Two major southwest Santa Rosa developments set for review

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A landmark Roseland project featuring new housing and public space is poised to move forward while another nearby planned subdivision appears stalled ahead of hearings before the Santa Rosa Planning Commission this week.

The commission will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to consider the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center project and the Dutton Meadows subdivision in southwest Santa Rosa. The two projects combined could create up to 386 new housing units in the least developed corner of Santa Rosa.

Trumark Homes initially proposed building more than 100 townhomes on about 18 acres it bought nearly two decades ago near Hearn Avenue and Dutton Meadow, a project the city approved in 2006. However, the San Ramon-based developer abandoned the project because of the recession.

Environmental studies already were taken care of, he said, but “the project never penciled” out, said Robin Miller, Trumark Homes planning director. The Dutton Meadows project was revived after the 2017 wildfires, he said.

The current proposal calls for up to 130 single-family homes and 81 detached secondary housing units, with about 20 of the homes designated as affordable housing.

The current design would be financially feasible for Trumark, Miller said. If it doesn’t go forward, Santa Rosa would “lose 211 home opportunities.”

Santa Rosa made housing a top priority even before the 2017 fires, which wiped out 5 percent of the city’s housing stock. The City Council has passed a battery of new measures meant to make the city more attractive to housing developers, particularly those who wanted to build downtown apartment towers.

But concerns about how Trumark’s current project could impact traffic in the future led city staff to oppose it.

It’s rare for staff members to recommend denying a project on the Planning Commission’s agenda.

Typically, developers meet with city planners to resolve potential issues before public hearings.

Amy Nicholson, a city planner, said traffic engineering staffers were “very concerned” with Trumark’s new vision of how roads should be built in the Roseland area. The current project calls for developing a three-way intersection at Dutton Meadow and a future extension of Northpoint Parkway just south of Meadow View Elementary School. Previous city plans called for an intersection to the north of the school and with a different trajectory to allow for faster traffic speeds.

Staffers concluded the infrastructure revisions would be felt well beyond the project area, Nicholson said.

“This is really a big change to a region that needs to be evaluated at a higher level,” she said.

City staff members met with Trumark’s representatives several times to discuss their concerns about the project before Thursday’s hearing was scheduled.

“There didn’t really seem to be a compromise,” Nicholson said. Miller echoed the sentiment.

A mile to the north, the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center appears to have a smoother path forward.

The Sebastopol Road development would include 175 apartments, 75 of which would be reserved for low-income tenants. Tentative plans going before the Planning Commission also call for a 1-acre public plaza, a “civic building” that could house the Roseland library branch, and a food mercado on about 7½ acres owned by the county’s Community Development Commission.

The plan’s substantial low-income housing component allows the CDC’s master developer, Foster City-based MidPen Housing Corp., to request three concessions from the city: allowing the 100 market-rate apartments to be built first and in separate buildings from the affordable units, and only requiring 324 parking spots, 69 fewer than the 393 that otherwise would be required.

City staff members recommend the Planning Commission approve the requested incentives because they don’t harm the environment or historical property, create a public safety issue or run afoul of the law.

The overall tentative plans for the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center also have staff’s support.

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @wsreports.

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