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!

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Special RV MAC Meeting: Flow Cannabis Institute 80-Acre Facility Proposal

Public Service Announcement from the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council

Special Meeting: Flow Cannabis Institute Development Proposal

Thursday Evening, February 9, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Redwood Valley Grange, 8650 East Road, RV

Who: Redwood Valley residents and interested parties are urged to attend

What: Proposal for an 80-acre development at the former Fetzer winery for a commercial cannabis processing/distribution center

Where: Redwood Valley Grange, 8650 East Rd., RV

Why: Community workshop to discuss the proposed development, present community concerns, and host a dialogue about issues, mitigations, and process.

In December, the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council (RVMAC) was advised by Mendocino County Planning and Building Services Department on a pending sale of property at the former Fetzer Home Ranch and former Winery site at 1150 Bel Abres Drive. The purchasers, Flow Cannabis Institute, intends to develop a cannabis processing, distribution, and retail center at the site.

The RVMAC represents the community and advises County government agencies regarding land use planning and development in their service area.  The agenda will include a Flow Cannabis Institute presentation, question/answer session, and opportunities to be heard.

Flow Cannabis Institute representatives have presented information on the project to County officials during the December 14, 2016 RVMAC meeting. Community members urged the RVMAC to sponsor a public meeting/workshop specifically for learning more about the proposed project.  The public will have an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. See you there!

Additional information at the Redwood Valley MAC website.

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Women’s March in Ukiah Draws Record Crowds

By Carole Brodsky, The Ukiah Daily Journal  January 21, 2017

Organizers and attendees estimate nearly 2,000 people gathered in Alex R. Thomas Jr. Plaza Saturday to join with others in cities in countries around the world to give voice to an array of concerns following the election and inauguration of Donald Trump on his first day in office.

Longtime Ukiah-area political organizers said that they were unprepared but thrilled by the numbers of people who turned out for Saturday’s march, which echoed the reports of record-breaking crowds demonstrating at marches throughout the country.

Luckily for the Ukiah press, resident Peter Barrett, husband of Pastor Judy Shook, was able to confirm the numbers of marchers for the UDJ.

“When the march began, I hustled up to near the front of the line,” says Barrett. “I missed probably the first 100 marchers. I stood in one spot, right near Mama’s Café and   … read more here

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Redwood Valley Loses to Dollar General

By Erick O’Donnell, The Lake County Record-Bee   January 17, 2017

A lawsuit to stop the development of a Dollar General store in Redwood Valley was roundly rejected Jan. 11 by Mendocino Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson, ending a last-ditch effort to halt construction of the 9,100-square-foot chain store in the unincorporated rural community.

Some residents of Redwood Valley have been fighting the construction of the store since it was approved by the county in 2015, saying it would spoil the rural character of their town. Judge Henderson’s ruling swept aside all challenges to the legality of the store’s construction, but the substance of the petitioners’ grievances will continue to shape a still-developing  …read the full story here

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Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council’s Website Up and Running!

As of December 2016, the Redwood Valley MAC’s brand new website is now up and live at http://www.redwoodvalleymac.com/. The MAC has been officially meeting monthly since last June. The second Wednesday of each month, 5 to 7 pm, has been designated as the regular monthly meeting time. Meetings are currently held at the Redwood Valley Grange/Guild, 8650 East Road, just north of the Fire Station. If meeting times or locations change, the public will be immediately informed on this site, the RVMAC site,  and elsewhere.

The seven-member (plus two alternate members) MAC has been working hard on reviewing development proposals, attending public meetings with County officials, and continuing to work in opposition to Dollar General’s plan to build a 9,100 sq. ft. store at East Road and School Way. The latest news regarding the court case against Dollar General’s plan is now posted on the RVMAC site here.

Also look to the RVMAC website for agendas, minutes from past meetings, and administrative information about the MAC, including membership and an application form for those interested in becoming members. There is currently a waiting list of applicants, but the MAC looks to interested parties when we move forward with research projects and other plans. In the near future, the MAC will be holding public meetings to create an updated Community Plan, which will be intended to supplement the General Plan and Zoning Code in further defining what kinds of development will, or will not, work for Redwood Valley. Wide public input will be necessary if we are to outline the specifics for this Plan, so keep watching for more information.

Meetings are open to everyone, and generally run about 2 hours. Public comment is welcome—in fact, that’s what the MAC is all about: empowering Redwood Valley residents to take a stronger stand in the vision and future of our community. Come and join your neighbors, and keep up to date by watching for additions to the website. More content is planned, and a contact form is available on the RV MAC site for sending questions or comments to the MAC directly. This is your chance. Your new Municipal Advisory Council is  composed of Redwood Valley residents just like you — we welcome and encourage you to participate and help shape the future of our wonderful and unique little valley!

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RVMAC November 9 Meeting: Minutes

Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council

Draft Minutes

Meeting, November 9, 2016

( Minutes to each month’s RVMAC meeting will be posted here until the RVMAC website is completed at http://www.redwoodvalleymac.com/ )

MAC members attending: Debra Ramirez (acting chair), Melinda Hunter, Alex DeGrassi, Katrina Frey, Marybeth Kelly (acting secretary)
Other attendees: Hal Voege, Eric Boyle and Julie Puffer, all RV citizens. Joel Soinila, RV citizen/business owner. Carre Brown, Supervisor.

LAST MONTH’S MINUTES:
Katrina motioned to approve. Alex seconded. Approved with one abstain, Melissa Hunter.

PUBLIC EXPRESSION:
Hal Voege asked the question: can citizens get a copy of RVMAC minutes?
Discussion followed. Katrina: is Cassie willing/able to email? They will be posted on website when it is ready. Marybeth offered to keep a binder of minutes at Grange. Consensus was to wait for website.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:
•    Formula Business Ordinance: Alex gave update on. Much discussion followed. Comment period for MAC is closed. Carre noted that MAC could still comment at hearings. Planning Commission meets on it November 17th. Alex and Marybeth read Community Character Development of RV, written by Sheilah Rogers aloud. Alex and Carre clarified procedures for looking at Planning Commission agenda, minutes and public comments on county website. Alex noted that the PC puts all their replies to comments on county website, and gave directions on how to get there. Comments by Hal Voege about how important it is for communities to get involved in planning process. He wants the community to be solicited. He shared the recommendations he made to PC in a letter (to be delivered tomorrow) regarding modifications to zoning code Title 20-Zoning Ordinance, sections 20.147.030 and 20.196.020. It was well accepted by MAC. Much discussion about the ways to notify communities of upcoming developments….MAC or county websites, local fire depts., etc. Continue reading

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