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.
Growth in Healdsburg has sputtered to the point where only a handful of residential building permits have been issued in the past few years. But that hasn’t prevented a vigorous debate on whether to relax a voter-approved ordinance that limits the number of new market-rate homes to 30 per year.
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.