Developer seeks to add units to downtown Santa Rosa apartment project

The developer of DeTurk Winery Village now wants 240 units in his West End project, a 30 percent increase over what the city approved in May.|

The developer of a large apartment complex in downtown Santa Rosa is hoping for permission to pack even more apartments into the project.

Rick Derringer won approval in May to build 185 apartments on a large industrial property along the railroad tracks in the city’s West End neighborhood.

His four-story DeTurk Winery Village project was already one of the largest apartment projects planned for the downtown area. Now he’s hoping to add more units into the project, boosting the number of proposed apartments by 30 percent to 240.

Derringer is holding a neighborhood meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the DeTurk Round Barn to discuss his proposed changes.

“The city wants density and affordability, and this project provides more density and affordability,” Derringer said.

The project has undergone several iterations in the more than a decade since Derringer acquired the property. The effort has been complicated - and controversial - in part because it involves reuse of a historic building.

Isaac DeTurk built two brick winery buildings on the property beginning in 1879, later constructing the neighboring round barn that has been preserved by the city and serves as the heart of the West End neighborhood. State law requires the character of historic buildings be preserved as part of any development project.

Derringer said the extra units will be built in a part of the project that had been slated for ?15,000 square feet of commercial space. The change, which was necessitated in part because lenders had some concerns about the commercial component, will have limited effect on the exterior of the building, he said.

It’s not clear the city will allow that many units on the property. The 185 apartments were already 35 percent more than what the underlying zoning for the property would typically allow.

Adding a number of affordable units allowed Derringer to take advantage of a 35 percent “density bonus,” the maximum the city allows.

State law allows density bonuses of up to 100 percent for affordable projects, and Derringer wants the city to boost the percentages it allows.

The city in May asked its planning consulting firm, M Group, to analyze boosting the city’s density bonus levels, something that is called for in the city’s Housing Action Plan, supervising planner Jessica Jones said.

The expansion of the DeTurk project would not be allowed unless and until the city changes its local bonus level, something that couldn’t happen until later this year, Jones said.

As yet, there is no public timeline for development of the project.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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