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'Give Us Entertainment Options, Outdoor Dining and Bike/Ped Access,' Say Novato Residents

Armed with feedback from two community workshops on the future of North Redwood Boulevard Corridor, Novato moves forward with turning recommendations into policy

Novato residents favor building a pedestrian-friendly shopping center made up of small and medium-sized retailers at North Redwood Boulevard, a place where families could shop, then stay for dinner and a movie.

That’s the conclusion the city is making after two community workshops to discuss the future of the parcel on the corner of Redwood and Olive Avenue, the last significant piece of land Novato has for development.

“People really want something that will be fun, and offer outdoor dining and entertainment, that’s pedestrian oriented, with hidden parking and connections to the SMART bike path, said Bob Brown, director of community development for Novato.

About 120 people attended the workshops, held over two Saturdays in September, and worked with city planners and volunteer architects to come up with a vision for the area.

“We had a great expression of ideas, so we’re really happy with how it’s moving along,” Brown said.

Draft plans for the shopping center should be available online early next week and Brown hopes to submit the recommendations to the Economic Development Advisory Commission, followed by Design Review, Planning and the council by the end of the year.

Residents also support building housing on the Atherton ranch site and a mixed use development on a small parcel on the northwest corner of Olive and Redwood. Mixed use typically means shops on the ground floor and apartments or offices upstairs.

However, opinion is split on how to best redesign Redwood Boulevard, which many say is too wide and should be reconfigured. (The thoroughfare was the only road between North Bay communities before Highway 101 was built.)

Some residents who attended the workshops support landscaping the median by putting in benches and more trees, creating a space where residents could stroll or sit on a bench and read the newspaper. Others say Redwood Boulevard should be narrowed and the additional space turned into a bicycle lane and sidewalks.

B Brown October 03, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Dear Motor Mouth: We've never met but you seem to have me figured out. Why not call and we can meet to discuss community planning? 899-8938 Bob Brown
Mark Burnham October 04, 2013 at 12:20 AM
FYI Novato Readers : Over the last 30 years similar workshops were held and directed by city council members to determine the direction of downtown Novato (Old Town Novato specifically) and what the citizens here wanted. What past city councils gathered and then put in to the "Downtown Specific Plan" can be summarized in the first paragraph of this article: "Novato residents favor building a pedestrian-friendly shopping center made up of small and medium-sized retailers (downtown), a place where families could shop, then stay for dinner and a movie". History repeats itself.. however when we elect people like Eklund, Macleamy, Athas, Lucan, and Kellner you can be sure that only the citizen's wants will be repeated and then left unsatisfied. Until truly entreprenurial and business savvy candidates announce their candidacy for council we will be left with completely visionless city council members who steer our downtown areas in to oblivion.. or at best.. the wrong direction. This whole discussion is brutally depressing.
Me Ma !! October 04, 2013 at 09:25 AM
Bubba, Are you Going to the Hillie Top to discuss this very important issue again after some fine suds from the tappie ?. Please let me know what time and I will save the same seating as last week ok
Linda October 04, 2013 at 10:28 AM
I think we all could meet there and say hello as that way we all know who we are posting on the Patch site . Bubba could pass out the skunk trophy to the winner and we could pick a new president of our social cocktail club Someone please tell me the time this function starts . P.S. Someone bring a camera as i lost mine at the meeting last week .

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