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What Would You Improve in Novato in 2013?

If you could make a New Year's resolution for our city, what would it be?

More than 45 percent of Americans make a resolution every year, according to statisticbrain.com. Some people vow to live a healthier lifestyle, others promise to spend more time with family, and many say they will try to save money.

As millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their lives, what could we do right here in Novato to make it an even better place to live? Let's make a resolution to accomplish something together.

Maybe you're thinking about business development — the North Redwood Boulevard corridor, Hanna Ranch, the half-vacant Square shopping center.

Maybe you're thinking about ways to reduce crime — donating to the police dogs, monitoring a school campus or participating in a Neighborhood Watch program.  

Maybe you're thinking about humanity — keeping people clothed and warm, keeping people from being homeless, keeping people from needing to beg on street corners.

Those are just starter ideas. What is on your wish list? What is one thing you would improve for the community in 2013? Do you think it's achievable?

Tell us comments or blog about why you love living here!

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T.Sprocket January 02, 2013 at 06:39 PM
It is a great list. Unfortunately this "wish list" will be the same next year and Bob knows it. Sorry, this glass is cracked and half empty. Mark my words that come January 2014 we will revisit this list and little will have changed or been accomplished by this city council and their new hires.
Tina McMillan January 02, 2013 at 06:47 PM
http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_22276266/novato-smart-land-swap-could-bring-parking-relief Instead of swapping 6 acres for .86 acres with SMART rail of the Novato Depot, Novato swaps 6 acres for a parking structure built at the Depot site in Old Town. That way later commercial growth is possible in surrounding areas because there will be sufficient room to park.
John Parnell January 02, 2013 at 06:57 PM
What a great 10 point plan for the Ratto for City Council platform! Run Bob run.
Tina McMillan January 02, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Bob: Please do consider a run for city council. There are two seats open this year.
Celeste Hutchison January 02, 2013 at 07:24 PM
I would suggest that stabilizing the town's finances should be priority one. Nothing else of substance can be achieved or sustained without control over one's checkbook. I'm not sure it can be accomplished in one year, but accomplished it must.
Westside January 02, 2013 at 07:57 PM
How about better access to Rowland shopping via Hannah Ranch and Hwy 37. I agree with 9) Meeting held with Mr Chang (owner of the Not lovely Square) to clarify his intentions about the property I worry citizens will have no say with what happens to the Square. CVS lease is up in 2 years.
James Wood January 02, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Love it! Great answer Sue.
James Wood January 02, 2013 at 08:40 PM
We don't even need a full interchange. Just connect the roads. I try to avoid Vintage Oaks in December because of the traffic in and out. Black Pointers will rejoice.
Steven Norwin January 02, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Christine...Lighten up.
Mike January 02, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Turn every other parking spot on Grant into a parklet. I kid, I kid... seriously though, better bike lanes through parts of Novato Blvd and and Grant would be awesome. Hell, I'd be happy with just some sharrows painted on Grant. hrm, maybe I have some spray paint lying around...
Pam January 02, 2013 at 09:47 PM
I would like to see an increase in Parent Awareness with Teen Drinking and Alcohol. It is a huge problem here in our town of Novato.
Pam January 02, 2013 at 09:48 PM
I would like to see an increase in Parent Awareness with Teen Drinking and Drug use. It is a huge problem here in our town of Novato. I am aware that it is a problem all over, but it seems to me that the parents in Novato turn a blind eye. I would also like to see a stop light at San Marin Drive and S. Novato Blvd.
M January 02, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Make Novato Square a thriving shopping center once again. A great little restaurant/bar would be amazing!
ConcernedNovatoan January 02, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I think Tina has been as straightforward and honest with most of her comments compared to many others who want to just chide and make derisive and sarcastic remarks against her. If that is the "best" those can do to try and maintain some civility in the forums, then I say we as a community/society have some serious issues....
Demosthenes January 02, 2013 at 10:43 PM
second! the place is a blight.
John Parnell January 02, 2013 at 11:08 PM
I agree with the common-sense connection to 37. You should watch the Council meeting where they approved Hannah Ranch & gave away the easement for the road. It is quite an eye-opener. If my memory serves me correctly, about 25 people spoke out against it, and many said the same thing as you, James & Westside: "Don't give away the easement for the road - make the developer build it as a condition of approval - Vintage Oaks/Hannah Ranch NEEDS the connection to Hwy 37." Before they then voted to approve Hannah Ranch, totally giving away the road, the only council member who voiced the people's dissent was Pat Eklund. One of the other council members said in an Orwellian fashion, something to the effect: "It is so nice to see all of the public is in agreement with us." However, the public comments ran about 25-2 against the approval. I'm pretty sure that the only people who spoke up in favor of the giveaway were NOT Novato residents. I think one person worked for the developer & one worked for the City, but lived in Sonoma County. I only saw the video & was multi-tasking. Perhaps someone who was actually there can chime in & share their thoughts.
David Kasten January 03, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Make it as easy and attractive as possible for small businesses to come to and open up in Novato. Appoint a like-minded person to take care of all the red tape - and earn a commission when the business physically opens. There are so many loopholes you have to jump through it is ridiculous, and people would flock to a city that is willing to jump for you. 2.
Roger January 03, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Bob, I like your list a lot. Please do run for City Council.
David Kasten January 03, 2013 at 04:33 AM
I like it Bob. Start with #2, and I think you get the others by default.
Tracey Ruiz January 03, 2013 at 05:45 AM
A sidewalk and street parking on Nave Drive along the two block stretch in front of the Hamilton School gym and Headstart program so that people can stop walking in the bike lane.
Travis Howard January 03, 2013 at 04:39 PM
I agree Tracey!
Pam January 03, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I meant Novato Blvd.
David Randolph January 03, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Have you ever seen a California driver who can negotiate a roundabout?
Tina McMillan January 03, 2013 at 06:05 PM
David Sounds amazing! Right now we make it as difficult and costly as possible for small businesses. If we were even neutral that would be progress.
Tina McMillan January 03, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Do we have room for Sharrows? I thought you needed 3-4 feet of space between the lane and the ongoing traffic. How about sidewalks down Vineyard so kids can safely walk too and from school.
Tina McMillan January 03, 2013 at 06:16 PM
The work done to determine that one entrance/exit was sufficient at the Hannah Ranch site was incomplete at best. It may take a law suit to prove but I see little else that the city pays attention to. At the holidays there was a day where you had to wait 30 minutes in a long line of traffic just to exit. Can you imagine with a hotel there what would happen in an emergency. Why did the city choose to give the land to the developers? Why did they not make it a project requirement to build a second entrance/exit for that site?
Tina McMillan January 03, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Right now we don't have much of a say on the Square unless Chang violates code. What could change this would be a law saying that the intentional creation of a blighted property has consequences. Suggestions to revitalize the Square have been met with silence on Chang's part. Many suspect that he is waiting for the next cycle of affordable housing. It's true that we all have rights as owners of private property but when a single individual can intentionally blight commercial property thus creating both an eyesore and a detriment to the community there should be recourse if even in the form of discussion. The Square could be turned into many things that would benefit the neighborhood. It was once a thriving shopping center. It's demise has been due to poor management. Just look at San Marin's Harvest Market and the surrounding shops. There is a neighborhood shopping center that is well cared for and appreciated by all its customers.
Tina McMillan January 03, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Generating revenue is huge. We just received the response from HCD about our draft housing element. http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=1410 If we are forced to overbuild residential property without a tax base we create a need for more services without the revenue stream to support them. The draft housing element is a crucial aspect of our general plan. The planning commission meetings have been very interesting. Compared to the city council meetings where little gets discussed with the public, in the planning commission we have enough diversity to see a real conversation take place. I agree stabilizing our finances is huge and I wonder how we will get there if we are not allowed to create more commercial development. We currently have only 5% of our land zoned commercial. Our laws make it difficult for small and large businesses to open here. We need our city council to make every effort to support Novato businesses.
Anthony January 03, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Lets get S.M.A.R.T. here in 2013 :)
Devin January 03, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Yeah....Christine needs to lighten up for sure...wow.

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