Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce Policies

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the contributions that our unique environment brings to the quality of life in Petaluma and the greater Petaluma Area. The PACC seeks to further enhance the quality of life of all Petalumans while sustaining our unique environment for the benefit of future generations. To that end, the PACC will continue to support and encourage programs to enhance the Arts, Education, Environment and Recreational opportunities within the Petaluma area.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that agricultural industry and agricultural support businesses are foundation industries making valuable economic contributions to the Petaluma area. The encroachment of incompatible non-agricultural uses into agricultural areas should be carefully managed.

Economically viable agricultural land should be protected by zoning law and policy. The Petaluma Area Chamber supports local planning which accommodates urban development only into the least economically viable agricultural areas which are contiguous to existing urban areas.

Government regulation of the agricultural industry should be based on clearly stated objectives supported by sound economic, scientific and/or logical data which demonstrates a clear connection between the regulation and the objective. Every reasonable effort should be undertaken, by the private and public sectors alike and in cooperation with each other, to enhance the marketability of locally produced agricultural products and the competitive strength of local agricultural interests.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with applicable government agencies to achieve regulatory reforms which are consistent with the policies above

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the important contribution of local arts and entertainment to the quality of life of our community. The rich local culture provided by our resident artists, artisans, writers and performers, and by the organizations, institutions and businesses which provide them an outlet, are an important part of what attracts businesses and employees to this area.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that economic development is vital to the Petaluma area. The Chamber will play an active role in all appropriate forums to assist businesses in expanding or relocating within the Petaluma community.

PACC has an obligation to encourage the local governmental agencies to pursue economic development and diligently respond to Land Use, Conditional Use and Building Permit Applications in a timely manner.

The Chamber will be proactive in following up on all contacts made by business owners by sending information packets, making subsequent contacts with business owners and offering suggestions and referrals for assistance by Chamber members, placing no emphasis on any one member.

The Chamber will continue to provide educational opportunities for businesses.

The Chamber will advocate actions by local governmental agencies which enhance the attractiveness of the Petaluma area and provide the necessary infrastructure to expanding local businesses, to out-of-area businesses interested in relocating or expanding to the Petaluma area, and to new start-up businesses, to the extent such actions (1) are not inconsistent with any other Chamber Business Policy, and (2) generally enhance the economic and social welfare of the community.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that the business community and the Petaluma community as a whole benefit when educational standards are maintained at the highest possible levels.

The development of strong skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking and problem solving is an important goal for all levels of education in the community; these are invaluable skills in any work environment.

The jobs of today require an ever increasing use of information technology in the work place. The business community needs to work with local schools to define the skills needed to use information technology productively and to assist in the design of curricula to provide those skills.

Evaluation and accountability are essential parts of a strong education program. Student and school performance should be judged using a variety of assessment tools; no single test can provide an adequate measure of educational quality.

Education is a community-wide concern. Where appropriate, resources of other community organizations-the City Parks and Recreation Department, social services agencies, youth sports organizations, churches, charities and service clubs-should be coordinated with school operations.

The PACC supports and partners with the Petaluma High School district, through the School to Career program, and with Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University and other local degree granting faculties within Sonoma County which provide work experience and internships for college students and offer to current employees career-enhancing workshops, courses, certificate programs and degree programs.

Adequate financial support is an essential part of a strong educational system. The Chamber is committed to the passage of local and state bond measures, where necessary and appropriate, and where the funds thus raised will be efficiently spent, to provide capital funding for school construction, repairs and maintenance.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce supports the preservation of the architectural and cultural heritage of the Petaluma area using the City of Petaluma's established Design Guidelines for historic districts, and by creating a thriving community in general, and specifically, a healthy business community. An economically stable business environment will, in turn, encourage preservation, restoration, and adaptable reuse of vintage buildings and settings of Petaluma's historical and cultural heritage into the future.

We endorse the Seismic Reinforcement Standards established by the City of Petaluma in Resolution 92-48 NCS. Additionally, we applaud and encourage the continuation of the reimbursement of a portion of the property owner's seismic reinforcement costs by Petaluma Community Development Commission (Redevelopment Agency).

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes a balanced, increasing housing inventory is vital to Petaluma's continued economic and cultural growth. The PACC applauds the City of Petaluma's affordable housing policies and the efforts of the City's Housing Authority.

In furtherance of that belief, the Chamber supports:

  • Policies promoting or providing a wide range of housing types, in a variety of price ranges, including programs for affordable housing, to support the local employment base.

  • Legislation and policies designed to reduce or remove obstacles to developing, building and maintaining a balanced housing inventory.

  • Policies designed to serve the housing needs of the community while protecting the values of the existing residential properties.

  • Maintains adequate land supply for a range of housing inventory to meet the needs of Petalumans at all economic levels. A reasonable growth management policy should be updated and maintained to meet the current and future needs of the community and its business employment base.

  •  Policies and actions resulting in prompt completion, replacement, and maintenance of the City of Petaluma's infrastructure.

  • Programs encouraging rehabilitation of existing housing and creative use of in-fill sites.

  •  Programs and policies improving the efficiency of planning and environmental reviews.

  •  Programs furthering the efforts of Heritage Homes of Petaluma in its efforts to preserve historic districts and the inventory of older homes which maintain the character of Petaluma.

  • Policies acknowledging the use of environmental reviews and sustainability considerations as tools for good planning.

  • Policies and regulations clearly written and consistently applied.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that the ability to achieve a healthy local economy is directly linked to the quality of life in our community. Services which ensure the well-being of the residents of our community ("human services") are, therefore, a valuable resource which should be actively developed, nurtured and supported by both the private and public sectors. The Chamber supports programs and activities which work to help people make positive and healthy choices, including spiritual support, mental health, drug & alcohol counseling and job training services which will encourage personal responsibility.

The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that business and government must work together to create and maintain adequate infrastructure for the Petaluma area. Both entities must commit the necessary resources to support infrastructure maintenance, replacement and expansion. Local government should be encouraged to budget and adequately fund replacement reserves for its infrastructure.

Storm Drainage - Flood Control: The PACC supports the implementation of the Payran Flood Mitigation Project and other future projects which are designed to mitigate the incremental impacts of additional development within the floodplain and provide a net benefit to properties subjected to inundation.

Water Supply: The PACC supports efforts by the appropriate governmental agencies to develop and maintain adequate water reservoirs and supply lines to meet current and future community needs. The Chamber also endorses efforts to explore effective techniques of water conservation.

Sanitary Sewer: The PACC encourages the City Council to move forward expeditiously, in addressing and concluding the initial planning, design, and construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. We further urge that all necessary public meetings to achieve this goal be undertaken in an open, interactive manner within a time frame that assures a conclusion in the near future. The PACC supports competitive bidding for well-defined projects done in a public venue.

Street Improvement: The PACC supports the City and County public works departments to develop and implement a road maintenance and -2- replacement program. The PACC supports the City of Petaluma in seeking the appropriate funding sources (i.e. regional, state, federal). The PACC encourages the City to develop and implement a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Solid Waste Recycling & Disposal: Waste disposal and treatment are the concerns of everyone in the public and private sectors. Government should act decisively to provide necessary new disposal facilities for hazardous and non-hazardous wastes, and to recycle and reclaim wastes where possible. Business and government should adopt best management practices to reduce waste and to use recycled and reclaimed products. Emphasis should be placed on pollution prevention and source reduction while being considerate of the effect of site placement and growth of treatment centers upon the economic well being and health of persons living in adjacent communities. The cost of treatment and disposal of wastes should be shared by the entities producing the waste in such a way as to balance the benefits provided to the public of the activities producing the waste against the cost of disposing of the waste.

Utilities: The PACC encourages the City to support the most advanced delivery of public services possible. The PACC encourages the City to maintain and plan for adequate service to support future business development. When possible, the PACC would support the laying of the most advanced systems to support the growth of our high-tech companies and to allow our businesses and homes to achieve the latest technical advances.

The Petaluma Chamber of Commerce supports Petaluma zoning ordinances, regulations, and a land use plan that provides for a balance of business, housing and other community interests and:

  • Creates a balanced, diverse and economically sustainable community.

  • Preserves surrounding agricultural and open space lands. Supports the City and the County in preserving the agriculture industry, to provide incentives for continuing the existing land use and to acquire development rights on key open space lands.

  • Enables City, County and property owners to work together to provide open space, conservation of natural resources, river access and enhancement, and parks. When feasible, the legal agency should purchase lands for the benefit of the public.

  • Provides land use decisions which are consistent with the Airport Land Use Plan.

  • Maintains adequate land supply for a range of housing inventory to meet the needs of Petalumans at all economic levels. A reasonable growth management policy should be updated and maintained to meet the current and future needs of the community and its business employment base.

  • Allows for the efficient and denser use of industrial, office, retail, and mixed use and for the continued expansion and diversity of employment and economic development.

  • Provides policies and regulations which are clearly written and consistently applied.

  • Represents businesses as well as residential and other community interests to insure that all zoning decisions are well balanced.

  • Addresses potential traffic impacts and considers alternative transportation methods including the use of public transit, rail, bicycles and car pools.

  • Allows for the timely processing of development applications and conditional use permits.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce supports the use by municipalities and the County of paid, full-time police and fire personnel. Staffing and equipping of police and fire departments should reflect the needs of the entire community, and the hiring and training of such personnel should be cooperatively and aggressively pursued. Local governmental jurisdictions should encourage the provision of emergency medical services by providers who utilize modern technology and qualitative management practices, and provide service at competitive prices.

The Chamber encourages public safety agencies to provide, where appropriate, ongoing training to community members in fire, crime and other hazard prevention or avoidance, and in such self-help activities as first aid, fire suppression calling for public safety assistance, etc.

The PACC supports the development of community and neighborhood parks, indoor recreational facilities, and diversified recreational programs that provide opportunities and services to meet the needs of the Petaluma Community.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the unique contributions that our environment brings to the quality of life in Petaluma and the greater Petaluma Area.

The Chamber seeks to further enhance the quality of life of all Petalumans while sustaining this unique environment for the benefit of future generations. A strong, free market local economy is necessary in order to provide the resources that are required now and will be required in the future.

The Chamber therefore embraces the concept of sustainable economy/community by supporting business and governmental proposals that are economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally aware. The PACC encourages all community members and our local government to evaluate the sustainability of their projects and activities on an ongoing basis. As an integral part of sustainability, we encourage everyone to endeavor to conserve, recycle and reuse our scarce natural resources.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes redevelopment within existing urban areas should take priority over the expansion of existing urban areas so as to (1) prevent or address decay in the center of urban areas, and (2) maintain the vitality of existing urban centers. The productive reuse of existing urban land and space resources should take precedence over the conversion of rural land and space resources to urban use. Zoning and building code ordinances should be structured to accommodate and encourage this type of redevelopment.

Redevelopment is driven by the economic and physical needs of the local community. Private and Private/Public partnerships should be enabled and encouraged.

The PACC will continue to support and actively participate in discussions with the City Redevelopment Agency and the Petaluma Community Development Commission (PCDC) in the implementation of a redevelopment strategy.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce supports fair and equitable service based fees/taxes balanced between the business and residential community. We support fees in which there is a direct correlation to the benefits received or the services provided by the City of Petaluma and are consistent with the fee structures of neighboring communities.

We encourage the economic foresight of budgeting a replacement reserve for the community infrastructure. We believe new development should incur the incremental costs of the services it requires.

The PACC will continue to support and work with the City of Petaluma, and other community stakeholders, on the completion of an Economic Analysis for our community.The PACC will continue to encourage the completion of this document during the early phase of the General Plan update. We will continue to offer the City of Petaluma the expertise of our members and encourage a cooperative exchange of ideas and information.

The PACC supports a user-friendly budget format. We encourage quarterly variance reports to assist the City in monitoring the economic performance of the community. We support the prioritization of the City's five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

The PACC will continue to support the City of Petaluma with its lobbying efforts to attract additional County, State and Federal funding for our community.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce supports the enhancement and preservation of the Petaluma River as a valued resource to the community of Petaluma. PACC should promote the Petaluma River as:

  • A navigable channel for commerce and tourism,

  • A multi-use waterfront,

  • A healthy ecosystem and wildlife habitat,

  • A recreational and educational treasure, and

  • To provide a forum for the local community to receive and exchange information relevant to the Petaluma River; to consider concerns such as laws, regulations, the environment, dredging, flood control, history, preservation, enhancement, waterfront businesses, development, boating tourism, and any other aspects pertaining to the Petaluma River.


Sustainability simply means the ability to continue over time. The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce believes that for businesses to retain profitability and enhance further growth, they must learn to operate more efficiently with increasingly limited natural resources. In business practices, sustainability can be characterized by the harmonizing of three elements:

  • Economic viability,

  • Environmental health, and

  • Social responsibility

As a matter of policy, the PACC believes that there need be no conflict between commercial profits and environmental health. For businesses, this offers significant economic and developmental opportunities.

The PACC recognizes that adopting sustainable business practices is an evolutionary process, requiring that companies move forward in small steps while maintaining and/or improving their profitability.

The PACC will support and encourage businesses to use sustainability principles in their planning and investment strategies, so as to increase their long-term economic viability and competitive advantage and, at the same time, decrease the demand on our limited natural resources. The PACC will also encourage governmental action that supports sustainable business practices.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce endorses the Mission Statement of the Petaluma Visitors Program…"to develop and promote programs which market the Petaluma Area as a visitor destination in order to improve the overall economic climate."

We support the policy of the City of Petaluma to re-invest Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) dollars in destination marketing in order to capture our share of visitors, and to plan continued market share expansion.

PACC, and its Petaluma Visitors Program, will continue to foster a cooperative and competitive marketing atmosphere that will increase visitor spending at Petaluma businesses and attractions.


The Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce supports safe, timely and cost-effective transportation policies and measures that ensure the ability of residents and visitors to travel within the area and of commerce to be conducted efficiently.

In support of the Chamber's belief and support in a strong local economy, we endorse the following statements concerning transportation in Sonoma County.

1. Highway 101 is the main artery and primary route though Sonoma County. It should be expanded to six lanes from Windsor to the South Sonoma County line and brought up to current standards. On and off ramps should be retrofitted or constructed for safety and to serve the increased capacity. The PACC supports and will encourage a higher priority be given to the widening of the Petaluma River Bridge than the widening of the 101 corridor from Cotati south to the Petaluma River Bridge, to avoid a bottleneck at the Bridge.
2. The PACC supports the expeditious construction of a cross town connector and an additional highway interchange.
3. Within Petaluma, we support the improvements of existing impacted intersections.
4. Implementation of a long range transportation plan for the County is strongly encouraged. All studies required to make key decisions have been funded and should now be acted upon.
5. All potential funding sources should be sought to implement a County plan, including the possibility of a countywide sales tax to enhance a combined transportation system for Sonoma County.
6. Northwestern Pacific Railroad right of way, now in public ownership, is an important component in the mass transit plan for Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties. We encourage the continued use of the rail line for commercial freight, excursion use, commuter and passenger use.
7. Continuing attention should be given to incentives for reducing single-occupancy vehicle usage at peak traffic hours. Examples are encouraging carpooling and implementation of the county TSM (Transportation System Management) programs, telecommuting, and staggered work hours.
8. Transit usage, including intra-city options designed to accommodate businesses and local business persons, should be studied and encouraged. Other alternatives to single occupancy in vehicles, such as bicycles, paratransit and pedestrian walkways should be encouraged.
9. The Petaluma River should be addressed as one component of the transportation system. This includes continuing advocacy of Federal, State and City funding for the dredging of the Petaluma River. Continuing efforts should be made to support, encourage, and promote the River for commercial and recreational uses.
10. Air transportation should be addressed as defined in the Transportation Element of the Sonoma County General Plan and Petaluma General Plan.
11. Local streets and roads must be improved and maintained for safety, congestion, and flow, with particular focus on Highway 116, including compatibility of surface streets at rail crossings, etc.