Santa Rosa townhouse project in Fountaingrove cleared for construction

Construction is expected to begin in April; the homes will be priced in $600,000 range.|

The biggest new housing development in a Santa Rosa neighborhood torched by the Tubbs fire in October 2017 has been cleared by city officials to start construction.

The Santa Rosa Design Review Board on Thursday gave final design approval for the Round Barn Village, a 237-unit townhouse project in the Fountaingrove neighborhood.

San Francisco developer City Ventures plans to build and sell the three-story, three- to four-bedroom townhomes on a 40-acre tract. They are expected to have price tags in the $600,000 range. Twelve of them will be priced below market levels to make them more affordable.

Construction is expected to begin in April. Sales would start in the fall, with the first owners expected to move in during the summer of 2020, City Ventures’ development director Charity Wagner said Friday.

This final go-ahead for the development came almost a year after City Council approved the project. Council members initially hesitated because of concerns about building in a hillside area in the northern part of the city prone to wildfires.

The city design board gave preliminary approval to the project in November but asked City Ventures for numerous changes to make the Round Barn Village more visually appealing. Specifically, board members asked the developer for: a detailed landscape plan; a depiction of the project’s swimming pool and other amenities; simpler architecture on some building elements; a lighting plan; enhanced paving at crosswalks; and stronger accent colors.

City Ventures’ updated proposal, presented last week by Wagner, was met with overwhelming approval from design board members.

“I’ve been here historically for the entire project, and what was exactly asked of you in the last submittal was really given,” said board vice chair Warren Hedgpeth, praising examples of the proposal’s attention to detail. “This is the most compliant package we have ever seen for what we’ve asked for.”

Board member Eric Goldschlag said Round Barn Village could provide much-needed housing for employers in Fountaingrove such as Medtronic, which owns the land where the homes will be built.

A number of nearby properties were hit by the October fires, which destroyed the landmark Fountaingrove Round Barn along with more than 1,500 homes and businesses in Fountaingrove.

“I’d like to see shovels in the ground as soon as you can,” he told Wagner.

The Round Barn Village project is City Ventures’ third here, following Fox Hollow and Reserve in Santa Rosa.

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