Urban Chat: Civic Engagement calendar

CALENDAR NOTES – “More Details” below provides further information, including links, for all events.
Monday, December 5 – Petaluma City Council – Hearing on draft ordinance to modify on-site parking standards
Wednesday, December 7 – EKN Development – Public outreach meeting on the proposed Hotel Weaver
Tuesday, December 13 – Petaluma Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee – Hearing on the proposed Hotel Weaver
Thursday, December 15 – Petaluma General Plan Advisory Committee – Monthly meeting with agenda to be announced
Thursday, December 22 – Petaluma Urban Chat – Monthly agenda-free meeting
It’s a short holiday week without any local meetings of urbanist interest, but the December calendar is filling up.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I’ll look forward to seeing you next month.
Questions or comments?  Let me know. – Dave Alden  707-338-8388
P.S. If you wish to be removed from this email list, or have folks to add, let me know.
MORE DETAILS – All events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to participate in person or on-line.
Monday, December 5 – Petaluma City Council – Following a positive recommendation by the Planning Commission, with a few edits, the Council will conduct a hearing on a proposed ordinance to allow on-site parking to be reduced on a site-specific basis from the standard in the Implementing Zoning Ordinance.  Reductions would only be permitted upon a report by a traffic engineer that the reduced parking is justified.
The public portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30pm.   Links to the agenda and to attend and participate in the meeting will be provided when published by the City.
Wednesday, December 7 – EKN Development – EKN Development will host a public outreach meeting on their proposed Hotel Weaver at the intersection of Petaluma Boulevard South and B Street.
I’ve been told that the developer is planning a meeting time of perhaps 5:00pm to avoid conflicts with other community meetings later that evening.  A confirmed time and location will be shared when provided by the developer.
Tuesday, December 13 – Petaluma Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee – The HCPC will conduct a hearing on the conformance of the proposed Hotel Weaver with the downtown historic district.  The hotel wouldn’t be within the district but would adjoin it.
The meeting will convene at 4:00pm.  Links to the agenda and to attend and participate in the meeting will be provided when published by Planning.
Thursday, December 15 – Petaluma General Plan Advisory Committee – The General Plan Advisory Committee will convene for their monthly meeting.  The agenda hasn’t yet been announced.  There is also the possibility that the meeting will be cancelled because of the holiday season.
The meeting will convene at 6:30pm.  Links for the agenda and to attend and participate in the meeting will be provided when and if published by the Planning Department.
Thursday, December 22 – Petaluma Urban Chat – The monthly meeting of Urban Chat is almost always agenda-free, allowing an enjoyable and enlightening conversation to wander freely over the urbanist landscape.
I’d previously speculated that this meeting would be rescheduled because of the proximity to Christmas.  I was wrong.  The attendees at last week’s meeting voted to stay with the standing fourth Thursday date.
The meeting will convene at noon.  With the pandemic hopefully behind us, we’ve resumed meeting at the Aqus Café at 2nd and H Streets.

Petaluma’s reduction in water use ranks among highest in state

Water conservation efforts in Petaluma appear to be working, according to the latest data from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Water users in the city of Petaluma reduced their usage by 34.3% in June, making it the sixth greatest conserving area in the state, and No. 1 in the San Francisco Bay hydrologic area which is made up of portions of the nine-county Bay Area that drain into San Francisco Bay, according to data released by the state’s water board.

In June, water users in Petaluma used 72 gallons daily per capita, which was down from 80 gallons in June 2021 and 93 gallons in June 2020. In Sonoma County, the city of Healdsburg narrowly outpaced Petaluma in its water conservation totals, with a 34.6% reduction in June.

The highest rate of reduction from a water supplier in the state, Bella Vista Water District in Shasta County, saw a 39.6% reduction.

Petaluma water department’s environmental services analyst Chelsea Thompson said much of the reduction has stemmed from the latest water restrictions.

“I would say it’s a combination of our efforts and local leadership, also our robust outreach campaign,” Thompson said, “which has had a lot of residents come on board with conserving water and they have been really good.”

Two months after the state water board reported in March 2021 that 95% of California was experiencing drought, and that water users should prepare for impacts, the city implemented Stage 1 of its 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which encouraged voluntary water conservation.

On June 14, 2021, the state water board required Sonoma County Water Agency’s contractors, which includes Petaluma, to reduce total diversions from the Russian River by 20% to protect reservoir levels. To meet that reduction, the city implemented Stage 3 of its contingency plan that required a mandatory 25% reduction of water by those using the city’s public water system.

The city then moved to Stage 4 in September 2021, which required a mandatory 30% reduction.

Petaluma requires higher rates of water reduction than other municipalities in the county. Santa Rosa, for example, requires a mandatory 20% reduction in water use. Petaluma’s conservation measures include the allowance of irrigation only two days a week as Santa Rosa limits irrigation of landscapes daily from the hours of 8 p.m.-6 a.m.

Andrea Rodriguez, communications manager at the Sonoma County Water Agency, said the utility is appreciative of everyone doing their part and recognizes the difficulty of another year in a drought.

“I really see how our residents and cities are thinking about water in a different way,” Rodriguez said. “And making those choices to put the programs and infrastructures in place for the long-term.”

The city is also focused on its recycled water program.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced grant awardees of the North Bay Water Reuse Authority for the Title XVI Reuse Program. A collaborative effort between the city of Petaluma, Sonoma Water and the North Bay Water Reuse Authority has resulted in an estimated $6,934,655 awarded for Petaluma water projects.

This will fund three city projects, one of which is upgrades to the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility to increase its daily capacity by another 2.12 million gallons of water.

Rodriguez said the city is considering the future when planning such projects and understands the reality of living in a drought.

“Petaluma is one of the first to really develop and build up their recycling water program,” she said. “This is where the city is reinvesting back to their agriculture and making it part of the infrastructure.”

Liz Platte-Bermeo, climate resilience programs manager at Daily Acts, said the nonprofit has seen a lot of community support with conservation efforts.

“Everything is interconnected, and I think nowadays I’m seeing a lot more people really recognize that and try to make change in any way they can ― no matter how big or small,” she said.

Daily Acts works with communities to inspire and advise on transformative actions for climate resilience through educational programs and free consulting on do-it-yourself, low-cost and low-technology solutions.

“People are tuned in to our water resources. We have so many different models, gardens and opportunities for water reuse, from public sites to city sites, people are able to see what’s possible through our city and county demonstrating certain techniques,” Platte-Bermeo said. “I think with state funding and emphasis on climate emergency and crisis, people are starting to wake up to it a lot more.”

Platte-Bermeo said she has witnessed a sense of responsibility from the local community when it comes to conserving water, and following the city’s restrictions.

Water reduction efforts have included limiting outdoor watering and equipping hoses with special hose-end nozzles. Some of the latest restrictions implemented by the city’s contingency plan include a prohibition of filling new pools or spas and installation of new landscapes or replanting existing ones that require water, along with the operation of ornamental water fountains in the city.

Nonprofit Cool Petaluma is partnering with Daily Acts to further encourage sustainable solutions for the community. Cool Petaluma Campaign Director Natasha Juliana said the two organizations are working to facilitate rainwater catchment systems and gray water systems.

Gray water refers to recycled water from household use, often used for landscape irrigation. These systems offer a convenient way to collect and reuse water from bathtubs, showers, washing machines and sinks.

“The city had a water conservation table at our Cool Petaluma Expo at Lagunitas and was impressed with the 100-plus highly-engaged people they were able to talk to,” Juliana said. “We worked with the city to create a form for our Cool Petaluma participants to easily request free water-saving devices.”

Their Cool Block teams collaborate on larger water conservation projects, such as the Mulch Madness program to sheet mulch lawns.

“To date, Cool Block participants have taken 659 water-related actions and have pledged to take another 799 water-related actions,” Juliana said.

To report water waste in Petaluma, call 707-778-4507 or email conservation@cityofpetaluma.org.

Emma Molloy is an intern for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at emma.molloy@pressdemocrat.com.

District Elections – who’s running and where


For more information and to FIND YOUR DISTRICT visit : https://cityofpetaluma.org/elections/

Mayor At Large






District 1
Janice Cader Thompson

Dylan Lloyd


District 2

Bob Roskoff

David Adams

John Shribbs


District 3

John Hanania

Karen Nau

Robert Konklin




Every Thursday Petaluma steps out at 7
Passeggiata – a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening.
Just step out of your home and take a walk every Thursday at 7pm…see what happens
If everyone this at 7pm magic will happen.

Explorations in Traditional Western Herbalism

September 2022 – June 2023

Wednesday Evenings from 6:30-9pm (in-person or zoom) and 2 Sundays per Month at our field campus in West Marin/Petaluma.

Learn the ancient and modern traditions of herbal medicine. This class is open to anyone with an interest in learning the craft of herbalism to care for your health, and the health of your family, friends and community. Explorations in Traditional Western Herbalism offers students a strong foundation in herbal healthcare, basic nutrition and healthy lifestyle practices to promote and enhance well-being. This class blends the scientific with earth-based traditional wisdom, and balances classroom lecture with exciting outdoor daylong herbal adventures. No prior training, experience or pre-requisites are required.

For more information and to register:  https://gatheringthyme.com/beginning-level-courses/explorations-in-traditional-western-herbalism

Cheryl Fromholzer (she/her)

Clinical Herbalist & Herbal Educator at Gathering Thyme

Click Here to Book a Consultation

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Petaluma Creamery Cell Towers

Just a reminder: We will be having an informative and updated Zoom presentation about the Petaluma Creamery Cell Towers at 7pm tomorrow evening, Aug 5.  This will be co-sponsored with the Aqus Community.  Please read the flyer below.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/487012725 or https://www.gotomeet.me/rfemr

Access Code: 487-012-725 and then click the join button at the right

Job: HR Administrator-Generalist

Vitality Fitness Petaluma – Holiday Special through Jan. 31, 2020

Vitality Fitness Petaluma-Give the gift of Health! We Specialize in Personalized Programs for all Fitness Levels and ages.

We just received Petaluma’s Best Fitness AWARD!

Small Groups never more than 4-people in a group, Semi-Personal Training and Private Training. A Nationally Certified Trainer is with you ALWAYS.

Small Group Special $149– reg. $189-

10-Season Private Training $550- reg. $750-

Gift Certificates Available. Offers end Jan 31, 2020

442 Petaluma Blvd. N
Private parking available