Cloverdale's planned southward growth stirs debate

  • 5/12/2007:B1: A request from Asti Winery sparked Cloverdale's interest in stretching its boundary farther south. The business wants city sewer service.

    PC: 1 of 1--Historic vaults at Asti Winery, Asti, Ca. May 11, 2007 Press Democrat / Jeff Kan Lee

Four years after Cloverdale voters approved the eventual extension of city limits southward to Asti, the debate continues as to whether the city overreached.

The Urban Growth Boundary approved by voters in 2010 — the last for all cities in Sonoma — extends to the small community of Asti, about two miles south of Cloverdale, taking in the site of the historic Italian Swiss Colony winery.

The new growth boundary was supported by 57 percent of the voters, who put aside fear of sprawl and loss of agricultural lands if the city spread that far south.

But some of the old concerns linger as the city prepares to have its adjusted sphere of influence approved at 2 p.m. Wednesday by the Sonoma County Local Agency Formation Commission.

"There are still people in Cloverdale that believe the UGB was too aggressive in extending to Asti," City Manager Paul Cayler said Friday. "Another group believes Asti has traditionally been linked to Cloverdale."

The Greenbelt Alliance, which promotes city-centered, compact growth, approved the growth boundary but had reservations about the sprawl that could ensue by extending city utilities to Asti, Rains Creek and an industrial area.

"The main concern for us is when you bring properties into the sphere of influence, you also bring water and sewer to these areas," said Lana Russell-Hurd, regional representative for the Greenbelt Alliance.

"They're really primed for development and push for speculative development in those areas," she said, adding that there are also concerns about additional pressures on the city's strained water supply.

But Mayor Carol Russell said the city has studied very carefully its planned future boundaries and its ability to service the new territory.

"I'm as concerned as anybody else we grow intelligently. I'm not looking for sprawl," Russell said.

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