WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa may expand Roseland annexation area

Roseland annexation map

Santa Rosa officials have agreed to consider expanding the Roseland annexation area but not enough to include the neighborhood where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy.

Demolition OK’d at Petaluma squatters’ camp


A house that occupies the same land as the original European settlement of Petaluma will be demolished, probably later this month. The Beck house in Cedar Grove Park is too dilapidated and has been too modified over the years, stripping it of any historical value, Petaluma planning commissioners conceded this week.

Petaluma councilman Chris Albertson running for 2nd term

Chris Albertson

Petaluma City Councilman Chris Albertson confirmed this week that he will seek a second term.

Inquiry into Santa Rosa Councilman Gary Wysocky complete, still secret

Gary Wysocky (PD FILE, 2011)

The six-month investigation into whether Santa Rosa City Councilman Gary Wysocky created a hostile work environment at City Hall is over, but details of the probe remain secret because neither city officials nor Wysocky would release its findings.

Cotati City Council backs moving rare tree

Prue Draper, left, of the Cotati Historical Society and Louise Santero, a longtime Cotati resident, stand next to an rare chimera redwood tree near the railroad track at East Cotati Avenue in 2014. (PD FILE, 2014)

Cotati has always been known as a special little town, and City Council members think saving a rare chimera redwood tree and planting it near City Hall may be the perfect addition to that image.

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

Rohnert Park University District Brookfield 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.

Healdsburg debates efforts to remain a small town

Tourists and locals walk along Healdsburg Avenue in front of the Hotel Healdsburg on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

A citizens’ group seeking to limit the size of new hotels and retain Healdsburg’s small town character got some defensive reactions Monday night from City Council members and others who praised the city’s ability to handle growth and preserve the quality of life.

Scale of Petaluma’s future development shifts

Nelson Barragan of DV Pro Painting puts the last coat of paint on an awning of a greenhouse at the new Friedman's Home Improvement store in Petaluma, Tuesday April 2, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

The proposals that yielded Petaluma’s two largest shopping centers, both anchored by big-box chains, created heated disagreements among the community and the City Council on what size and style of development were appropriate for Sonoma County’s second-largest city.

The Target project sparked two lawsuits and a $150,000 settlement with an opposition group, while developers of the Friedman’s project agreed to fund nearly $200,000 in amenities opponents wanted in order to head off threatened litigation.

Now that the nastiest development battles of the past decade are over, with Target’s East Washington Place already open and Friedman’s Deer Creek center well underway, what’s next for development in Petaluma?

Sebastopol voters could see tax triple bill on fall ballot


The Sebastopol City Council plans to ask voters this fall for a hand in putting the city on stronger financial footing, through two tax measures expected to share ballot space with a proposed hike in the county sales tax, city officials said.

Divergent views emerge on Santa Rosa open-government task force

Santa Rosa City Hall (PD FILE)

Santa Rosa’s open government task force, formed in response to criticism that city decision-making lacks transparency, opened its inquiry Thursday with a wide-ranging discussion about what open government means, where the city has fallen short and how the panel should explore areas for improvement.