A heated dispute Monday over whether dogs should be allowed on property that forms Sonoma’s backdrop nearly derailed the City Council from formally authorizing acquisition of the site.
Sonoma County supervisors said Tuesday they hope to strike a ‘balanced approach’ between power line safety and environmental protection under PG&E’s major transmission line through the county.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized the use of $1.8 million in open space funds Tuesday to purchase 199 acres atop Fitch Mountain in Healdsburg.
They are some of the most iconic Sonoma County landscapes, taking in sweeping coastal vistas and oak-studded inland ridges, all of it set aside with taxpayer money. But the agency responsible for those transactions, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, has found itself owning some of those tracts for far longer than ever intended.
Under stormy skies, a long-awaited trail along the eastern side of Laguna de Santa Rosa got its public debut Friday. Several dozen park supporters and local government officials huddled against intermittent sprinkles and unveiled the new 2.4-mile network at its southern trailhead off Highway 12 just east of Sebastopol.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan meant to guide the future look and feel of a regional park on Taylor Mountain overlooking Santa Rosa. The blueprint for the 1,100-acre property includes 17 miles of trail for use by hikers, equestrians and cyclists, camping and picnic sites, five trailheads with restrooms and future plans for a visitor center, small event venue and an eight-room inn, given interest from a private partner.
Jenner Headlands, 5,600 acres set aside in 2009 in the largest conservation purchase in Sonoma County history, could have been developed into ranchettes, but $36 million in public and private funds prevented that. Now, managers are shaping the property’s future, trying to balance public access and the protection of natural resources.
Sonoma County has the third-highest tally of protected open space in the nine-county Bay Area. But more land in the county also remains threatened by development than in any other part of the bay region, according to a new report from the Greenbelt Alliance, an open space preservation group. About 115,000 acres — an area more than four times the size of Santa Rosa — could be transformed by development within the next three decades, the group said.
Former Sonoma County Supervisor Paul Kelley will be paid $24,000 over the next eight months to provide consulting advice about agriculture for the county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, which of late has come under criticism from farmers.
A number of ranchers and agricultural leaders are critical of the taxpayer-funded Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District’s direction, worried it is shifting taxpayer dollars away from farmland conservation and putting too much money into parks and public trails. Their concerns, which came to a head in a extraordinary split vote of the Board of Supervisors earlier this month, reflect a deepening divide over how the district carries out its mission in an era of diminished resources.