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  SEPTIC DESIGN FLOW ZOMBIE RESORT IN GUERNEWOOD  
  RACCOON WORMS!
  FEEDING WILDLIFE & FERAL CATS    
  IVY - AN IDEAL HABITAT FOR RATS
 
  FRENCH BROOM - INVASIVE FIRE FUEL!    
  LITTER  
  RUSSIAN RIVER TSUNAMI MAP    
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VACATION RENTAL ORDINANCE

Illegal on-site parking

10/25/23
Vacation Rental Program Updates for District 5 w/ Permit Sonoma
GUERNEVILLE PUBLIC MEETING

SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. Does the Permit Sonoma now consider the previously automatic +6 additional daytime occupancy allowances when figuring required on-site parking and septic capacity?

YES. Plus 6 daytime visitors are no longer allowed. This is a huge step in the right direction. I'm not sure if there is a loophole exemption for previous permit holders. I'll try to get an answer to this.

2. Will the Permit Sonoma reduce occupancy allowances on previously permitted vacation rentals where there is clearly no legal parking and evidence that on-site parking was "misrepresented"?

YES. But it's up to neighbors to file complaints to enforce this emergency vehicle and evacuation road access. Photos and road/supposed on-site parking area measurements should be included. Per Sonoma County Parking Restrictions, it's illegal to parking" In any way that obstructs the roadway If on a narrow street" or "within within 6 feet of the street's center".

At some point, the Planning Commission gave specific measures for the recommended size of the parking spaces but I can't find that document.

3. What are the consequences of a Vacation Rental (VR) not paying the yearly Inspection Fees? Are property managers contacted when fees haven't been paid so they can suspend the listing? *See link below.

There are no consequences for all of the previous past overdue inspection fees, however, they are aware of this massive oversight and plan to correct it when they start requiring yearly business licenses for previously permitted VR by June 15, 2024.

I was told that they wouldn't be able to get a business license until all past due fees are paid up. It remains to be seen how long they will let people slide or how effectively they will be with follow up when fees aren't paid. Hopeful they will announce a reasonable time limit and come up with clear consequences going forward.

There are also Hosted Rentals that have up to 5 years of unpaid inspection fees and since they are exempt from having a VR license it’s doubtful that this will be dealt with.

4. Once a VR has moved up on a waiting list how long do they have to be in full compliance? Not having a time limit encourages property owners to get on the waiting list "just in case". *See link below.

At this point they don't have a time limit but hopefully this will be addressed since they understand why this is problematic.

5. If Vacation Rentals are no longer allowed in R1 areas why aren't these locations on the map at the Permit Sonoma website?

I didn't have time to ask about this but I think it's because over the next year, starting this December? they plan on looking into targeted approvals for some R1 zoned areas such as properties along the river. I DID give a hardcopy of this list of questions to Lynda Hopkins and Doug Bush of the PRMD.

Cesspool capacity STILL isn't being calculated, or properly verified, by tank size, PER-PERSON. It doesn't make sense to only consider the vague 2 persons per bedroom as well as to not consider the automatic plus 2 occupants allowance. Other municipalities around the county define the per bedroom septic capacity formula to be two people for the master bedroom and only one person per additional bedroom. See the reasonable guidelines here for septic capacity.

Because the issue of targeted exemptions for approval of some areas in the currently not allowed R1 areas is being opened for public feedback, (areas at the edge of the river were mentioned) it might be a sensible to reopen the MAC VR committee as there still seems that there is work to be done.


Of concern is the inadequate/vague formula for calculating cesspool/septic daily load capacity which appears to have been overlooked.

* Click HERE for an Excel spreadsheet (106kb) showing VRs with outstanding fees owed or were moved forward with a permit from a moratorium waiting list but took a really long time to become fully compliant.

The above spreadsheet data is currently sorted by date from 2011 - mid July 2023 and only covers Monte Rio and Guerneville. The above spreadsheet data is currently sorted by date from 2011 - mid July 2023 and only covers Monte Rio and Guerneville. (Outstanding invoiced overdue fees for these 2 areas: $137,436 with an additional $77,600 of possible unbilled fees)

Data for outstanding yearly overdue invoiced fees on Hosted Rentals were not included.

To check if inspection fees have since been paid search the permit number go to Accela Citizen Access Hopefully, Permit Sonoma will come up with a comprehensive and transparent permit details search specifically for Vacation Rentals.

Hopefully, Permit Sonoma will come up with a comprehensive and transparent permit details search specifically for Vacation Rentals.

I would like to add that the work that Lynda Hopkins has put, and continues to put, into this massive undertaking is greatly appreciated!

____________________________________________

04/24/23 The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to make improvements to public safety and enforcement to the Vacation Rental Ordinance. Details and documents from this meeting can be found HERE.

Background: "While Article 79 considers road access, on-street parking, evacuation access, and wildfire hazards, the current rezoning is focused on areas where the percentage of existing homes being used as Vacation Rentals is detrimental to preserving neighborhood character, but also considered road access, fire hazard, and evacuation routes."

Planning Commission Recommendations - 5th Supervisorial District:

Guerneville, Rio Nido, and Vacation Beach were have been considered for exclusion zones, but residential development in these areas is within zoning districts that do not allow Vacation Rentals, so they were not included in the recommended rezoning.

Area-specific rezoning within the 5th Supervisorial District is recommended by the Planning Commission as follows:

Austin Creek This area between HWY 116 and Cazadero has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Armstrong Woods This area north of Guerneville has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals. Additionally, a significant percentage of parcels are zoned R1, creating potential for over concentration the remaining parcels.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental Exclusion (X) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and prevent local over concentration by excluding Vacation Rentals.

Drake Road This area south of Guerneville has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals. Additionally, a significant percentage of parcels are zoned R1, creating potential for over concentration in other parcels
Recommendation: Vacation Rental Exclusion (X) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and prevent local over concentration by excluding Vacation Rentals.

Guernewood Park/Monte Rosa This area between Guerneville and Monte Rio has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals. Additionally, a significant percentage of parcels are zoned R1, creating potential for over concentration in other parcels
Recommendation: Vacation Rental Exclusion (X) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and prevent local over concentration by excluding Vacation Rentals.

Hacienda This area in Forestville has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Monte Rio Monte Rio has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Neeley Road This area on the south side of the Russian River has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals. Additionally, a significant percentage of parcels are zoned R1, creating potential for over concentration in other parcels
Recommendation: Vacation Rental Exclusion (X) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Northwood Northwood has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Rio Dell This area in Forestville has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Summerhome Park This area in Forestville has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration.

Terraces / Villa Grande This area down river from Monte Rio has limited evacuation routes, it prone to flooding and landslides, and has a relatively high concentration of Vacation Rentals.
Recommendation: Vacation Rental 5% Cap (X5) Combining District to reduce public safety risk and Combining District to preserve residential character by reducing Vacation Rental concentration. 

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  SEPTIC DAILY DESIGN FLOW GUIDELINES

Your septic system was designed and sized to support a certain number of people based on the number of bedrooms in your home. Typically, your septic tank size is based on 1.5 people per bedroom. So a 4 bedroom house will accommodate 6 people.

The Sonoma County PRMD bases the overnight occupancy rates for Vacation Rental Permits on 2 people per bedroom plus 2. According to the PRMD, a 4 bedroom house will accommodate 10 people who use the hot tubs, spas and showers on these premises. These numbers are not being used to calculate the capacity of on-site septics that are frequently no more than cesspools lacking leach fields.

The source of the information provided in the below tables is the Arizona Department of Enviro
nmental Quality website.
   
 
No. of Occupants
(75 gallons per person)
Fixture
Count
Minimum Tank Size
(gallons)
System Daily Design Flow
(gallons per day)
4
up to 21
1000
450
6
21-28
1250
600
8
up to 28
1250
600
8
28-35
1500
750
10
up to 35
1500
750
10
35-41
2000
900
12
up to 41
2000
900
12
41-45
2000
1050
14
up to 45
2000
1050
14
45-?
2500
1200
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RACCOON WORMS

raccoon worms
Baylisascaris procyonis roundworm in the eye of a child

Please don't feed raccoons!

Adding unnatural food resources, intentionally or not, encourages over population of their natural habitat and increases the infection risk of Baylisascaris procyonis roundworms to people and their pets. An informational flier is available here as an 111k pdf file.

When microscopic larvae are accidentally ingested or inhaled they can migrate to the eyes and brain and cause blindness, migraines, neurological disorders and death. Raccoons have a symbiotic relationship with the parasite and seem to suffer no ill effects as their host.

Throwing food scraps into the woods is not composting nor is it ecologically sound! If you are using a composting system be sure to maintain it regularly and secure it so you don't attract and breed vermin.

Avoid direct contact with raccoons – especially their feces. Do not keep, feed, or adopt raccoons as pets! Raccoons are wild animals.

Discourage raccoons from living in and around your home or parks by:
• preventing access to food
• closing off access to attics and basements
• keeping sand boxes covered at all times, (becomes a latrine)
• removing fish ponds – they eat the fish and drink the water
• eliminating all water sources
• removing bird feeders
• keeping trash containers tightly closed
• clearing brush so raccoons are not likely to make a den on your property

Stay away from areas and materials that might be contaminated by raccoon feces. Raccoons typically defecate at the base of or in raised forks of trees, or on raised horizontal surfaces such as fallen logs, stumps, or large rocks. Raccoon feces also can be found on woodpiles, decks, rooftops, and in attics, garages, and haylofts. Feces usually are dark and tubular, have a pungent odor (usually worse than dog or cat feces), and often contain undigested seeds or other food items.

To eliminate eggs, raccoon feces and material contaminated with raccoon feces should be removed carefully and burned, buried, or sent to a landfill. Care should be taken to avoid contaminating hands and clothes.

Treat decks, patios, and other surfaces with boiling water or a propane flame-gun. (Exercise proper precautions!) Newly deposited eggs take at least 2-4 weeks to become infective. Prompt removal and destruction of raccoon feces will reduce risk for exposure and possible infection.

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FEEDING WILDLIFE (& FERAL CATS)

Beware of those who indiscriminately "love" animals and want to befriend wildlife. (I refer to this as "Loving Them to Death" or suffering from" Savior Syndrome") It's far better to respect and protect them and their natural ways from harm by not feeding them. Feeding California wildlife is illegal and considered HARASSMENT:

§251.1. Harassment of Animals. Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or non-game bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.

There are very good reasons for this protection law: Feeding wildlife, either directly or indirectly, can be a death sentence for wild animals that become reliant on unnatural food sources and become habituated to the presence of humans.

Decreasing their natural distrust of humans can make them more aggressive to people. Perhaps not to you, but to your neighbors and their children.

Feeding can cause unnatural, and often massive overpopulation problems. Eventually, unnaturally high populations of wildlife are unable to sustain their numbers, even with someone feeding them, and illnesses (some of which may be transmissible to humans) are nature’s answer.

Overpopulation can cause animals to find new places in which to live. It may be your neighbor's attic, crawl space, or under their homes, leading them to resort to lethal measures to protect their homes and selves.

Increases in populations of prey species (which includes feral cat colonies and rats), draws in predators such as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions.

Allowing wildlife to access food scented garbage can cause unintentional consumption of plastic wrap and even risking getting their heads stuck in jars.

Take care and be gentle when attempting to educate fervent Animal Lovers: They can become irrationally defensive and hostile!

One Red Flag is the language they use; "My" (friends, raccoons, ferals, etc) or "Our" (friends, raccoons, ferals, etc), implying possession or ownership. They can also be prone to referring to themselves as "experienced experts".

Video Found on Facebook:

Photos Found on Facebook, with these captions:Feeding skunks in Monte RIo
"Our 5th Generation of These ADORABLE Little Ones!
Yes, We Take Care of the Wildlife that Come to Our Stairs!"

Feeding Raccoons in Monte Ro
"Some people think heaven is in the sky
For our raccoons heaven isn't that high" 

Embracing ignorance on Nextdoor:
Embracing ignorance

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  IVY - ALIEN INVASIVE SPECIES: KILLING OUR REDWOODS!

ivy in bloom
English ivy blooming and will soon produce berries that spread this tenacious and destructive species.

Please remove all ivy blossoms/berries from your property. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Organizing work parties are a great way to foster community spirit!

Monte Rio Main St before
Ivy on Main St, from the Dutch Bill Creek Bridge to the Pink which was removed by a local resident.
Mouse over image for 'before' photo.


Monte Rio Main St after
Devouring the sidewalk!
Mouse over image for 'before' photo.

fence, before and after
Another bonus: The old cyclone fence, once exposed, was determined to be unsafe and the county replaced it with a new and more attractive one! Mouse over image for 'before' photo.

Emergency intervention is needed NOW!

English ivy is not native to the United States and has no natural predators or pests to keep it in check. It easily escapes from planting areas and invades natural areas, parks and urban forests. It creates "Ivy Deserts" - areas so dominated by ivy that no other vegetation survives.

Ivy as ground cover crowds out native flora AND fauna. Despite popular belief, ivy is NOT a good ground cover for erosion control due to its shallow root system and suppression of other plants. When it crowds out native plants on stream banks, it degrades water quality.

Remove ivy from redwoods and other trees, it smothers and kills them. Ivy adding weight to limbs and reducing air flow around the tree's trunk, makes a tree more susceptible to canopy failure, wind stress and disease. It can also strangle trees around their base and reduce the flow of nutrients up and down the tree. Keep a 6 foot ring around trees Ivy Free.

Remove ivy from building structures, it undermines structural integrity, contributes to wood rot and mold.

English ivy does not provide a significant food or habitat for native wildlife, but does provide habitat for RATS.

When using ivy as part of your landscape it's easier to manage and control when rooted in pots. Ivy not in pots needs close, regular inspection to make sure it doesn't spread and get out of control. Since mature ivy blooms in the fall and has purple black berries in the winter (when it's further spread by birds) you may not even be around to know just how widely ivy on your property is contributing to to the destruction of our delicate coastal redwood habitat. If you are not a full time resident that is willing to keep an eye on ivy being cultivated on your property PLEASE REMOVE IT! You will be amazed by the quick recovery of native species if you do so.

Darrell Sukovitzen, The Tree Climber, has written an excellent pamphlet on Redwood Care.
Click here to view it.

Ivy Removal Methods

Girdle - The most basic technique to stop tree-climbing ivy dead in its tracks.

Once you have located a tree infested with ivy, use either loppers or a pruning saw to cut through each vine clinging to the tree trunk at shoulder height and at ankle height. This severs the connection between the life sustaining roots and the rest of the ivy. Be sure to cut ALL vines as even one can continue to nourish ivy higher up the tree. Strip the Ivy away from the tree between the two cuts - some vines can be so big that you need to pry them away from the tree - just be careful not to damage the bark. Recheck the 'girdled' area for any thin vines which may have grown under the tree's bark and you're finished but after all that work, you don't want to give Ivy a head start by leaving it to grow next to the base of the tree...

Full Lifesaver - After girdling a tree work to clear the surrounding area of ivy.

Imagine a 6-foot radius circle around the tree you have girdled; begin by peeling back the ivy mat 6 feet from the tree and thoroughly pull every vine and root from the circle. You may also find it helpful to cut "slices" in the ivy mat within your imaginary circle and rip out ivy like a piece of pie. If you are working on a slope, pull downhill and let gravity work with you.

Research has shown the once ivy has been pulled more than 6 feet away from a tree it will continue to grow away from the tree rather than towards it again in most cases. Our field tests have shown that a good 6+ foot Lifesaver will slow the re-infestation of a tree for over 5 years! The keys to an effective Lifesaver are consistency and patience; all vines and roots must be removed.

Log Roll - This method is most effective in areas with a serious ivy problem, and when used properly can be quite efficient and gratifying.

Begin by designating the area to be log rolled (a hillside or group of infested trees). Mark the top perimeter by cutting a line in the ivy mat, be sure to get every vine! If you are on a slope, cut horizontally across the slope to allow the ivy mat to be pulled downhill. Start to lift the mat and pull the cut edge of the vines downhill, rolling the ivy mat over itself. Let gravity do most of the work but also be aware of your surroundings unless you regularly perform backwards somersaults. Scan for native plants that may make rolling difficult and cut a line in the ivy perpendicular to your pulling edge so that the vine mat can be pulled around; this saves native plants that might otherwise have been uprooted by the thick mat and makes the log roll much more manageable.

If you find yourself with a stuck roll proceed to divide the log into several pieces and slice out the remaining perimeter.

Disposal - Treat the ivy cuttings as yard waste. Compost the remains only when dry and dead. Don't leave clippings or piles where they may re sprout! When dried, the clippings will break down, but beware of seeds.

English Ivy Fact Sheet - pdf flyer with more on removal from the Nat'l Parks Service.

 
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FRENCH BROOM - Highly Invasive Fire Fuel

French Broom
Pulling French Broom is fun, easy, and educational for children! Small brooms have very shallow tap roots.

These highly competitive shrubs grow rapidly and form dense stands that both people and wildlife find impenetrable. Their dense stems make regeneration of most other plant species difficult or impossible, and they create a dangerous fire hazard. In addition, as legumes, brooms can fix atmospheric nitrogen, increasing soil fertility and giving a competitive advantage to other non-native weeds that, unlike the local natives, thrive on high nitrogen levels.

The pods ripen during the dry summer months, then explosively eject their seeds several feet away, making a popping noise audible for some distance. All brooms are prolific seed producers, with a single shrub producing as many as 2,000 to 3,500 pods containing up to 20,000 seeds.

The seeds have an impervious seed coat, enabling some seeds to remain dormant in the soil for decades and making long-term management difficult. 

Brooms were introduced into North America from Europe and North Africa in the mid-1800s. Brooms can be found growing along roadsides, forestlands, coastlines, riparian areas, brushlands, and disturbed areas.

MANAGEMENT - The two primary methods for managing brooms are mechanical removal and treatment with herbicides (weed killers). Broom establishment is through seed dispersal, so maintaining a healthy cover of desirable vegetation and reducing soil disturbance may reduce the potential for broom invasion. Ongoing monitoring for new seedlings is crucial for successful management.

Mechanical Control - Small infestations can be removed by hand-pulling or mechanical grubbing. A variety of tools can aid in removal, including shovels or picks, chains, or specialized tools such as the Brush Grubber or The Uprooter. It is easiest to remove plants in early spring or late fall when the soil is moist and roots can be dislodged. Grubbing when the soil is dry and hard usually will break off the stems, leaving rootstalks that may resprout.

Mowing broom plants gives poor control unless performed repeatedly throughout the growing season. Within a couple months of germination, young plants usually have produced underground rootstocks large enough to recover from a single mowing. Use extreme caution when mowing during spring and summer because of the potential for wildfires. Mowing later in the season also can spread seeds.

Lopping mature plants near the base will provide some control if done when plants are moisture-stressed in late summer, or in late spring following a winter with little rainfall. Lopping at other times can lead to vigorous resprouting.

Under most conditions in California, brush rakes and bulldozers that leave pieces of rootstocks behind do not provide successful control. In some cases, brush removal in late summer, when plants experience moisture stress, can slow their ability to recover. However, using large equipment to clear land may also promote seedling establishment, making follow-up control essential.  


More information about French Broom at the California Invasive Plant Council website.

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LITTER

Small gestures can have a huge impact!

Unfortunately, one small bit of litter seems to create a domino effect: Litter is a magnet for more litter.

The following is a list of simple things you can do to make a difference in our community:


1. Go for a walk and bring a bag for any garbage you find.

2. Check for litter on and near your property.

3. Chose a length of road or block and "adopt" it.

4. Gather garbage from the beach after a storm.

5. Have a dog? Please pick up your dog poop! This isn't just a city issue!

6. Smokers: Carry a pocket ashtray. Altoid tins work great for this. Give extra tins to smoking friends.

7. Organize a street clean up party: This helps to create public awareness and educates our children! Street cleaning parties can be listed on the Monte Rio Central events calendar!

8. Prevent raccoons from raiding your garbage cans: Keep all food scraps and food soiled paper frozen or refrigerated and put in your can no sooner than the night before collection. Rinse containers of food before recycling. Spray your can with a strong solution of vinegar & water as a deterrent. Secure the lid with a bungee cord or heavy weight. Clean up your can area the same day as garbage collection.

9. Throwing food scraps into the woods is not composting nor is it ecologically sound! If you are using a composting system be sure to maintain it regularly and secure it so you don't attract and breed vermin.

10. Make this a golden rule: Try to leave every place cleaner than you find it.

   
   
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RUSSIAN RIVER TSUNAMI HAZARD MAP - UPDATED!

Russian River tsunami hazard

Locate where you live, work, or visit. If you are in a yellow hazard area after feeling an earthquake that lasts a long time, or you receive an official evacuation notification, evacuate by foot immediately to a green area.

Click HERE to check your area.

 
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FIRE SAFETY IN WEST COUNTY

Vegetation Management/Abatement Deadline June 1st, 2023!

The Sonoma County Fire District wants to remind you of the importance of vegetation management on your properties… ALL required vegetation management MUST be completed by June 1st! Owners of properties not in compliance with county and/or state regulations by June 1st can be subject to inspection fees and enforcement costs by the Fire District & the County of Sonoma. This will be strongly enforced for non-compliant properties for the safety of the community at large.

Useful information and complaint form HERE

 
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  ZOMBIE RESORT IN GUERNEWOOD

October 2023 Update: It's NOT too late! Two more opportunities to to express your opinions on the negative impacts a project of the size will bring to our public and environmental safety and infrastructure.

Click HERE for details.
 
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RIO THEATER

Nov 19, 2023 What's Up Article(6MB pdf) from the Press Democrat via Sonoma County Library.

 
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