Sebastopol appears on track to become the second city in California to require solar power systems on all new housing developments, as well as new commercial buildings.
Windsor, a town that once worried about rampant growth, has seen residential construction slow dramatically, to the point that no new homes have been built this year. But when the economy improves, that could change quickly with the backlog of 1,200 dwelling units with tentative and final approvals.
A major Petaluma road project, already behind schedule, will now be broken into two phases so downtown merchants can make the most of holiday sales.
The city is overhauling Petaluma Boulevard from East Washington Street through the heart of the downtown shopping district, similar to the change that was completed farther north on the street in 2008.
The so-called ‘road diet’ will reduce the number of lanes on the street, but widen them and add a two-way turn lane in the middle. The change is meant to modernize the lane widths and create a safer environment for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
Santa Rosa will not appeal the ruling of a judge who found a special city property tax on new homes unconstitutional. The city will scrap the 2008 ordinance and draft another that will address the legal concerns raised by the judge. The annual tax – which imposed a $430 surcharge on each new home – was designed to pay for the city’s cost of providing police, fire and other services to new subdivisions.
Sonoma County’s energy retrofit program, a pioneering effort that has financed $42.4 million in power and water-use upgrades in homes and businesses, is headed for a major expansion. Armed with a $3 million state grant, the county plans to further promote and develop the 2-year-old program among contractors. More financing for retrofits, discounted energy audits and utility rebates for residential customers also are planned.
Orrin Thiessen, the developer who transformed downtown Windsor and gentrified Graton, is facing default notices on more than a dozen of his properties. His financial problems have torpedoed plans to remake a 14-acre swath of Cotati and jeopardized his plans to build a town square in Forestville.
With $4 million owed, the man behind downtown makeovers in Windsor and Graton is forced to suspend his visions for Cotati, Forestville and Occidental.
Homeowners and nonprofits with unpermitted construction in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County have another six months to apply for permits without risk of penalties after a vote this week by the Board of Supervisors.
The cities of Sebastopol and Cotati will offer each other a helping hand, sharing a building official in an agreement that is partly a result of the economic downturn. The two cities already have a similar agreement to share a police department dispatcher-records clerk.
The construction industry staged a “rally for jobs” Monday night outside the Petaluma City Council meeting, attacking the council’s opposition to a proposed quarry on Roblar Road. Demonstrators called Mayor Pam Torliatt and the council’s progressive majority “job killers.”