WatchSonoma Watch

Rohnert Park council clears way for up to 1,645 homes


The Rohnert Park City Council on Tuesday approved changes to a long-stalled housing project just north of Sonoma State University that could add up to 1,645 homes starting as soon as next year.

The University District development, Rohnert Park’s first large housing project in 24 years, was approved in 2006, but ground to a halt during the recession. Last summer, developer Brookfield Homes revived the project with proposed changes to the plan to reflect the shifting housing market.

Rohnert Park University District Brookfield Homes“I think the changes we have made are relative to 2014,” Councilwoman Pam Stafford said. “This is what we needed to do to make it feasible.”

The revised plan on 300 acres west of Petaluma Hill Road includes 130 more medium-density homes and about 400 fewer high-density, multifamily units.

“There is a significant shortage of housing in California,” Councilwoman Gina Belforte said. “I don’t doubt that these places will go quickly.”

Brookfield plans to start grading lots this year with building construction starting at the beginning of 2015, company vice president Kevin Pohlson said in an interview.

“This is a good project,” Vice Mayor Amy Ahanotu said. “Let us move it a little faster.”

The new plan includes two parks, bike trails and a commercial plaza.

It also scales back the commercial and mixed-use space by about 75,000 square feet. The commercial space will be moved directly across Rohnert Park Expressway from the $145 million Green Music Center in the hopes that concertgoers will patronize the new shops and restaurants.

City Manager Darrin Jenkins said developers could attract a boutique hotel to the commercial center.

“This project is really a bellwether for Rohnert Park’s improving economy,” he said.

The reworked plans that Brookfield previewed last year eliminated large rural estate homes in favor of more marketable low- and medium-density units.

Council members at the time said that Rohnert Park needed the larger homes to attract business executives and university officials. Brookfield added 26 rural estates back into the revised plan approved Tuesday.

“I think we need the big lots,” Mayor Joe Callinan said in an interview. “The estate lots bring in a different kind of resident to the area.”

In an effort to spur on the stalled subdivision, the city is building a $13 million eastside trunk sewer line, projecting it would make many times that amount back on impact fees charged to the developers.

“I think we have a specific plan we can be proud of,” Councilman Jake Mackenzie said. “I am very pleased we have come to this point.”

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Brown at 521-5206 or matt.brown@pressdemocrat.com.

7 Responses to “Rohnert Park council clears way for up to 1,645 homes”

  1. pdxlr10 says:

    There is a severe housing shortage for which this project addresses. People – the economy is directly tied to housing. New construction for homes is needed in our area, and I am glad to see the movement happening.

  2. Jim says:

    Sweet. Traffic isn’t bad enough on Petaluma Hill and Expressway already so let’s add 1,600 homes to add more. Just wait until the homes on Petaluma Hill at Valley House are built.

    The freeway has all the lanes it’ll ever have (one is a worthless carpool lane) so living in Rohnert Park is going to be lovely in 3 years.

    Roads are in poor condition. Traffic is a nightmare. Spending continues to rise.

    At least one thing is certain…higher taxes to pay for a train that no one will ride.

  3. ExRPeer says:

    What no rail-roaded stop ???? Not smart…good thing for the bike trails bscause Snyder lane is unfit for cars.

  4. ExRPeer says:

    What no rail-roaded stop ????? Another reason why I am the ExRPeer

  5. Sonoma Gone Crazy says:

    And all the water for these new 1,600 homes is coming from? Or is this still something we all are ignoring?

  6. David says:

    There is not enough water for the existing homes in RP. Where will the water for these new homes come from? RP Expressway need repaving NOW, what will it be like after all of the extra traffic after these new homes are built?

  7. bear says:

    This is idiotic.

    SSU students will rent all of these houses out. There is no alternative to planning for a university community, like Isla Vista in Santa Barbara.

    One can only presume that the developer is trying to squeeze maximum profits out of whatever type of housing they want.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Nice job, City Council.