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Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

On Responsible Planning and Growth

By Cindy Thomas

Candidate for Member, City Council; City of Petaluma

This information is provided by the candidate
Petaluma has insufficient parks and playing fields. This is a planning issue. Future development projects should include sizeable parks which would help to compensate for the shortage of existing park acreage and with full public participation in the planning process. Our city should also continue to seek solutions for removing the barriers that prevent access to Lafferty Park such as access from the east side of the mountain.

Good progress is being made on updating the city's General Plan. The plan deserves a lot of careful thought, planning and community input to insure Petaluma with a good future. In order to prevent sprawl, I do not support expansion of the current urban growth boundary. The community needs to stay very focused on sustainability, traffic, land use, parks and water. I'm pleased that public workshops are being regularly scheduled and am hopeful that future workshops will be better attended by the public.

Future water needs will need to be addressed by way of protecting our current waterways, by public education and by citizen action. The Sonoma Water Agency estimates that without further expansion, their current delivery system will reach maximum capacity in seven to eight years. In light of the potential for water shortages, we need to think very seriously about restricting our new growth, requiring new building to be water conserving, including low flush toilets and drought tolerant landscaping and conservation measures.

As I've already mentioned, I'm a supporter of maintaining our current urban growth boundary and the preventing of sprawl. I also support high-density infill development. High-density and mixed-use development located in the core of Petaluma offers more affordable living opportunities for lower income families and our single income households. It also gives those who work downtown the opportunity to live within walking distance of their jobs while reducing the number of cars on our streets. Additionally, there are bus services for downtown residents who might bus to their jobs in Marin and San Francisco.

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