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Santa Rosa sends 200-plus home development in Roseland back to negotiating table

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A development calling for more than 200 new homes in southwest Santa Rosa is headed back to the drawing board.

The City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday night to send the proposed Dutton Meadows subdivision back to the Planning Commission, which voted against the project in February.

City staff took the rare stance of opposing the housing project, based on concerns about how the developer, San Ramon-based Trumark Homes, planned to build nearby roads in conflict with the city’s vision for the area.

The council’s move gives city staff and Trumark more time to negotiate the layout of future roads connecting the project’s 130 two-story homes and 81 secondary units to the rest of the city. It also allows Santa Rosa’s elected officials to avoid shooting down a large housing project, which the city has generally welcomed with open arms as it seeks to create new places to live and rebuild from the October 2017 fires, which destroyed roughly 3,000 homes in the city.

City planners didn’t object to the new housing — located on about 18.5 acres near the intersection of Hearn Avenue and Dutton Meadow — but to Trumark’s plans for building out local roads significantly different from older city plans envisioned for the greater Roseland area. Trumark’s position, which did not budge Tuesday, is that Santa Rosa’s preferred street alignment removes the potential for 52 homes, which prevents the project from penciling out.

“There is no way that this comes back to this council in a substantively similar form and still gets approval” without changes to the city’s overarching plan for future development, said Vice Mayor Chris Rogers. The city aims to overhaul this plan over the next several years.

The proposed subdivision would have 32 of its secondary units designated affordable under city guidelines. It would be surrounded by other single-family homes to the north and south, undeveloped land to the east, and the Meadow View Elementary School to the west.

Trumark’s current blueprints call for a future extension of Northpoint Parkway to connect at a right angle with Dutton Meadow, creating a signalized intersection near the southeast corner of school property.

That doesn’t fit with the city’s plan for area streets, which call for Northpoint Parkway to curve northeast, connecting with Dutton Meadow north of the school and creating a four-way intersection with a future connection between Dutton Meadow and Dutton Avenue. City planners said they were concerned the project’s roadway alignment could lead to negative impacts on traffic in the area.

Garrett Hinds, Trumark’s director of architecture, made the case that Santa Rosa needed the new housing, that Trumark needed to build out under its current plan, and that the project would be necessary to alleviate congestion.

“For better or worse, Trumark and our 19 acres is the hub of this circulation plan,” Hinds said. “Without a feasible development, your circulation plan cannot be built.”

The city approved an earlier version of the project featuring a different traffic plan in 2006, but Trumark abandoned the project with the onset of the recession.

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

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