Ask PAC: Priority City Landmarks

On June 6, Petaluma City Council finalized its list of top ten priorities for the next two fiscal years. Highlights include the restoration of a downtown railroad stand, safety improvements on city roads, a cannabis law, tree law amendments, and the construction of a new fire station among others.

At the last city council meeting on Monday, Petaluma leaders broke down specific milestones for achieving each goal, and the expected time for completion by fiscal year and quarter.

But, as the task force’s report noted, priorities and timetables may be subject to change by 2023, once new city council members are sworn in after the November municipal elections.

Question: What actions do Petaluma’s leaders plan to take in order to achieve the 2023-24 goals and what is the timeline for doing so?

Answer: While none of the priorities have been set to be fully achieved by the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2023 due to extensive operations, a number of milestones will be moving forward and some are already under way.

“I thought (the timeline) was well laid out,” said Councilman Mike Healy. “We have a lot of people who want to see things get done tomorrow, and I think that’s realistic.” Healey also asked city employees to submit monthly progress reports on each priority.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Bocchikai and Council member Brian Barnacle have asked for more focus on adopting the retail cannabis ordinance more quickly, rather than waiting six months between the draft of the ordinance and final adoption, according to schedule estimates.

Creating more protections for tenants in the first quarter of the upcoming fiscal year will be a priority, followed by completing research on recent mobile home rental challenges. The relevant decrees are expected to be finally adopted by the end of the first half of the 2023 fiscal year. The 2023 fiscal year begins next month, on July 1, and lasts until the end of June 2023.

Work is also underway on the fairground project, with the committee expected to send its recommendations for the 55-acre downtown property to the planning committee and city council by March, with further community input. Expected in the second quarter and final decisions on lease and land use thereafter.

It takes longer to complete the rack restoration project and police oversight guidelines. For the carrier, the city will begin plans to convert the old rail carrier into a downtown river corridor in the first quarter of 2023, with an environmental assessment in the third quarter. The project is not expected to be “bucket ready” or to be ready Funding has been secured until the third quarter of 2024. Construction will begin after that.

While the Safe Streets initiative has already been launched with projects like full streets and lane renovation, the city also plans to adopt a local road safety plan next year as well as complete the creation of a bicycle and pedestrian framework. A long-term financing strategic plan for related projects is expected to be developed by the end of 2024.

Also on the priority list is a new fire station, with a pioneering agenda By the end of fiscal year 2023, the Tree Conservation Act.

The Integrated Pest Management Plan for Sustainable Land Management is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2023, and a citywide electrification plan, which includes the Exhaustion Act and the Clean Energy mandate, is scheduled to be adopted by the end of 2024.

A full outline can be found at https://petaluma.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=31&event_id=45951&meta_id=530235

Although city leaders appeared unwilling to add to the list, after the recent escalation in gun violence and mass shootings across the country, Councilman Dave King called for gun restrictions to be also on the agenda.

“I don’t trust the federal government to deal with this problem,” King said. “And I hope countries can do that, but I also think we need to make it more difficult to get weapons.”

Amelia Barrera is a staff writer at Argus-Courier. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 707-521-5208.

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