A proposed $40 million housing development next door to the Carrillo Adobe - the birthplace of Santa Rosa - got tentative approval Tuesday from the City Council.
The council, taking what was described as a straw vote, gave unanimous support to a plan that includes 140 condominiums, plus 25 apartments for low-income senior citizens, on 14.8 acres across from the Montgomery Village shopping center.
City Attorney Brien Farrell said a final vote will be taken Dec. 6, providing time for the city to refine its environmental findings in case of a lawsuit.
The Sonoma County Historical Society had threatened to sue the city if it approved the housing project, arguing that it would destroy the historical and cultural integrity of the Carrillo Adobe site.
The land east of St. Eugene's Cathedral on Montgomery Drive is home to two deteriorating mud brick walls, the remains of Santa Rosa's first home. It was built in 1837 by Do? Maria Carrillo, her sons and Indian laborers.
After the council voted, Tony Hoskins, president of the Historical Society, said he is uncertain what his group will do next. "We're going to think about it," he said.
A spokesman for the developers said they hope to begin construction in the spring.
The council vote came at the end of a three-hour hearing and followed several impassioned pleas to protect the entire 14.8-acre site because of its historical value.
Ernest Hoaglin Jr., who described himself as a full-blooded Indian, urged the council to leave undisturbed a site he considers sacred.
While the adobe has occupied the land since 1837, it also is believed to have been a prehistoric Southern Pomo village that may contain a burial ground.