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Santa Rosa women's shelter set to expand

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday tentatively approved a controversial women's homeless shelter expansion as long as the project avoids rankling neighbors with noise and traffic.

The board voted 5-0 to support Redwood Gospel Mission growing from 30 to 50 beds if it meets a number of conditions to ease concerns about neighborhood impacts.

County planners will craft the conditions, and the board is expected to formally approve the project Oct. 8.

"We're very happy and encouraged by this," said Jeff Gilman, executive director of Redwood Gospel Mission, which operates The Rose shelter on Wildrose Drive in a pocket of county land surrounded by west Santa Rosa.

Neighbors raised concerns that adding 20 beds to the two-thirds of an acre site would add noise, traffic and ruin the calm of the neighborhood.

The board will review the project one year after the shelter expands and could revoke its use permit if it doesn't comply with the conditions.

About 40 supporters of the shelter filled the board chambers, some with large, colorful paper roses pinned to their chest.

A group of about a dozen residents turned out, and some, such as David McGillicuddy, voiced concerns that adding more homeless women to the site would put a strain on the neighborhood.

"Enough is enough," he said. "The place had 30 beds. That's enough. Fifty is too many. It's a quiet neighborhood and it needs to stay that way."

Gilman said that the expanded site would accommodate 20 women from the mission's program for women recovering from addiction who currently live at a facility known as Manna House in northwest Santa Rosa.

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