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Sebastopol defers $505,000 in fees for cannery district developer

The Sebastopol city council has agreed to defer the payment of $505,000 in development fees in an attempt to boost creation of The Barlow, a proposed mixed-use project in Sebastopol's old cannery area,

Developer Bernard Aldridge is proposing to revitalize the defunct Barlow apple processing plant by creating 220,000 square feet of space for artist studios, a winery and food and beverage start-ups, along with a bocce court, children's playground, public restrooms and a farmers market.

It is seen as a potential boon to Sebastopol business and provide infrastructure improvements the city could not otherwise afford.

"It occupies a large area and the Barlow property has been substantially vacant for years now and contributing nothing to the local economy," said planning director Kenyon Webster. "The remodeling of the complex and the co-op property next door is going to create a real opportunity for new businesses and for business activity in a place that has had little in recent years."

As part of the development, Aldridge plans to extend McKinley Street to Morris Street, which would cost $1.8 million. Other improvements include curbs and gutters, sidewalks, landscaping and street lights.

The City Council unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday in which Aldridge would pay $50,000 during the early stages of getting a business permit. The remaining $455,000 in fees would be paid over five years in monthly payments of $7,583.33, beginning when the development is 75 percent occupied or on Oct. 1, 2012, whichever comes first.


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