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Windsor approves Bell Village development

Site of the Bell Village development in Windsor


It looks as if Windsor is finally going to get a supermarket on the west side of town.

Oliver’s Market is planning to open a store near Windsor’s Town Green as part of a large commercial-residential project approved Wednesday by the Town Council.

“We have a letter of intent with Oliver’s Market to be the anchor for the grocery store. It’s fantastic,” said Jeff Civian, the project civil engineer for Bell Village, one of the biggest developments proposed in Windsor for years.

A new grocery store next to Windsor’s Town Green has been something town officials have sought for awhile, as a convenience for nearby residents and to help bring more business to the Town Green Village shops.

“There’s excitement you are in town. You will see us as your customers,” Mayor Debora Fudge told Oliver’s officials before the council unanimously approved Bell Village.

There are two supermarkets — Safeway and Raley’s — on the other side of the freeway, but no comparably-sized grocery stores in Windsor west of Highway 101.

“I think Windsor needs some choices. The choices here are pretty limited,” Oliver’s General Manager Tom Scott said after the meeting. “We think it’s an exciting project. We think we can do a good job for the town.”

The Sonoma County-based Oliver’s has two stores in Santa Rosa and one in Cotati and touts its natural, conventional and gourmet products, with an emphasis on buying from local companies.

While council members expressed excitement over Oliver’s, they shared qualms with planning commissioners about the orientation of the proposed store and other buildings and how they fit into the pedestrian-oriented downtown.

“I feel the project is too auto-oriented,” Fudge said, adding she would have preferred the store be more market-like and open to the street.

But she and council members said the positives outweighed their misgivings. Those included bringing 1,100 more residents downtown, creating two traffic roundabouts on Old Redwood Highway, reverse-angle parking and bike lanes.

The store is proposed to be 25,000 square feet, roughly the size of the Oliver’s Market on Montecito Avenue in Santa Rosa.

It will require final review from the Planning Commission and design approval, but Civian said the expectation is that Oliver’s could be open in the latter half of 2013.

Bell Village and the new market are to be located on 25 acres that once comprised the old Windsorland trailer and mobile home park.

The site is located between Highway 101 and Old Redwood Highway, just east of the Town Green.

The mixed-use project includes 387 rental apartments and townhomes to be built in phases, beginning with 70 residential units. Forty percent of the units will be for low- and very-low income tenants, allowing the developers to take advantage of tax-benefit financing for the affordable housing portion.

The $80 million to $100­ million project is proposed by OSL Management LLC, an affiliate of Oakmont Senior Living, headed by developer Bill Gallaher.

The firm is known for projects in Oakmont and other retirement communities such as Varenna and Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa.

“We have a track record. We’ve built a number of projects in the Western United States. We are confident we can build it and get financing,” Civian said in an interview prior to the council meeting.

There would be 80,000 square feet of commercial space including the supermarket and a pharmacy. Oakmont Senior Living and its affiliates also plan to relocate their offices to Bell Village.

Bell Village has been in the works for almost three years. It was the subject of five Planning Commission meetings this year as well as conceptual previews by the Town Council.

Councilwoman Robin Goble said it has been an arduous process, but “it’s a really, really solid project for the town.”

8 Responses to “Windsor approves Bell Village development”

  1. shirley says:

    The lady with the beautiful garden though the only thing missing was some beautiful songbirds. So she put out birdfeeders and cute birdbaths. Soon the birdies came and ate. Then bigger birdies came and ate and ate and so began the droppings too. Eventually, the hoards of birds were eating more food than she could pay for and totally messed up her beautiful garden. So – she took away the food and water, cleaned up her yard and once again enjoyed her beautiful garden. Too bad Windsor doesn’t get it the hoards are here and we are throwing open the doors to more while homeowners/taxpayers pay their bills with section 8 housing, free food, free education and lots of suckers.

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  2. Social Dis-Ease says:

    To Steveguy:
    See the pattern?
    Rid the landscape of the Free Market residences and Small Business’
    (I always capitalize those terms),
    and install that which is persuant to THEIR(ICLEI’s) goals, and WE SUBSIDIZE IT!

    WE pay them to install oppressive infrastructure against our will, then we pay, and pay and pay.

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  3. Steveguy says:

    There was a great community of real affordable housing there, it was a trailer park, with very nice low-income people that survived without subsidized housing.

    It was a great community, until the trailer park barons came in, got it into a ” Redevelopment” area, thereby evicting nice older folks, and the quirkier of the human lot.

    In 20-30 years, those will all be slum-like apartments next to the freeway that nobody but the worst of the section 8 recipients live in, unless we can get them a job in San Rafael, so they can take a subsidized train to a non-existent job.

    Their vision is coffee shops, candy stores, children on bikes ( WITH HELMETS ) Mommies with strollers, all going to the healthy food store, and living above the yoga studios, and all of the other cozy businesses, heck maybe even a hemp paper gift card store,,,,,,

    Ohhhh, MY vision is a dilapidated, canker sore with tattoo parlors, adult book stores, pawn shops, ” Barber Shops”, Massage, downstairs and up, strip clubs, meth labs, gang-infested, bums sleeping in boxes out back, drugs rampant.. etc sighhh…

    I’m not always a pessimist. Maybe don’t allow the hemp paper gift card store to open ?

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  4. Social Dis-Ease says:

    The commu-condos of tomorrow.

    What if Smart actually goes to a vote?

    What excuse will they have to round up all the serfs?

    The only way you’ll get me in a box is if I’m in body bag first.

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  5. truth in law says:

    1100 possible new residents in low income housing. Will these new stores be paying for additional police and fire services?

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  6. Brown Act Jack says:

    Ye[, indeed, this is just what Windsor needs. Another big project with 387 apartments for low to moderate income families! Wait! is that what the Town needs?

    More residential , and commercial?

    Is that not the town where the small development failed for Theissen?

    I guess Windsor has a bunch of redevelopment funds available that they want to spend to provide construction jobs.

    And the citizens will benefit by having big supermarket, which,, of course, will take sales away from any small stores in Windsors.

    Hmmmm, check the banks accounts in the neighborhoods, see if they will swell with new income.

    Actually Windsor needs CostCo to really savage the local merchants.


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  7. Lucky2BOliver's says:


    Once upon a time, two grocers walked into Cotati City Hall and said, “If you turn Old Redwood Highway into a two lane road with two roundabouts, we will huff and we will puff and we will leave town. Why, we might even get the big bad front group to sponsor an election at the city’s expense to kill your plan.”

    The two grocers then went over the river and through the woods to Windsor Town Hall, where they entered and said, “We heard that you are looking for a grocery store to locate near the Town Green.”

    So the two grocers googled http://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5639 and http://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5578

    “Oh my!” said the two grocers when they saw that the site for the new grocery store was located on a two lane section of Old Redwood Highway with three proposed roundabouts and back-in diagonal parking right in front of the site. “We are SO excited,” they exclaimed, “We will take it, as it meets our needs perfectly!”

    And so the two grocers traveled back over the river and through the woods to Cotati, all the way marveling at how truly Lucky they were.

    The moral of this story is: Sometimes, something that appears to be a “deal breaker”, when moved seventeen miles up the same exact street, may magically transform into a “deal maker”.


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  8. john bly says:

    Kudos to the Windsor Planning Commission and the Town Council and staff for working through the process to get a very needed project to the point of approval. This will bring a new vitality to Windsor. Congratulations to all involved!

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