Kenyon Webster, Sebastopol’s Planning Director, sent an alert to the Downtown Core Streetscape Committee today:

I am writing to let you know that work on the Downtown Core Streetscape project as well as two other Sebastopol Community Development Agency (redevelopment agency) projects is being suspended.  The two other suspended projects are the Skategarden Expansion project; and the Ives Park Renovation Master Plan project.

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A planned August 11 workshop on the Streetscape Plan has been canceled; and the July 21 advisory committee meeting is also canceled.

This is occurring due to recent actions by the State of California.  As you are likely aware, the State recently adopted major new legislation affecting local redevelopment agencies, which may affect ongoing expenditures and funding in general for these projects, not to mention determine whether agencies continue to exist or not.

Redevelopment agencies throughout the State, including ours, are in the process of evaluating the legal and financial implications of the State legislation. Agencies have until October 1 to allow dissolution or to continue existence under significantly altered financial conditions.  The legality of the State legislation will be challenged, but the timing and outcome of litigation is unknown.

This is very unfortunate for our City.  We expect to know if we are able to continue, or if the projects need to be terminated, within 90 days or less. 

This was not unexpected, but unfortunate nonetheless. The best outcome would be retention of the Redevelopment Agency and continued funding, but even in that case, funding will likely be reduced as long as the State of California is scrambling to fill the gaps.

I’ve been involved in two of the three Sebastopol projects , as well as (peripherally) another project in Monte Rio, the redevelopment of the old Monte Rio School, which would serve as the trailhead for the proposed “Monte Rio Mountain Park.” I would hate to see all of these projects die since it would likely be a long time before they could be resurrected.