Officials hope to learn from history on Roseland annexation

The committee exploring how Santa Rosa can annex the 600-acre Roseland neighborhood in the southwest part of the city is hoping to sidestep the pitfalls that doomed a similar effort six years ago.

The joint committee of city and county leaders agreed during its first public meeting Thursday that it would be wise to revisit history to avoid repeating it.

"I'd sure like to know where this thing went off the rails before," Mayor Scott Bartley said. "I just want to make sure we don't inadvertently step into the same problem we've had in the past."

The previous effort stalled in 2008 when the city and county couldn't agree on the funding of new services to the area, particularly public safety, and whether a separate high revenue area also could also be annexed to defray those costs.

"The county is every bit to blame as the city in terms of not annexing," Supervisor Shirlee Zane said. "If you want to talk blame, it has to go all around."

Holding a history lesson at a future meeting is one of the many suggestions that came out of the committee's first meeting, which was meant largely as an overview of what the city has sketched out as a four-year, four-pronged planning process.

Breaking up the work into four distinct but interrelated efforts makes sense because it keeps each group focused on its task, Bartley said.

"We increase our chances of success this time because we're not trying to deal with every issue around the same table," he said.

The four processes are: the grant-funded transportation planning work underway now; a comprehensive analysis of the community's needs that is expected to begin in May; the joint committee's negotiations over how to pay for those new services; and the annexation process required by Sonoma's Local Area Formation Commission, expected to be completed by late 2017.

County officials again raised concerns about the city's proposed timeline. Last month Supervisor Efren Carrillo urged the city to move more swiftly, and Zane stressed the point again Thursday.

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