Northpoint Corporate Center, a 250-acre business park in southwest Santa Rosa, is home to 20 of the city’s largest businesses, including Amy’s Kitchen, JDS Uniphase and a new Kaiser Permanente medical office building.
But the business park has started attracting a new type of tenant.
Homeless people are parking RVs, trailers and cars along the streets of the business park, seeking a quiet, safe place to sleep in their vehicles at night. Many were pushed out of other longstanding encampments in Roseland and along the Joe Rodota Trail earlier this year after the City of Santa Rosa implemented a new homeless policy that prioritized clearing out camps.
Their presence in the business park just south of Sebastopol Road has revived the debate over how to serve the region’s homeless people, who need a place to stay and access to services, while balancing the rights and concerns of property owners.
Starting last fall, after the October wildfires, a handful of people with no other place to go began parking their vehicles in the business park, according to Keith Woods, president of the Northpoint Corporate Center Owner’s Association. Within the past month, the RVs and trailers have been showing up in larger numbers, and now more than 30 vehicles are parked within the center’s boundaries.
Many of the people living in their vehicles were pushed out of downtown Santa Rosa in late May after an encampment along the Joe Rodota Trail was cleaned out in late May.
Ikedia Jones lives in an RV parked on Apollo Way, where friends drop by to visit her throughout the day. Sometimes she cooks for them in her RV, which was given to her by a friend after she was evicted from a camp near the Joe Rodota Trail last month.
Jones said she has been moved five times since she became homeless six months ago — adrift in a city with no sanctioned outdoor camping.
“Until the city decides that they’re going to give us a place where we can be, we’re going to be wherever we can,” Jones said.
Property owners met June 27, and the No. 1 topic of conversation was “the issue across the street,” according to Woods.
It was a minor problem at first, but over the past couple of months the number of vehicles parked along the business center’s streets has risen sharply, said Woods, who is also the CEO of the North Coast Builders Exchange, a construction trade association based at Northpoint. Tempers have flared, both among people who work in the business park and homeless people who are sleeping in their cars, he said.
“We all expressed our sympathy for their circumstances and life, but now it’s affecting our area,” Woods said. “We’re going to need help from our city.”
Property owners took issue with excessive garbage and littering, unsanctioned barbecues and public urination. Several said their employees frequently felt unsafe when leaving the office after dark or while walking around on the center’s sidewalks. In one instance, campers used trees for hatchet-throwing practice, according to Woods.
Santa Rosa police Lt. Mike Lazzarini said that officers have been called to the corporate center every day to deal with complaints from property owners and management.
“It’s a continuation of what’s been at the Joe Rodota Trail and we have such a history of it here in this town,” Lazzarini said.
County roads scheduled for improvements this summer
Dutcher Creek Road from Dry Creek Road to Cloverdale city limit
Geysers Road from Highway 128 to Red Winery Road
Ludwig Avenue from Llano Road to South Wright Road
Lytton Springs Road from Dry Creek Road to Healdsburg Avenue
Mill Station Road from Occidental Road to Highway 116
Watertrough Road from Pleasant Hill Road to Bodega Highway
Adobe Road from East Washington Street to Frates Road
D Street from previously overlay to Petaluma city limit
Napa Road from Eighth Street East to Highway 12/121
Old Redwood Highway from Windsor town limit to Healdsburg city limit
Porter Creek Road between Cresta Road and Wilson Road
Adobe Road from Corona Road to East Washington Street
Lakeville Road from Highway 37 to Old Lakeville Road #2
Mark West Springs Road from Ursuline Road east for 3.5 miles
Occidental Road from Highway 116 to Santa Rosa city limits
Petaluma Boulevard North from Petaluma city limit to Petaluma River bridge
River Road from Rio Nido Bridge to Trenton Road
5th Street West from Leveroni Road to Sonoma city limit
Arnold Drive from Leveroni Road to Craig Avenue
Cazadero Highway from Highway 116 to near Austin Creek Road
Boyes Boulevard from Arnold Drive to Highway 12
Lovall Valley Road from Fourth Street East to Lovall Valley Road
Adobe Road from Frates Road to Highway 116
Brooks Avenue from Bucks Road to East Robles Road
Bucks Road from Santa Rosa Avenue to Brooks Avenue
Crocker Road from River Road to Cloverdale city limit
El Dorado Drive from Los Banos to Riverside Drive
Healdsburg Avenue from Healdsburg city limit to Alexander Valley Road
River Road from Big Sulphur Creek Bridge to Geysers Road
River Road from Crocker Road to Big Sulphur Creek Bridge
Stony Point Road from Petaluma city limit to Rainsville Road