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Sonora in the New Year

As we begin the New Year, I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year.

I will be writing monthly blogs in the hope of capturing the feelings and concerns of Sonora residents and businesses. The opinions of city residents and businesses are important for the Council to better understand the feelings of the City community. It is important to prioritize our constituent’s needs. We have a beautiful city with a charming old, historical district and it deserves all of our attention.

It is easy to say that you elected us to speak for you and that we should know what you, the local citizens want and need for the future. Different individuals see things differently. Some Council members are brand new and some have been on the Council for decades.

To that end, I would like to have the opinions and input of city residents and businesses on goals in 2011 and beyond.

We have all discussed various items to benefit the City including the Highway 49 (Washington Street) beatification, parking, Highway 49 realignment, and the economics of the City running more efficiently. We have great City employees who work very hard providing services but all of us need to work together to define where we are going in the future.


Preserve and enhance the historic district.

Presently, the TCTC and the City of Sonora are applying for a planning grant for the beautification of Highway 49 (including Washington Street, Stockton Street). The grant would encompass parking, circulation, traffic patterns, and open spaces. As you browse through various magazines you receive, you always read about what other municipalities have done with their downtown districts. I call your attention to this month’s VIA by AAA on what other small communities have accomplished.


Parking

Is there enough parking downtown? Some of the Council members have been looking at the City’s needs 5-10 years out and beyond. Are new parking facilities needed? Our future needs to be planned now so future needs don’t catch us unprepared and unfunded.



Planning & Permit Process


I have always felt strongly that we need to expedite the planning and permitting processes so our citizens and businesses don’t get blogged down in lengthy processes. Toward that goal, the City recently approved streamlining event permits. Now, rather than appearing before the City Council, the Council granted staff authority to close certain streets for community events. Signage can now be obtained over the counter as long as the sign adheres to the City ordinance. In addition, Council is reviewing the permitting and approval process for parcel maps.

What are your thoughts on items that can make the City more efficient?

I would like to hear from the citizens of the City of Sonora and the local businesses on what the City should and can do better in the coming year so we can show we are the "Queen of the Southern Mines".

Please email me at billc@cnnconst.com at any time with your input and ideas.