By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Rohnert Park City Council on Tuesday approved the start of eminent domain proceedings to condemn and buy part of a property that is to be the site of a planned hotel and McDonald’s restaurant near the Indian casino being built now along Wilfred Avenue.
The move followed similar council approvals two weeks ago for four other properties along Wilfred Avenue, which is to be widened from Redwood Drive to Stony Point Road to accommodate casino traffic.
The city needs parts of 22 properties to complete the project. It has reached agreement with 18 of the property owners, Assistant City Manager Darrin Jenkins said Tuesday.
The eminent domain approval “allows construction (on the widening project) to proceed this season,” said Jenkins, explaining to council members why he had asked them to approve the step. “It also gives us time to come to an agreement” with the property’s owners instead, he added.
An Oxford Suites hotel and a McDonald’s have been approved for the property, but construction has not started. Jenkins said the taking of the land, 16,050 square feet, would not affect the project.
The city and Sonoma County in September signed an agreement with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria that the tribe will bear the full $10 million cost of the road project, an improvement that the federal government required as part of its approval of the Graton Resort & Casino.
A representative of McDonald’s and Oxford Suites, Susan Green, said the property owners had no problem with giving up the land, just with the price offered for it, $5,000.