Windsor Council considers asking voters to reaffirm growth boundary
Two decades ago, amid debate over how fast and far the town should grow, Windsor voters approved an urban boundary intended to curb sprawl, preserve agricultural land and maintain the open space that separates it from neighboring cities.
At the time the urban growth boundary - a sharp line showing how far the town can expand - was controversial because it deleted 273 acres outside the city north of Arata Lane that the Town Council had previously designated for future low-density housing.
“Development forces were very strong and Windsor had just incorporated,” Councilwoman Deb Fudge recalled Tuesday. “We had 1,800 homes in the pipeline and developers wanted to put 800 more north of Arata. There was seemingly no end to housing development in Windsor.”
The growth boundary ended up being approved overwhelmingly by 72 percent of voters, but it also had a 20-year life span, and now is due to expire at the end of next year.
The Town Council Wednesday is scheduled to discuss renewing the boundary, and direct staff to prepare a ballot measure that could come before voters in November's presidential election. The council also could seek voter approval for the boundary in a special election next year, or wait until the November 2017 general election.
The council also is considering proposals with terms of 20 years and 22 years. The latter would coincide with the time frame of the town's general plan, the blueprint for land use and zoning that is currently being revised.
All cities in Sonoma County have voter-approved urban growth boundaries, with Cloverdale the last to adopt one in 2010. The boundaries are seen as a way to induce compact, pedestrian-oriented development close to train and bus routes.
In a Windsor community survey last year, only one-third of the respondents said they had some familiarity with the growth boundary. Once they were provided with a definition - that the measure strengthens greenbelt protections around Windsor - more than 75 percent of respondents indicated the town should extend the rules another 20 years.
In essence, the same boundary is being proposed with some small changes.
Two businesses with land on Shiloh Road have asked to be included in a revised growth boundary so they can be annexed to Windsor in the future.
One is ATP Group, a wine industry supplier, which wants to expand its existing facilities at 1230 Shiloh Road onto an adjacent 2.5-acre parcel outside the growth boundary.
Waterworks Industries, which recently bought the property owned by the late rancher Vic Pozzi at 1264 and 1364 Shiloh Road, is making a similar request in order to locate its offices there and possibly accommodate an expansion of Santa Rosa Junior College's public safety training center as well.
Also, officials at the Sonoma Country Day School at 4400 Day School Place have asked about the possibility of separating from the town so that all of their property is in county jurisdiction outside the growth boundary.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@clarkmas.