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.
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?
A citizens’ group that’s battled hotel development in Healdsburg in the name of protecting small town charm is mailing out flyers this week to all registered voters in the city to “create public awareness” on growth issues and enlist support for its goals.
Language for a proposed voter measure to loosen Healdsburg’s growth limits is up for approval at Monday’s City Council meeting. After six months and seven public meetings by a committee that studied the issue, the council is poised to incorporate the group’s recommendations into a draft ordinance for a future ballot measure.
Jim Winston, the author of Healdsburg’s growth control ordinance, will not be a member of the city committee that will study whether to loosen the growth cap. After being spurned Monday by the City Council in his request to serve on the group, he asserted that it is pro-growth and likely to recommend a doubling or tripling of the number of new homes that can be built annually in Healdsburg.
Jim Winston lives about a mile outside Healdsburg city limits, but he’s had outsized effect on determining how the town grows. He wrote and helped pass a voter-approved measure in 2000 that restricted the number of new homes in Healdsburg to 30 per year. Now he wants to serve on a city committee that will consider whether to relax the growth limit, thus provoking a controversy over whether a non-resident should be determining how many homes are built in Healdsburg.
My colleague Jeremy Hay reported today that two Rohnert Park City Council members walked out of a budget meeting in protest on Tuesday. “The departure of (Amie) Breeze and (Joe) Callinan … delineated a clear rift on the council that was strikingly personal in tone,” the story said. For those of us who watch Rohnert [...]