Tuesday, July 1, 2014


A note from Helen Shane…

Small Town Sebastopol settles with CVS

Initial proposal by CVS for the Pete's corner.

SEBASTOPOL, CA, July 1, 2014 – Helen Shane, for the Committee for Small Town Sebastopol announced today that it has settled its CEQA suit against CVS. Simultaneously, CVS and the city of Sebastopol have reached a tentative settlement yet to be vetted by the City Council.

Shane said this will be a far better project than was applied for three years ago.
The CVS project was issued a Mitigated Negative Declaration on July 5, 2011 by the Sebastopol City Council. It would have allowed CVS to proceed with the project without an Environmental Impact Study.

On August 8, 2011, the Committee for Small Town Sebastopol (STS) led by the late John Kramer and Helen Shane, filed a CEQA suit that charged that the MND was based on a flawed, inadequate traffic study.

In 2012, the City levied a moratorium on new drive-throughs. Then CVS filed a suit against the City, claiming that the moratorium violated its civil rights.  On the STS CEQA suit, CVS asked for and got 16 extensions on the legal prosecution of the case, which dragged on until the present.

In May of this year, CVS announced that it wished to settle both the drive-through moratorium suit and the STS CEQA suit. Discussions to negotiate settlement of both cases began. City officials, Shane and Nancy Dobbs, John Kramer’s widow, attended meetings with CVS attorneys and officers.

The terms of the settlement call for the development project to move forward with the following changes:

·      There will be no drive-through or exterior pick-up window anywhere on the project

·      There will be no vehicle access or egress from the site via left turns onto or from Sebastopol Avenue. No left turns will be permitted onto or from the site onto Petaluma Avenue should it become a two-way street in the future

·      CVS will pay the City and Small Town Sebastopol a total of $150,000 to be used for a traffic signal synchronization study and implementation of a program to mitigate traffic impacts, and to pay Small Town Sebastopol’s legal fees for the litigation

·      CVS will parcelize the property into five parcels, but will occupy only one, which will be built as a two-story structure, with solar installed on all buildings

·      CVS will set back its building at the corner of Sebastopol Avenue (Hwy 12) and Petaluma Ave (Hwy 116).

·      CVS signage will be discreet.

Shane said,  “Members of the Sebastopol Community attended meeting after meeting over the years, concerned with the traffic impact CVS would have, trying to dominate our crossroads; we didn’t want our town to be known as CVS-ville. Small Town Sebastopol continually updated these more than 700 people via email. Their enthusiastic responses validated the need and desire of the community to oppose the project, and to pursue the CEQA suit. We collected more than $25,000 in contributions ranging from $7 to $3,000, from individuals who deplored the impact it would have on traffic and our town. From the get-go, Small Town Sebastopol knew that if preventing the building of the typical car-centric in and out CVS were not possible, the corporate decreed design must be changed and access to and from the project could not be allowed to further interfere with through traffic at that critical intersection. Dozens of community members communicated to CalTrans their opposition to the project and the state agency did not approve CVS’ request to allow left turns into and out of the site. “

“We feel this settlement has resulted in a project that is far superior to the one in the initial application. It would have been inappropriate and not what we wanted at one of the major gateways of our small town.”

"John Kramer was diagnosed in the summer of 2013 with brain cancer. He told me to stay the course.  He died on February 26 of this year. Without him, at times, it got very scary. Then I’d think ‘what would John do?’  That carried me through to this time of resolution. I think now John would say ‘okay, let’s do this and move on. ‘ Margaret Mead was right. ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

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