In This Issue: News & Updates | Overlook Trail Re-Opening | New Planning Director | Sonoma Art Walk Measure S | Accessory Dwelling Units | On the Agenda | Trouble viewing this email? View as Webpage
Welcome to the latest edition of "About Town," the E-Newsletter from the city of Sonoma! Read on to learn about the Sonoma Art Walk, 'Spooktacular' Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Fire's annual Open House & Pancake Breakfast, our New Planning & Community Services Director, the re-opening of the Sonoma Overlook Trail , sign up to be an Emergency Volunteer , take the housing survey and much more.

Photo of 'LOVE' sculpture by Laura Kimpton and  Jeff Schomberg. The piece is part of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art exhibit "From Fire: Love Rises" and is on display until January 2019. Learn More .
Lower trail to remain closed through winter
The Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards (Stewards) and the city of Sonoma are pleased to announce that the Upper portion of the  Sonoma Overlook Trail Rehabilitation and Reroute Project   (Project) is complete and the Upper Meadow Loop trail will re-open to the public Saturday, October 20, 2018.  

The Upper Meadow Loop that leads to the scenic overlook will be accessible from the Toyon Trail entrance in the Mountain Cemetery and through the Montini Open Space Preserve. Download a map

The Lower portion of the Sonoma Overlook Trail from the kiosk to the Montini trail junction, will remain closed through the winter or until soil-moisture increases and the new trail bed achieves final compaction. This “curing” period will prevent the new trail sections from premature damage.  

For more information about the rehabilitation project and updates on progress including photos of construction efforts, please visit the City's project page  or .
 Transient Occupancy Tax Increase
The Sonoma City Council unanimously approved placing a measure on the November 2018 ballot to increase the City’s transient occupancy tax (also known as the TOT or hotel tax). This tax is paid on stays of 30 days or less at hotels, inns, and other lodging properties and is applied to the customer’s lodging bill.

TOT revenue is deposited into the General Fund and pays for essential City services that benefit both residents and visitors. These include police protection, fire and paramedic services, emergency preparedness, maintenance of streets and parks, recreation services, maintenance and improvement of City facilities, and other general municipal services to the public.

Measure S  would increase the TOT rate from the existing 10% to 12% effective January 1, 2019 and would authorize the City Council to further increase the rate to 13% within the next five years (by January 1, 2024). As a general tax, Measure S requires approval by a simple majority of voters in order to pass.

Learn more about  Measure S on the City’s website .
 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM, The Al Mazza Fire Station
Join the Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority for their annual pancake breakfast fundraiser. $5 donation suggested.

Activities Include:
>Learn and Experience Fire Safety and Operate a Fire Hose;
>Learn Hands Only CPR;
>PG&E - Gas & Electric Safety Vision Screening;
>Fire Engine Rides;
>Face Painting, Balloons & Jumpy Houses, Various Informational Booths;
>And Meet Your Local Firefighters!!!

Sunday, October 21, 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM at The Al Mazza Fire Station, 630 Second Street West. For additional information call 707-996-2102 or visit
 Families with kids 10 years old or younger invited to trick-or-treat around the historic Sonoma Plaza
It's a Spooktacular Sonoma - Halloween around the Sonoma Plaza from 2pm to 5pm. The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau invites neighbors with kids age 10 years or younger to come trick-or-treat around the historic Sonoma Plaza.

How to be Spooktacular:
1) Dress up in a fun costume
2) Come down to the historic Sonoma Plaza and check into the Visitors Center (453 First Street)
3) Say trick or treat! And, get a map of participating businesses
4) Walk to participating businesses along the plaza, including bakeries, shops and more
5) Have fun!

Visit the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau website for list of participating locations.
A monthly, community-wide celebration of Sonoma's vibrant business community and outstanding local artists.
Every First Thursday of the Month. September - December, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Enjoy music, art, poetry and dance while supporting your local businesses. 

The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, with the City as a co-sponsor, has launched a Sonoma Art Walk , a collaboration between the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma Arts Guild, Creative Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau and Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance. This series of events is designed to showcase local artists alongside local Sonoma businesses one night a month starting in September and running through December. Each participating business is partnered with a different local artist each month.

See a map of participating businesses and artists, find out how you can participate and learn more about the Sonoma Art Walk on their website .
Emergency Volunteer Application now available online
The  Sonoma Community Center  (Center) has been designated as the Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC) as part of the City of  Sonoma’s Emergency Plan. During the wildfires of October 2017, the EVC was mobilized. The Center’s staff and volunteers manually registered 556 volunteers, assigning 367 to support emergency operations, primarily at the Evacuation Centers. 

With a grant from Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the Center is kicking off an initiative to build a cadre of community volunteers who have been registered and screened for activation during the next community emergency.

Prospective volunteers can register online .  Once enrolled, volunteers will receive periodic communications to validate the volunteer’s status, continued interest in being an emergency volunteer and update the inventory of skills or equipment available. Volunteers will receive invitations to attend specialized emergency training to be provided by public safety, Red Cross and the utility companies.

More information is available online at , by calling (707) 938-4626 x1, or by visiting the  Center’s main office  Monday through Friday from 10:00AM – 4:00PM at 276 East Napa Street, in Sonoma.
Register to participate by November 13, 2018
The  Earthquake Brace + Bolt program was created by the California Residential Mitigation Program (“CRMP”). Earthquake Brace + Bolt offers up to $3,000 reimbursement to selected homeowners to seismically retrofit their qualified homes. Generally, the program applies to homes:

  • Constructed before 1979; and
  • Constructed of wood-framed floors (the garage may have a slab on grade); and
  • Built with steps up to the first floor; and
  • Constructed with a crawl space under the first floor that is less than full height (full height is typically 8'-0"); and
  • Not previously retrofitted.

To be an eligible program registrant, interested Sonoma homeowners need to  register for the program by November 13, 2018. Once registration is closed, a random drawing will be held by CRMP to select registrants to participate in the program. For more information and to register, visit the Earthquake Brace + Bold website at .
City Announces Hiring of David Storer as New Planning...

Sonoma City Manager Cathy Capriola is pleased to announce that David A. Storer, AICP will be the new Planning and Community Services Director for the City of Sonoma. He will start on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Mr. Storer comes to Sonoma with over...

Read more
Small living units that share a lot with single family homes come in many forms and have many names— secondary units, granny flats, in-law units, or (as they are termed by the State of California) accessory dwelling units or ADUs. In the past, these units were often built as separate living quarters for relatives. Today, they can provide affordable rental housing for tenants, increasing the community’s housing stock while maintaining the character of residential neighborhoods. They can also be residences for older adults who want to downsize but stay in their neighborhoods. 

In accordance with State law designed to facilitate construction of new ADUs, the city of Sonoma updated its regulations for these units in April of 2017. To further encourage their construction in the housing crunch exacerbated by the October 2017 fires, the City Council authorized a program to reimburse the building fees associated with constructing an ADU. Learn more about what it takes to build an  ADU in Sonoma , and contact the Planning Department by calling 707-938-8775 or email if you’d like to know more.
Rebuild North Bay Foundation is seeking your input
We need housing. The question then is “What kinds of housing?” Our solutions  might  be as diverse as our workforce. More information is needed as to what workforce wants and needs according to age, income, sector, etc. Whatever we do now will affect our housing stock for decades to come. 
The survey will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and will be open through the end of September. Take the survey online in  ENGLISH or  SPANISH.
>SAVE-THE-DATE! November 17, 2018, The Lighting of the Sonoma Plaza 5 PM - 8 PM - The kick-off to the popular Holidays in Sonoma. Join thousands of residents and visitors as we fill the historic Sonoma Plaza with the bright glow of a quarter-million lights. The evening will include music, performances, food trucks and the chance to visit the holiday displays around the 8-acre Sonoma Plaza. See more information .

> Fiscal Year 2018/2019 Budget Available Online - See the Current Adopted Budget - Fiscal Year 2018/2019  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 , and  Part 4 . To see past adopted budgets, comprehensive annual reports (CAFR) and audits, visit our  Financial Documents  page.

> New Water Rates Effective September 1, 2018 - At the  August 20, 2018 meeting, the City Council and the city of Sonoma adopted new water rates. Per the adopted resolution, new water rates became effective on September 1, 2018. Such rates will be reflected in the upcoming billing cycle, which covers September 4, 2018 – October 1, 2018. See more information about  Water Rates , the  2018 Water Rate Study .

> October 18th Planning Commission Meeting CANCELLED - The October 18, 2018 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled. The Hotel Sonoma Project, located at 153 West Napa Street and 541 First Street West, was scheduled to be heard to consider the revised draft Environmental Impact Report and entitlements. However, at this time, the City’s environmental consultant needs additional time to complete the draft revised EIR and responses. The project will be re-noticed when documents are ready. See the City’s  Hotel Sonoma Project page for more information.

> Sonoma Named Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community - On May 31, 2018, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the City of Sonoma with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, joining 450 visionary communities from across the country. Learn more .

>2017 Water Quality Report - The 2017 Water Quality Repot is now available.  View the report online  or pick up a pamphlet at  Sonoma City Hall, No.1 Sonoma Plaza, Open Monday–Friday, 8am – 5pm, closed noon–1pm.

For the latest news and updates, please visit our News page .
Visit our new meetings portal, CivicWeb , to easily find the calendar and agendas for all upcoming City Council and Commission meetings, locate and review the relevant staff reports, and view televised meetings (live or later). You can also search the City's Municipal Code, learn more about our City Council members and how to contact them, and subscribe to the agendas for meetings that interest you . It's a great way to get engaged with your city government, and we've integrated it with our new City website .

10/22 - Special Joint Meeting of the City Council and the Community Services & Environment Commission ( see agenda )
10/22 - City Council ( see agenda )
10/30 - Special Planning Commission
11/5 - City Council
11/18 - Design Review & Historic Preservation Commission 
11/19 - City Council

For more information and details on the meetings listed above, please visit CivicWeb directly or via the homepage link at s
The greater the involvement of our citizens, the stronger our community will be. Here are some of the ways you can stay connected with the City of Sonoma!