Nashelly Chavez, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A developer working for the Kendall-Jackson wine family announced plans Wednesday to downsize a housing project proposed for the former Wikiup Golf Course, drawing mixed reactions from about 130 community members at a neighborhood meeting.
The new plan would cut the number of houses by almost 40 percent in a move to address concerns from neighbors that the development could convert what was once a lush golf course to high-density housing with additional traffic.
“We went back to the engineers and the architects,” Tony Korman, who leads WBR and Korman Development, told the crowd gathered at San Miguel Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon. “We went back to look at the plan and make some revisions.”
The new plan is a scaled-back version of the project pitched to residents in July. In that design, nearly 100 homes would have been split between two locations on the property, named the Wikiup Commons.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8733356-181/wikiup-commons-developer-downsizes-plans?sba=AAS
Susan Minichiello, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The family that owns the Kendall-Jackson wine empire has unveiled plans to build nearly 100 homes on the former Wikiup Golf Course, converting half of the 31-acre property into a housing development.
The remaining half of the property, renamed Wikiup Commons, would be dedicated to open space or parkland, including a possible trail along Mark West Creek.
The development would place 39 homes and eight secondary housing units on 5 acres in the northern part of the property, near Pheasant and Carriage Lane. The secondary units, or “granny units,” would accompany a single-family home.
On the southern side, there would be 59 homes and three secondary units on about 10 acres. The homes would range in size from about 1,000 to 2,800 square feet, according to an open letter to neighbors by Katie Jackson, vice president for sustainability and external affairs at Jackson Family Wines.
“The diversity of housing proposed would offer first-time home buyers the chance to enjoy our beautiful community while providing those wishing to downsize a perfect opportunity to be a part of our neighborhood,” Jackson wrote after introducing the proposed plans at a July 11 meeting.
While there’s a desperate need for housing in Sonoma County, many Larkfield-Wikiup residents expressed opposition at a June meeting to high-density housing in the area. Several say the current proposal tries to squeeze too much housing into the neighborhood north of Santa Rosa.
Read more at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8542844-181/kendall-jackson-wine-family-proposes-housing
J.D. Morris, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors signed off Tuesday on a wide-ranging suite of policy changes intended to encourage construction of more new homes, loosening restrictions on granny units and lowering other development hurdles seven months after nearly 5,300 residences were lost here in last year’s devastating wildfires.
Under the revised rules, homeowners in unincorporated areas could build a larger granny unit or fit one on a smaller property than the county allowed before, depending on the size of the site as well as its water and sanitation systems. County permitting officials will be able to sanction second units on even smaller lots through a separate process.
And homeowners looking to build more compact granny units will have to pay less in fees, part of an effort from the Board of Supervisors to promote what the county sees as one of its best options to expand housing in rural areas.
The new policy alone isn’t likely to trigger a large influx of housing in unincorporated neighborhoods, county leaders admitted. But it was the first in a series of housing initiatives expected to be brought forward in the coming months by county planning staff.
“How do we put the pedal to the metal and not just allow this, but encourage it?” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, referring to the overall housing package. “It seems like passing this sort of code and saying you can do it is one thing, but actually getting those projects built out is another.”
Read more at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8294123-181/sonoma-county-welcomes-granny-units
J.D. Morris, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday paved the way for creation of more regional citizens groups designed to give certain unincorporated areas a greater voice in local government and decision making.
The panels are meant to allow more neighborhood-level input and advice on such issues as roads and land-use planning, and result in recommendations to county supervisors, who are the only elected local representatives for many rural areas.
“This is really participatory democracy at its base level,” said Supervisor James Gore, pointing to his experience last year establishing a council for the Mark West area north of Santa Rosa.
While the community does not wish to incorporate, residents there do want to play a larger role in decisions shaping their community, Gore said.
Advisory councils will also help the county better manage small unincorporated communities, where supervisors become “the de facto mayor,” he said.
Supervisors Susan Gorin and Lynda Hopkins indicated they want to establish new councils along the Russian River, the Sonoma Coast and in The Springs area of Sonoma Valley. Some of the same areas — along the river and in Sonoma Valley — were once represented by appointed redevelopment committees, but those entities were dissolved in 2012 when the state eliminated redevelopment agencies.
Read more at: Sonoma County moves to give rural residents greater voice in local government | The Press Democrat