Santa Rosa is considering an overhaul of the building fees it charges for everything from replacing a water heater to building a Wal-Mart.
Instead of basing fees on the values of projects, the city is following the lead of many other communities and may set its fees on the actual cost of providing plan reviews and building inspections.
The change has been in the works for years, but it took a back seat after the recession forced cutbacks in the city’s Community Development Department.
In a sign of a rebound in the construction of single-family homes, developers on Wednesday proposed as many as 90 new houses on land just north of Windsor’s Wal-Mart, in a presentation greeted with enthusiasm by most of the Town Council.
Santa Rosa developer Hugh Futrell is planning a six-story downtown apartment building for 140 low-income seniors.
The $30 million project on Fourth Street near Brookwood Avenue will include a medical center and other services for seniors on the first floor, features Futrell says are crucial for an aging population.
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.
Petaluma’s Planning Commission on Tuesday will take public comment on the draft environmental impact report for a proposed 93-unit housing subdivision on the western edge of town, adjacent to Helen Putnam Regional Park.
The project, proposed by Davidon Homes of Walnut Creek, is returning after having been shelved in 2007. At that time, the City Council indicated it wanted to scale down the proposal but stopped short of setting a cap on the number of homes that would be allowed.
Petalumans for Responsible Planning has been coordinating opposition to the project, as it did in the mid-2000s.
An international development company has purchased three vacant acres near Petaluma’s planned downtown train station, sparking discussion of what kind of development is appropriate at such a significant location.
An appellate court has ruled that Santa Rosa must pay more than $240,000 in legal fees to the attorneys who successfully challenged the constitutionality of a city law imposing a special tax on new developments.
The Sebastopol City Council, with the controversial CVS Pharmacy project still casting a shadow over downtown, is adding a chain store ban and solar energy requirements as possible ways to preserve the community’s identity and shape new development.
‘As the city grows and develops and learns, there is a lack of clarity in what the city wants future growth to look like, and it is important the council become pro-active,’ said Vice Mayor Robert Jacob. ‘It is very clear our town wants to maintain its unique, small-town identity.’
Zoning changes designed to make it easier for businesses to locate in Santa Rosa were lauded by the City Council majority Tuesday as wise economic development policy but lambasted by others as handouts to developers and private property owners. The council unanimously approved giving wineries and breweries more flexibility to operate tasting rooms and production facilities in the city, in some cases without any land-use permits.