Reasons to postpone
EDITOR: Why did Sunday’s Chanate complex article (“Stakes high for project”) include Supervisor Shirlee Zane’s “very sad” quote and fail to mention the reasons that her “so many bright, educated people” are opposed to her deal as negotiated?
— The last public hearing, on a significantly different vision, was in October 2015. The supervisors then spent 16 months in closed sessions designing a 190-page project description and terms of sale that they posted 14 days before today’s vote.
— Bill Gallaher’s potential gain is enormous. The refurbished 495-unit Enclave property in Petaluma recently sold for $144.5 million. The Gallagher project might be valued at $300 million-plus in the international market for well-located and politically safe income property.
— Taxpayers countywide will pay more and lose public services. Supervisor David Rabbitt told us that Petaluma loses money on its median-priced $550,000 houses; a $1.1 million house is a break-even for city finances. If the county, schools and other public agencies receive too little in permit fees and property taxes, they will be forced to reduce public services. Development that is subsidized by the taxpayers at the expense of road maintenance, eroded school budgets, reduced public health care and lost sales tax revenue is a bad deal.
A 90-day suspension of today’s vote to commit to the sale of this property isn’t too much to ask.
Redirecting bed taxes
EDITOR: I was very pleased to learn that some of the new bed tax money was going to be spent on roads and other things, rather than on more advertising of Sonoma County as a “destination” (“County may redirect bed tax,” Wednesday). Our county is already very well known as a destination throughout the country and even across the globe. We have become famous for our wines and artisan beers and, now, being adjacent to the Emerald Triangle, will attract even more visitors to our beautiful county.
I hope that even more of that tax money will be redirected from the Tourism Bureau to our roads, and I imagine that most everyone who lives in Sonoma County will agree with me.
EDITOR: After reading Sunday’s article about the former Community Hospital site on Chanate Road, I’m thinking here we go again. This is about what has been described as in-fill — developing vacant land throughout cities without taking into account the already chronically overburdened road system, which has not kept up with growth over the 27 years we have lived here.
I was looking for any mention of upgrading Chanate Road to accommodate the heavier traffic load. But there was none. Better sooner than later, the city of Santa Rosa will have to face the fact that we have a serious traffic congestion problem that needs to be dealt with.
Make a better deal
EDITOR: This concerns the mostly detailed article on the sale of the Chanate property for much needed rental-housing. I say mostly because Staff Writer J.D. Morris made only a single mention of a huge concern by many in our community, “a group of medical professionals is deeply worried about losing the health care facilities on a site that was the epicenter of such services in the county for decades.”