogers, “We love our rural lifestyle and the diversity of local enterprises. The last Plan was written with participation from over 100 residents. It was a start. But we need more residents to participate and clarify the goals for our future.”

The MAC has received a $1,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County to hold community meetings to focus on a new vision for Redwood Valley. On June 14, from 6 to 8 pm, a facilitated meeting will collect residents’ views on their hopes, goals, and needs for Redwood Valley’s future. All ages and a wide diversity of opinions are encouraged for the first “brainstorming” session,preparatory to two more meetings in early Fall to refine specific goals and objectives.

For more information about the Plan process and other MAC activities, go to their website at . Additionally, stakeholders unable to attend the first meeting on June 14 may send written comments at any time to: Redwood Valley MAC, PO Box 243, Redwood Valley, Ca.95470. Be sure to include name and contact information for updates. Comments may also be made via the Redwood Valley MAC website Comments page.

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Redwood Valley Grange Centennial Celebration May 20

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Open Meeting April 18 to Discuss Surplus School Property Usage

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Smart Growth Rural Mendo Op-Ed: Dollar General Gets Its Way

Redwood Valley Market Loses Suit Against Dollar General

Judge Richard Henderson issued a decision on January 11, 2017, to deny the lawsuit by the Redwood Valley Market owners, Alex and Anthony Chehada, against Dollar General. The many Redwood Valley residents who attended the hearing in early December were forewarned by the judge that he sometimes had to make decisions against his personal preference, and seemed to characterize this decision as one he had to make. The points of law were all he could look at, and essentially he ruled that the legal appeal of the permit issuance was filed later than the 30-day statute of limitations. The fact that the County never made a personal contact with the Chehadas nor with their attorney, despite the County’s knowledge of the Chehadas’ objection to the permit, was not a relevant issue, as the County isn’t specifically required to do outreach other than a physical posting of information on a clipboard at the Planning and Building Services office. Therefore, nothing related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), regarding any environmental issues, was heard. The Zoning Code designating the Dollar General proposed site as a C-1 (Commercial) property, and the General Plan’s short and vague comments about Redwood Valley’s environment, constitute the sum total of environmental review that will be given to the project.

The ruling came as no surprise to the many local residents who have been following the issue since the June, 2015 granting of the permit. The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, while recognizing the high level of opposition to the project by the local community, basically said their “hands were tied” as to stopping a “permit by right” such as was granted to the Dolgen corporation (the parent company of the Dollar General stores). While Board members Carre Brown and  John McCowen voted against the development, approval was granted by three Board votes from Dan Gjerde, Dan Hamburg, and since-resigned Board member Tom Woodhouse, underscoring the limited power of a small community … read more here!

Posted in Chain Store Moratorium, County Planning Commission, dollar general, Formula Business Ordinance, Redwood Valley MAC | Tagged , | Leave a comment