With the onslaught of the coronavirus and the related shelter-in-place orders, Healdsburg residents may be wondering how this will affect the farmers market pavilion project at 3 North Street, a project that was approved by city council in early March and has received community-wide support.
Healdsburg Community Services Director Mark Themig said that for now it doesn’t seem like the project will be greatly affected and that the Foley family, which pledged $7 million for the construction of the project, is still committed to their promise.
“It seems like March 2 or 3 (around the time when the city council unanimously approved the project) was ages ago. It feels so long ago and so much has changed,” Themig said. “We did have a conference call last week with Courtney and Lindsey Foley, who have been kind of the leads on the project, and their message to the city is that the Foley family is 100% committed to moving forward with the project.”
Themig said in light of the virus and the city working to respond to the crisis, the community services department be as realistic as they can in maintaining the timeline of the project.
He said the tentative plan is to start design work late this summer into fall and hopefully begin construction in 2021, thought he noted that “We are trying to make sure that COVID-19 is a priority.”
Themig noted that if the project were currently in the construction phase, work would have to be suspended by order of the recent Sonoma County Public Health Officer order, Order No. C19-05, which prohibits non-essential building and construction activities.
Construction activity for previously permitted projects by the city that are not essential, also must cease.
According to the latest Healdsburg city manager report, “The only work permitted on non-essential projects shall be to secure work sites, maintain site safety and implement stormwater management measures as part of closing operations.”
According to the same report by City Manager David Mickaelian, “essential” projects that may move forward under Order No.C19-05 are defined as follows:
1. Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation repair of essential infrastructure;
2. Projects associated with healthcare operations, including creating or expanding healthcare operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
3. Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
4. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
5. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
6. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
7. Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so;
8. Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing essential businesses are safe, sanitary or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonable be delayed; and,
9. Construction or debris removal activities undertaken pursuant to Chapters 40 and 40A of the County Code, or any other construction and debris removal activities on fire damaged or destroyed properties.
Examples of “necessary” repairs to residences and buildings include:
● Water heater replacement/repair
● HVAC replacement/repair
● Electric Panel replacement/repair
● Roof repair.
The city will also not issue new building permits unless it is related to essential or emergency work.
During Healdsburg’s most recent city council meeting on April 6, Mickaelian said the public will continue to see public works, utility workers and other miscellaneous staff in the field, maintaining essential infrastructure.
In terms of other essential work, Mickaelian said, “There is really only one affordable housing project in the city, the oak subdivision, that might meet that criteria.”
Themig said since the farmers market pavilion project isn’t in the middle of construction the timing of it should be OK.
“I was really pleased to hear that they want to still move ahead with the project. I was really pleased that the family was interested,” Themig said. “I’m excited as we look toward the future for an opportunity when we can come together again.”