The Petaluma City Council is holding a special meeting today on whether to reconsider a vote taken last week that allowed a grass field instead of a turf field in a mixed-use development the council approved.
The council on July 21 approved the environmental report for Riverfront, a 39-acre project at 500 Hopper St., between Highway 101 and the Petaluma River, in which Basin Street Properties plans to build 273 residential units, 90,000 square feet of commercial space, a 120-room hotel and seven acres of open space.
The open space would include a sports field for the residents and greater community to use. Basin Street proposed a grass field, which would be plumbed for recycled water use when possible. The city parks and planning commissions wanted a synthetic turf field as a condition of approval.
When the issue appeared at the council for approval, that condition was removed after Basin Street offered to give the city $125,000 to help maintain its other existing turf fields and others that are planned.
After lengthy discussion on an unrelated part of the project, the proposal was approved, as was a list of several dozen conditions of approval with the turf item removed.
At last Monday’s council meeting, Mayor David Glass invoked a council rule allowing him to bring back the issue for reconsideration. He said the 1 a.m. decision to remove the turf condition was “bad governance” and that the council members who voted for it have lost credibility with a community that wants more all-weather sports fields.
A vote on whether to reconsider the field decision was planned for several weeks out to allow for proper notifications of those involved. But later in the week, four council members — Mike Healy, Kathy Miller, Chris Albertson and Gabe Kearney — signed a request calling for a special meeting to vote on Glass’ motion as soon as possible.
If the council votes to reject Glass’ reconsideration request, the issue will die.
There was no indication any council members had changed their minds following the original vote to allow the natural grass field. Only Councilwoman Teresa Barrett and Glass expressed serious concerns about allowing a natural field.
Three other council members would have to vote with Glass that a reconsideration is needed. Then, the issue would be scheduled for an actual revote.
The meeting will begin with a closed session to talk about two items at 6:30 p.m. today at City Hall. It will convene to open session for the reconsideration vote.
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