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Board of Supervisors Department

Mark West Citizens Advisory Council

Approved Minutes October 12 2020

  1. CALL TO ORDER:Chairman Molsberry called to order, the regular meeting of Mark West Citizens Advisory Council 6:00 pm.
    1. Roll Call: Councilmembers present: Brian Molsberry, Roni Berg, Pete Lescure, Brad Sherwood, Tim Preston
    2. Approval of Minutes:
      2.1. On a motion by Council Vice Chair Berg, second by Councilmember Sherwood, the minutes of the regular MWCAC meeting, September 2020, were approved. The motion carried on a voice vote. (4-0) Councilmember Preston was not present.
      2.2. On a motion by Council Vice Chair Berg, seconded by Councilmember Preston, the minutes of the regular MWCAC meeting, August 10, 2020 were approved. The motion carried on a voice vote. (4-0) Councilmember Lescure was not present.
    1. Update: Utilities: See H. 1. Scott Salyer, Sonoma Clean Power
    2. Update: Wikiup Commons:
      2.1 For a copy of the powerpoint presentation on the Permit Sonoma (PRMD) process, by County Planner Katrina Braehmer; email a request to the gmail account.
      2.2 Mike Landon, Wikiup: Great presentation and glad to be able to get the link. The ponds in the old golf course are woking pretty well. Wild life is there. Thank you to Tony and the Jackson family.
    3. Update: Sonoma County General Plan for Mark West Area: Councilmember Lescure, pulled together three contacts, Else Sullivan and Rick Hall and David Hansen, former director of Open Space District.
    1. Update: Community Alert Sign: The Council presented a resolution to Carl Frazee, who lost his home in the Tubbs fire. As part of becoming an Eagle Scout, he created the wild fire preparedness sign for Larkfield. He was resilient in getting it done. It is on the corner of Mark West Springs Road and Old Redwood Highway. Write to the gmail account, to request a copy.

      Councilmember Sherwood heard Carl’s comments to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) regarding the PGE funds. He would like to start a campaign called “Keep Carl Home.” This community needs to be diligent in getting the area fire safe and prepared as possible; so that the next generation will not live with the fear of being burned out.
    2. Update: Speed limits on MWSR and ORH: None
    3. Update: “Hawk” light in front of Larkfield Shopping Center: Still waiting on right-of-way issues. Jen Mendoza is trying to help expedite it.
    4. Update: List of unmet needs projects for Larkfield/Mark West/Wikiup: The BOS met to discuss the PG&E funding. They committed a minimum of $25 million for vegetation management.

      The Council should help the BOS to ensure that the high risk areas of Mark West, Wikiup and Larkfield are included in fire prevention.They are unincorporated county areas, with no centralized Community Services District (CSD) or parks department to manage the land. We need to be a voice to insure that this region is included in these funds. Need consistency in providing information. If anyone has good plans/ideas they should send to Supervisor Gore, please copy the Council.

      Just need three supervisors. The Upper Mark West Water Shed is a well organized group. They applied and were denied for FEMA grants. Maybe have members of the Mark West CAC meet with them. Councilmember Lescure would go and he has some emails about tech support he could share.

      Would be great to hear about the best fire prevention programs and ideas and create the same for the other areas. Maybe have some community response program to present to Supervisor Gore, bringing other areas together; maybe doing alerts etc.

      Topanga Canyon has a 30 year old organization. Perhaps meet with them.

      Councilmember Sherwood will reach out to Cindi Foreman, Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal & Fire Prevention Officer We could collaborate on a community outreach project.
  5. PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS: This time is set aside for comments from the public regarding matters of general Interest, not on the agenda, but related to MWCAC business. Pursuant to the Brown Act, however, the MWCAC cannot consider any issues or take action on any requests during this comment period. Each person is usually granted three minutes to speak. Time limitations are at the discretion of the Chair.
    1. Margaret DiGenova, California American Water (CalAmWater): About Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, from Cal Am Water standpoint: When this occurs they typically request that customers conserve water. Firefighters may need additional water. Also, some pumps from Sonoma Water get shut down so not as much water will be available to the area. They may have to issue a Code Red Alert to conserve water. It could only be in the hills but that’s where the tanks are, so it affects lower areas as well.
    2. Lori Barber: We can’t create defensible space with housing back to back. Hope that’s considered in the general plan or any of our future plans.
    3. Aggie Maggio, Council Secretary: Sonoma County Library will be posting an explanation of the proposals on this year’s ballot, on their youtube page.
    4. Community member Susan Sloan: Asked if there were any updates on fire hydrant reflectors. Margaret DiGenova, Cal Am Water, responded that some are already replaced in the hills. Some will not be replaced in Mark West Estates or Larkfield Estates until after resurfacing takes place.
    1. Council Vice Chair Berg: Next month we will have Senator Mike McGuire as a guest at our meeting. Share any state items that relate to our area. Send questions to gmail account.
  8. PRESENTATIONS, OTHER THAN REFERRALS FROM PRMD: To proceed as follows: 1. Presentation 2. Questions by Councilmembers 3. Questions and comments from the public
    1. Scott Salyer, Sonoma Clean Power, Program manager for the Advanced Energy Rebuild Program at Sonoma Clean Power (SCP).

      Over 400 homes, various kinds, applied or enrolled in the program. About 30% are all electric. About 1/3 also building with battery back up systems. Shooting for very low carbon.

      Originally closed 6/30/2020 under 2016 Code. It’s been moved back six months. To apply, contact Scott directly. Write to for his contact info.

      For projects that have applied but not yet enrolled, the final deadline is November 15, 2021. Will probably be able to help anyone anyway. Please let people know.

      Title 24 Code is the bar they were trying to jump. They have exceeded it with all the homes, which will use much less electricity than regular homes, over their life spans.

      SCP also has a follow up program coming up: Advance Energy Build Program (AEBP). The goal is to build 500 homes. It will be for both new construction and rebuilds. There are PG&E follow up programs for homes that have been damaged by the fires. The AEBP is targeting developers, single family homes and EDU’s. Putting over $2 million in. There will be options for dual fuel and electric. They want to help people adapt to the Reach Code standards (city ordinances stating that a building must be all electric). They are offering really exciting things as well as rebates for single family homes and low income units. SCP is working on an Advance Energy Center: It will help with retrofit projects. It’s based in the old Stanroy’s music center. There will be displays and classrooms with classes for public aand contractors. It will have a commercial kitchen space, induction cooking, etc. Vendors are allowed in thru end of this year and, hopefully, public opening first part of 2021. They have Incentives for this also. All based on emerging technology.
    2. Walter Kieser, Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. Special Assessment Zones.

      Walter made a presentation in January on Community Service Districts (CSD’s). This is a follow up.

      He is now an official chair of Geyserville Alexander Valley MAC, he is responding to: What is the difference between Community Service District (CSD) and Special Assessment Zone (SAZ)?

      A CSD is a multipurpose unit of government, independently governed entity, governed by their own board of directors.

      Assessment districts are created by cites, counties or special districts. They are not independent. They are a financing/budget unit, paid for by special assessments. These were based on old laws invented in the 13th century in Italy.

      The people who benefit from it, pay for it thru their taxes (special assessments). Sidewalk repairs, road repairs, etc, It’s an allocation of cost. They require an annual engineering report allocating to those who are benefiting.

      Post Prop 13, people started over relying on them. They got around the need to raise funding thru taxes. Thru the last few decades several court cases ruled that special benefit has to show a direct financial benefit gained by those who were taxed. The market has basically dried up. Meeting the standards are difficult to create and maintain.

      Seems like a CSD would be so much money and effort to set up. Wikiup commons has 25 acres of land that can be a park if someone could take it on. Could an assessment zone be possible?

      Kieser’s: An alternative may be a County Service Area 41 (CSA-41). It is an omnibus county services area, administered by the county. County consolidated several independent service areas into one CSA 41, a single budget unit with a series of improvement zones. Each with it’s own economic or fiscal unit.

      You could have a CSA41 Zone created for Mark West and by the county. It would probably not require a LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) function. It would be necessary to have an election for a parcel tax in that new special district zone. Need two thirds voter approval. Probably need to raise money (issue some debt). Special tax issued in a CSA41, or its equivalent, to fund a park and/or park management. This would give the Parks Department the money to do so.

      Kieser wants to do the same, with the fire situation and prevention. Have a new CSA41 for county wide fire safety improvements. The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) could be the agent to direct the funds to the kind of fire safety items needed.

      Community needs to leverage itself to even get some PG&E funding. One of the components of the PG&E funding is seeing if there is leveraging opportunities. This area has zero.

      Kieser: Suggests get a subcommittee going and flush it out and move forward to the BOS. Walter Kieser will help. Do nothing with county that isn’t earmarked for the particular zone.

      This could incorporate another parcel next to Molsberry’s, a former day care facility. Property owner would love to sell that property to the community. Could actually be a hub. Again, leveraging does not exist now.

      Kieser: Got to put a project together and win the votes of the community.

      This is similar to a self help communities. Cal trans would be more willing to help out. That would be leverage.

      Kieser: Right. Happy to work with a subcommittee. Can do it any time. It does not need to be tied to a general election date. Can be a mail out special election.
  10. REFERRALS FROM SONOMA COUNTY PRMD WITH PRESENTATIONS: Action Item. Consideration of proposed projects will proceed as follows: 1. Presentation by project applicant 2. Questions by Councilmembers 3. Questions and comments from the public 4. Response by applicant, if required 5. Comments by Council members 6. Resolution (Action) if indicated None
    1. Neighborhood Improvement Funding Program (NIFP) Subcommittee: None
    2. Rebuild Subcommittee: None
    3. Community Services District (CSD) Subcommittee: None
  12. OTHER REPORTS: Discussion may follow: Action if indicated None
  13. DISCUSSIONS: ACTION ITEMS Action if indicated None
  14. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS: Potential future projects and suggestions for the next meeting.
    1. Senator Mike McGuire
    2. Presentation of examples of proposed logo for the MWCAC, created by MWUSD students
    3. Facebook Possibilities (after Website), Ciara Frowick
  15. ADJOURNMENT: ACTION ITEM There being no other Council business to discuss, on a motion by Councilmember Lescure seconded by Council Vice Chair Berg, the meeting was adjourned at 7:12pm.