SDAT AT Work

SDAT working group members, from left, Steve Kent, Nancy Jane Andrews, Tim Unger, Ken Munson, Mark McMullen, Anne Arquit Niederberger, Walter Niederberger and Charlie Duffy. A few of the working group members will be on hand at the June 24 meeting to talk about the SDAT report and answer questions.

The city of Healdsburg is getting ready to prepare its 2020-25 Strategic Plan, a road map of sorts that helps guide city staff and councilmembers on what actions and goals to work on that would improve and help the community.

In order to get input on important topics such as housing and land use, the city has been hosting a special speaker series, which culminates on June 24 with a focus on the SDAT (Sustainable Design Assessment Team) 2040 report findings, which will be integrated into the five-year plan.

SDAT working group members will be on hand to give a brief presentation on work the groups have done and there will also be a chance for a Q&A session.

In short, the report is a conglomeration of Healdsburg’s most pertinent issues, goals and their solutions in four different categories: housing, arts and culture, master plan and connectivity and parks. The report was compiled after the SDAT team along with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), completed an analysis of city issues and potential solutions through several months of meeting and work groups.

“We’ll have a representation of the working groups there, we’ll have two designated presenters and we’ll have some at the floor level answering questions that are posed from the facilitator or the audience,” said Tim Unger, one of the SDAT working group members.

Working group member Walter Niederberger added that the event will be interactive and participation will be encouraged.

There will also be Spanish translators and free child care available.

The last speaker series meeting on June 19, which focused on land use and housing, only had around 29 non-city affiliated attendees, so the group is hoping they will see more participation this time around.

Niederberger said of the meeting, “Our master plan working group tried to finalize and distill everything from out of that report and make it understandable for the public and also the city council so they understand what’s in it.”

He said this is a key aspect of the meeting.

“We count on the participation of the city council. That’s why they also organized this event on the 24,” he said.

SDAT working group member Richard Burg said of the presentation materials, “Over the last six months the groups have taken the output of the final report, prioritized it and that’s the material we’re essentially going to present on the 24th.”

Some topics of interest the group will discuss include climate change and growth.

Niederberger said climate change would be an important discussion topic since it was not heavily addressed in the SDAT report.

“What happens if you have more fires, what happens if you have more smoke, what happens if temperatures are rising?” Niederberger mused. “All of a sudden that foundation might not be as strong as we assume. We cannot ignore the climate crisis and going through the process in our groups, I think that is something that is missing.”

SDAT working group member Deb Kravitz and others said it is something the city wouldn’t be able to solve in a five-year plan, but it is something they should keep in mind moving forward as the city thinks about the future.

“We want to instill it in the city’s decision making process,” she said.

Another major topic is growth.

“The last 10 years were fantastic. We had explosive growth, almost too much for many people,” Niederberger said. “How many hotels do we have and how many hotels are planned, based on what foundation? We would like the city council to take that into account going forward.”

The working group team said with Monday’s meeting they hope to receive plenty of feedback and input from locals.

They said they also hope to get more people involved with the working group teams.

At the end of the meeting there will be a sign-up sheet in the back for people who may want to get involved. They can sign up on the mailing list or join the group’s Facebook page or Slack.

Niederberger said after the meeting the working groups would have a follow up to engage with the city. He emphasized that the work is not quite done even after the meeting.

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