A weed-strewn lot near the Windsor Town Green, one of the last of two undeveloped downtown parcels, could soon be home to a four-story apartment building with retail space on the ground floor.
Windsor on Wednesday witnessed a changing of the guard with the selection of a new mayor, seating of a new Town Council member and farewell speeches from the retiring city manager and city attorney.
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.
Hoping to foster a healthy downtown in a challenging economic climate, Windsor Town Council members Wednesday night rejected a bid by a well-known real estate company to locate its offices on a prominent corner of the Town Green. The council on a 4-0 vote decided that offices like Century 21 North Bay Alliance do not belong on the ground floor of buildings in an area envisioned as a downtown shopping and restaurant area.
Windsor residents will be able to install water-saving measures, fixtures and appliances without upfront cost or taking on debt. Financed by the town, the program allows homeowners and renters to pay for the upgrades over five to 15 years with a surcharge on their utility bill. Officials say the amount customers save on their bills by cutting water consumption will more than offset the bi-monthly surcharge to pay for things such as high-efficiency washing machines, toilets, showerheads, on-demand hot-water recirculation pumps, and turf replacement.
A surge in the number of apartments proposed in Windsor is giving pause to some Town Council members and prompting soul searching on whether the high-density projects will alter the town character. About 1,150 apartment dwellings are currently proposed, prompting questions whether Windsor can handle that many built in a short period and whether the influx of renters will create a different sense of community than comes with home ownership.
Windsor water and sewer rates are poised to rise by 9 percent in September, but the average bill will still be among the lowest for cities in Sonoma County. Windsor’s typical bill will go from the current $85.45 a month to $94.13. Only Rohnert Park, at an average $92, would be lower, according to a survey conducted by Windsor’s consultant. But some people also are going to start having to pay to irrigate with Windsor’s recycled wastewater.
Windsor this week joined a growing list of local and state governments urging Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to limit political spending by corporations. “In my mind, corporations have too much influence,” Mayor Debora Fudge said Friday. Do you think the Citizens United decision should be overturned?