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GUEST OPINION: Petalumans were doing the City Council's job

  • 6/8/2011: B1:

    PC: Petaluma city council candidate Janice Cader-Thompson wants to create a wetlands park on the edge of the city and is shown at Shollenberger Park.

    9/20/2002: P1: Petaluma Councilwoman Janice Cader-Thompson, above, at Shollenberger Park, has proposed creating a 335-acre wetlands park between Lakeville Highway and the Petaluma River on the east side of town.

    10/20/2002: B3: Janice Cader-Thompson

    11/6/2002: A7: Janice Cader-Thompson

    12/20/2002: P1: Janice Cader-Thompson

    11/2/2003: A1: Janice Cader-Thompson

    1/8/2004: B1: Janice Cader-Thompson

Recently Petalumans have seen private citizens performing the function of what a City Council should be doing for a community ("$200,000 deal avoids Petaluma lawsuit: Developer of Friedman's Center agrees to settlement with anti-big-box group," Sept. 22)

It is the responsibility of the City Council to evaluate the impacts development brings to a community. This is a two-sided balance sheet weighing both beneficial and negative impacts.

It is not necessary to have a City Council tell us what the benefits are. The benefits are obvious. In the case of Friedman's Home Improvement, we are lucky to have a local company returning to the community of its origin. This is far superior to the original plans of the developer to burden us with a national chain.

The identified parcel also meets the needs of Friedman's, and with its business located at this site it is less likely it will encounter a competing store in Petaluma anytime soon. Those are the benefits, and they come as a result of market forces with or without any involvement of City Council members.

What also comes with this and any project are a good deal of negative impacts from the associated traffic challenges new development creates. There were simple remedies that a City Council concerned with the impacts would have insisted upon being included in this project. They were mitigations that I found the developer was agreeable to including in the project.

However, because the City Council, in its rush to judgment, failed to ask much of anything to protect our quality of life, my husband and myself were left with the burden of hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars fronted into legal fees and the potential of a lawsuit against our town to achieve the following safety measures for our community:

<•>A fully paid, lighted crosswalk at Rushmore and Rainier avenues.

<•>Replacing the 30-year-old dilapidated fence, the gateway to the Park Place neighborhood.

<•>New landscaping on McDowell Boulevard to reduce sound. The developer agreed to maintain the landscaping for five years.

<•>Protection of the old valley oak tree on the Deer Creek site.


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