Please attend – Howe Family hearing on 3/28/17 @ 6pm

What should have been a simple process has turned into a years-long, complicated nightmare for the Howe family.  Please attend the Placerville City Council meeting at 549 Main Street, Placerville, on March 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm to show your support.

On April 30, 2015, Wilbur Howe and his sister, Marilyn McCarthy, received a notice from the City of Placerville to correct a violation of a City code due to a complaint submitted by past City employee Steve Calfee.

The Howe Family felt that they had no other choice than to submit an application for a permit to allow their employees to park on their adjacent property.

At the November 3, 2015 Planning Commission meeting, after 2 previous hearings, the Commission conceptually approved Conditions of Approval that waived paving, landscaping, and lighting on the Howe’s private property.  Planning staff asked to return on November 17, 2015, with project findings and conditions, consistent with the Commission’s discussion, for approval of the project.

After this approval, Planning Commissioner Michael Frenn met with Wilbur Howe on the property and realized a sign was needed to prevent the public from parking on the property.  Commissioner Frenn also found that the bollards were extremely expensive and desired to give the Howe Family another option.

Here is the Staff Report for the November 17, 2015 meeting: 11-17-15 Staff Report

At the November 17, 2015 Planning Commission meeting, Commissioner Michael Frenn asked if he could have the Commission reconsider items #4 and #5 (the bollards and sign).  He was told they would need to re-open the hearing for the public and Commission to discuss, which was scheduled to December 15, 2015.

Here are the Staff Report and Conditions of Approval for the December 15, 2015 meeting:  12-15-15 Agenda Report

At the December 15, 2015 Planning Commission meeting, the project went sideways.  The Planning Commission denied the permit based on an insufficient application following Peter Wolfe’s motion.  (The application had been deemed complete by staff on July 6, 2015.)

After many more meetings, the request was reconsidered by the Commission and on September 20, 2016, Conditions were approved which required paving, striping, and a landscaping maintenance agreement.

On September 30, 2016, the Howe Family appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council.

At the March 14, 2017 City Council meeting, erroneous information was shared to the City Councilmembers and is excerpted here:

Click here to view video:

The Howe Family is asking the City to restore the Conditions of Approval that were conceptually approved by the Planning Commission on November 3, 2015, with changes to Condition #4 to allow for a decorative wall instead of bollards, and Condition #5 to allow for returning the larger, more visible, Private Parking sign.

Here is a drawing that was suggested for the decorative wall instead of bollards in Condition #4:



Please attend City Council meeting 11/10/15: Pole Sign and Parking Spaces

Over the last few years, the Placerville City Council has required, at great expense to property owners, the removal of Pole Signs throughout Placerville. The reasoning is that Pole Signs are not compatible with a Historic District. So now why is it that City Councilwoman Wendy Thomas’ pole sign at the old Carrow’s building is being allowed to stay standing, especially within an area of town being considered for a Historic Preservation District and along a Scenic Corridor?

The City Council has approved the Streetscape Plan which will eliminate several parking spots in Downtown Placerville. Councilwoman Thomas has been a major promoter of this plan. Added to this, the proposed new agreement for Thomas’ tenant to lease parking from the City will take away many spaces from public parking. The City is constantly complaining that we need more parking, yet they seem complacent in losing these many spaces for the benefit of whom?

Councilwoman Thomas’ tenant is proposing to pay $430 a month so Thomas can  keep her pole sign on City property AND privatize 8 public parking spaces. Why is Councilwoman Thomas getting special consideration to keep the pole sign and to privatize public parking spaces?

Show up at the Placerville City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 10, after 6:30pm to speak up and ask why Wendy’s tenant is getting such a good deal on this lease.

Here is the agenda item:

DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS 12.1 Adopt a Resolution Approving a Lease Agreement with David’s Ale Works, Inc., a California Corporation for 3,358 Square Feet of Commercial Parking and Signage Area Adjacent to the Business Located at 209 Main Street (Mr. Morris) Resolution No. _____ Recommendation by the City Manager that the City Council adopt a Resolution approving a lease agreement with David’s Ale Works, Inc., a California Corporation for 3,358 square feet of commercial parking and signage area adjacent to the business located at 209 Main Street.

Take survey and send emails to preserve Downtown Placerville

Do you love Downtown Placerville and its unique historical atmosphere?

Please take action to help us preserve Downtown.

The Placerville City Council is looking into “rehabilitating” the streets and sidewalk features Downtown. This rehabilitation must be done carefully to prevent the loss of our historical look and feel.

Here’s what you can do:

Take the survey at
BE VERY CAREFUL!!! Your answers could have a severe impact on the historic nature of Main Street.

There are 6 alternatives shown on page 5 of the survey.  The grey-shaded areas on each alternative are where the road is raised up to the level of the sidewalk. This will cause safety and water drainage concerns because there will be no curb to prevent cars from driving onto the sidewalk. The bumpy plastic will be required along the sidewalk.  For example:

car on sidewalk

To choose the alternatives that are least impacting to Downtown, please rank the projects on question #5 as follows:

Survey page 5 suggested answers

Lastly, if you would prefer to send an email with your comments about the survey or concerns about preserving Downtown Placerville, send them to,, and

Join the discussion on Facebook:

Attend 3-10-15 City Council meeting to Save Placerville Courthouse

It is imperative that the Judicial Court system remain the tenant of the Courthouse building. If the Court moves out of the building, the County of El Dorado will be left to find a new tenant or owner of the building. There are two issues of concern if the State abandons the Main Street Courthouse. One is economic hardship and future blight to downtown Placerville. The second is our local governments have a poor track record of stewardship over historical resources, allowing buildings to deteriorate to a point where they need to be demolished.

If the Courthouse building is no longer used as a courthouse, then the fate of the building could be left up to the Placerville City Council, the very people that wanted to tear down the world-famous Hangman Building. Or, the County of El Dorado could determine the building’s future. The Bayley House was donated to the County in 1977 and was allowed to deteriorate and be vandalized until turned over to a contractor, who removed the exterior woodwork and left a giant hole in the back of the building. The Blue Ribbon Committee cannot guarantee that the Courthouse building will not meet a similar fate.

Save the Bayley House
Save the Placerville Courthouse so that it doesn’t end up like the Bayley House.


Please attend and speak up during Open Forum at the March 10, 2015 Placerville City Council meeting at 6:00pm.

For detailed information, see message below which was sent to the Placerville merchants.

Dear Downtown Merchant,


The Placerville City Council meeting is Tuesday night, March 10, starting at 6 pm in the Town Hall, 549 Main Street.   Agenda item 7 is described as PUBLIC COMMENT – BRIEF – NON-AGENDA ITEMS and it should come up between 15 to 20 minutes after the 6pm meeting start time.  Mayor Borelli will read the brief description about what this is, an opportunity for members of the public to speak for up to three minutes about matters not on the agenda as is the case for the issues we all wish to raise.

It would be very effective to have as many merchants and downtown employees as possible attend AND speak at this council meeting.  We need to raise our collective voice and be empowered by each other.  If we cannot stand up for our best interests as a community then we get what we get.  PLEASE make the time to attend and be heard.

I have contacted News 10 and they are taking the story to the reporters this morning and will get back to me about covering this story.

What we want to do:

  • Demand (the time for asking is past) that the city write a letter to the Judicial Council stating that moving the courthouse and its functions off of Main Street will cause economic hardship as well as create blight due to the fact that the building is not suited to any other function.
  • The City can ask the State to choose Alternative 2 which is an option for a smaller courthouse to be built by the jail and retains the function of the Historic Main Street Courthouse. This option makes more sense and would save the City, County and State millions of dollars in infrastructure and capital improvement costs.  Alternative 2 is an environmentally superior alternative, would still accomplish most of the design principals and objectives desired by the State while maintaining the economic and social benefits of the City of Placerville.  Therefore, the State must not certify the EIR to accept the project as proposed and instead should either extend the comment period or choose Alternative 2: Reduced Size.
  • The City can ask that the public comment period be extended in order for the affected public, that was not clearly notified, has the opportunity to comment on this project. Jurisdiction does carry weight.
  • The time to write this letter is NOW as it must be received before the final EIR is certified.
  • The fact that we could get so far down this process without the community being aware is unacceptable. Look at the large NOTICE TO SELL ALCOHOL APPLICATIONS that are required of businesses—-impossible to miss!  Where were such notices about the courthouse?

Another local government abuses its discretionary power = Placerville City Council

Measure K was passed by Placerville City residents on November 4, 2014. Measure K requires that any time a roundabout is proposed on a public road, the citizens will first vote on whether or not they want a roundabout in that location.

On January 27, 2015, Placerville City Manager, Cleve Morris, states that the City will move ahead with its proposed Western Interchange project, without regard for Measure K.  The Western Interchange project includes several roundabouts.

Here is a video clip and an excerpt of the text follows:

Partial script from the video: 2:26:34

“Cleve Morris (Placerville City Manager: As far as telling you what is going to happen with those (WPI) roundabouts designed as part of the Interchange, we’re moving forward with them at this point. Will we get challenged on them? We don’t know. But we are also coordinating with Caltrans in that process, and will continue to coordinate with Caltrans to make sure that they are on board. We’ve already had discussions with their legal counsel regarding that, so we will make sure that’s . . . But I can’t tell you, if you’re asking “How Measure K will affect those?” I don’t . . . by the next meeting we will not have that answer.

Carol Patton (City Council Woman): Has Caltrans made a ruling on the Measure K impacts to the Western Placerville Interchange?

Cleve Morris: They have not made a ruling; however, I believe our discussions were that they felt that if they were challenged on those roundabouts that they would become involved in and support us in that challenge.”

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