Cloverdale seeks to incorporate Asti

  • An old Southern Pacific train sits on the Asti Winery property, July 1, 2010.

Cloverdale wants to extend its southern border by two miles to take in bucolic Asti — but it's far from a sure thing.

The City Council in Sonoma County's northernmost city favors the annexation, which would take in the historic Asti Winery and hundreds of acres of land to the south of the city. But voters must also be convinced, along with the agency that approves such incorporations.

"Going to Asti appears to be a bit of a reach," said Sonoma County Supervisor Paul Kelley, whose district encompasses the Cloverdale area.

"The major question is, &‘is it growth-inducing? Is it sprawl?'" said Richard Bottarini, executive officer for the Sonoma County Local Agency Formation Commission, the body that approves annexations.

"We will have to review very carefully how they plan on completing this plan of theirs," he said.

Cloverdale officials have gone to lengths to assure skeptics that extending city boundaries to take in Asti will not gobble up vineyards or lead to unsightly development.

This week, the City Council completed a general plan amendment to clarify the proposed urban growth boundary. It is intended to make Asti part of Cloverdale, but preserve agriculture and allow only new winery-related uses there.

"We wanted to be absolutely sure there will not be a strip mall, a fast food outlet, some tacky, something-or-other built there," said Mayor Carol Russell.

The council's stated reason for taking in Asti is to give the winery the option to receive city sewer and water lines, which would allow it to grow and add jobs.

Asti Winery officials say they want the ability to expand, and Cloverdale council members don't want to risk losing the company and the 60 jobs it provides.

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