Santa Rosa City Council appears skeptical of Coddingtown SMART train rezoning plan

A plan to rezone land around the future Coddingtown SMART train station heads to the Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday where a skeptical reception may await it.

The plan seeks to encourage higher-density housing around the Guerneville Road station, make it easy for people to get to and from the planned station and generally improve the neighborhood's economy and quality of life.

But council members are likely to pepper city planners with questions about how improvements ever will get funded and how major property owners, such as Coddingtown mall, will be affected.

"This plan is aggressive and far reaching, and in that reach I don't believe all of the affected parties and the nature of those effects have been fully determined," Vice Mayor John Sawyer said.

The $500,000 North Station Area Plan is the companion document to a plan passed in 2007 to guide development around the downtown Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit station eyed for Railroad Square.

Together the plans aim to steer the city away from the auto-dependent lifestyle that has dominated the state since World War II and toward a more sustainable, transit-oriented society.

The idea is to get more people living in and around the station to support ridership for the $360 million train system and to build the infrastructure that will make it easy for people to get to the station by bicycle, foot and car.

The North Station Area Plan, largely funded by grants, won praise from the city Planning Commission, which passed it unanimously earlier this month after some changes.

By increasing the potential housing densities on 1,319 properties in a half-mile circle around the Coddingtown station, the plan envisions adding 2,941 housing units and more than a million square feet of office, retail and industrial space to the area.

All told, the city sees 6,000 jobs being created in the area, which stretches down to West College Avenue, and east of Highway 101 to include Santa Rosa Junior College.

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