Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Faced with a lengthy approval process and unrelenting opposition from a citizens’ group, developers have dropped plans to build a boutique hotel project northeast of the Sonoma Plaza.Caymus Development Group of Sonoma said they are eliminating a proposed 30-room hotel, restaurant and bakery and will concentrate instead on building more housing than originally planned on the 3.4 acre site.
Dropping the commercial portion, they said, will allow for additional units over the 27 condominiums and five single-family homes they were proposing. Under the city’s general plan there could be as many as 70 residential units on the site, but the developer declined to say if they would seek the maximum amount.
They portrayed their decision as driven by the urgent need for housing in the region. They also downplayed opposition to the proposed hotel, in a neighborhood some call Sonoma’s “backyard” — a collection of Little League ballfields, a senior center, a veterans hall and Depot Park that offer a respite of sorts from the bustling tourist-dominated plaza.
The hotel on First Street East was dropped “because housing is a humanitarian crisis,” said Caymus executive Ed Routhier. “We need to step up and do everything we can.”