An Invitation to a


When: Thursday, March 9th, 2000 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Guerneville Veterans' Auditorium on First Street
Subject: The Proposed 30-year Russian River Redevelopment Plan
Sponsor: Russian River Community Forum

In 1998 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors authorized a $300,000 Community Redevelopment Agency study which resulted in creation of the Plan for a Russian River Redevelopment Project. That Plan legislative process is nearing completion and its adoption is expected to take place in May or June of this year. There is almost unanimous agreement among knowledgeable parties that the Plan result, if it is adopted, will have significant impact upon both the infrastructure and inhabitants of the Russian River area.

Throughout the latter half of 1999 and continuing into the present, as details of the Redevelopment Plan began to unfold, a number of residents within the Russian River community realized there is cause for concern. There are no Federal fund subsidies involved here and the Plan's entire 35 million-dollar price tag will come off the top of the local property tax base. Its scope quite clearly affords "substantial" benefits to the local business and tourism-based establishments. The effort in designing the Plan has proceeded without significant residential community representation and with little publicity. A draft Environmental Impact Report candidly states the Plan will foster significant increases in population growth, number of lodging rooms, retail business square footage space, number of residential units and jobs, additional traffic congestion together with grid-lock, and vehicle-access infrastructure improvements. When one realizes the magnitude of change the Plan will facilitate and that the stated purpose of Redevelopment is urbanization, it raises questions the community needs to address in terms of an identity and possible affects upon perceived quality of life issues. The Plan and all its impacts needs examination in an open forum in which residents have an opportunity to learn what it represents and the role its impacts will play in the life of the community over the next 30 to 45 years.

In January of this year a group of thirty area residents concerned over the number of questionable issues associated with the Redevelopment Plan, joined together in a common group, which they named the Russian River Community Forum. The group's purposes are to closely monitor the hearing and legislative processes supporting the Redevelopment Project and Plan; and to sponsor one or more community Town Hall Meetings designed to publicize the Plan and it's many projected impacts; and to explore the option of gathering petition signatures to force the Plan's placement on a ballot so affected residents will have an opportunity to vote for or against it.

We invite your participation in the upcoming Russian River Town Hall Meeting. The meeting is expected to last for a couple of hours. There will be a panel of four speakers followed by a period of time for Questions and Answers from the floor. Information tables will be open throughout the evening for the gathering of signatures on related petitions and for additional answers to questions. Please share this invitation with anyone whom you believe would benefit from learning more about the Russian River Redevelopment Project and Plan.

Bond Shands

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