City orders study, but special election is on

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Presented with certification that proponents of the Hotel Limitation Measure had collected enough signatures to trigger a special election, a divided Sonoma City Council voted Monday that a report be prepared to analyze the measure’s impact on the city.

The report will cost $17,500 and must be completed within 30 days. The special election, to be held regardless of the report or its findings, will be held in mid-November.

Councilmembers Ken Brown, David Cook and Tom Rouse voted to authorize the study. Brown said it was important that the public be as informed as possible.

Laurie Gallian and Steve Barbose said the study was not worth spending the money on.

The council gave staff no specific instruction as to the scope or content of the impact report. “It is obvious that council opponents to the measure hope this report will bolster arguments against the initiative,” said Larry Barnett of Preserving Sonoma, the group that sponsored the ballot measure.

When the report is presented, the council’s legal options will be to either adopt the measure as a city ordinance or set a November date for the special public election. The panel will have an option to write a 300-word argument, pro or con, to appear in the ballot materials.