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The Sonoma County Gazette Newspaper is distributed FREE in Sonoma County to mailing addresses in Forestville, Guerneville, Graton, Monte Rio, Rio Nido, Occidental & Sebastopol and on NEWSSTANDS from Healdsburg to Petaluma and Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay, including Windsor, Larkfield, the Russian River villages of Duncans Mills, Cazadero & Jenner, and the West County towns of Freestone & Valley Ford - almost 300 locations across Sonoma County.

Volume 6, Number 9   September 17 - October 15, 2009

Petaluma at a Crossroads

Petaluma at a Crossroads
Staying on track with SMART GROWTH
By Connie Madden

Petaluma City Council and Planning Commission are facing the Great Recession while decoding a fairly new General Plan and drawing up a new economic plan to see if proposed developments offer a "net positive" proscribed by both the GP and the new Fiscal and Economic Impact Assessment (FEIA) ordinance to determine whether they will help, rather than hinder, the local economy.

FEIA reports have been presented by developers for projects at two of the busiest intersections in town, East Washington at McDowell and McDowell across from Petaluma Valley Hospital. The projects must show traffic will not become a hazard for hospital patients or create a toxic level of air pollution at East Washington. An early estimate of East Washington Place project was 14,000 new car trips daily created there.

The FEIA reports, paid for by developers, offered little economic data so it is nearly impossible to determine which existing businesses would be threatened by proposed chain stores. One shocking figure did emerge. The Deer Creek FEIA stated it would bring "$84 million of revenue to the city" but further prodding by Mayor Pamela Torliatt revealed $41 million of that money was expected to be taken away from existing businesses. With most downtown stores hovering near bankruptcy, blight downtown would be nearly inevitable and the other 6 existing shopping centers would also experience blight. A quick trip to the Outlet Mall reveals nearly empty walkways and employees complain that the mall is "spooky" after 6pm.

Development hasn't screeched to a halt, though. September 8th, the Planning Commission approved North River Landing, which would increase downtown density, add needed assisted living units and retail along the Petaluma River and serve as a sort of "bookend" to a downtown defined as beginning at the Theater District. Jane Hamilton, chair of the original Central Petaluma Specific Plan (CPSP) said "I really want to see the CPSP built out... nicely... it looks like (this project) is living up to that."

Petaluma at a Crossroads »

Growing a Business with Focus on Recycling
Growing a Business
with Focus on Recycling
By Marlene Soiland

With layoffs, mandatory time off, and salary reductions dominating the news, it is great to have a positive story to share with readers! Stony Point Rock Quarry, a Sonoma County family business since 1973, is growing ... organically and sustainably.

Stony Point Rock Quarry currently operates two aggregate and top soil production facilities in Sonoma County. In Cotati, we're located at 7171 Stony Point Road, 5 minutes north of Sonoma County's Central Landfill. In Sonoma, we're located at 4202 Stage Gulch Road, adjacent to the Landfill's Sonoma Transfer station.

Purchasing Grab N' Grow
On September 1, 2009, Stony Point Rock Quarry, Inc. acquired Grab N' Grow Soil Products, Inc. For 25 years Grab N' Grow has produced healthy soil products, compost, and ground covers from their facility at 2759 Llano Road, Santa Rosa, CA.

Increasing Sustainability
"My goal is to increase the sustainable portion of our product line by increasing recyclables from 20% to 80% of total sales by 2014," stated President Mark Soiland. "The acquisition of Grab N' Grow Soil Products makes a significant move in the right direction for our business."

Growing a Business »

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