Gorin gets earful from Springs group
MARCO VAILETTI, standing, and architect Bennett Martin explain the Sonoma Springs project that includes the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, affordable housing and commercial space.
The Springs Community Alliance didn’t waste any time in making a wish list for newly elected 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin.
Gorin attended Thursday’s alliance meeting, and even before she arrived, alliance members were making a list that started with finishing the Highway 12 project.
The Highway 12 project has been on hold since a state Supreme Court decision dissolved redevelopment agencies statewide earlier this year. All of the utility undergrounding had been done, the county acquired all the rights-of-way and was within weeks of going out to bid when the state put a screeching end to the proceedings.
Three times the county has included Highway 12 on its list of projects that it submitted to the state and three times the state, for different reasons each time, denied the claim.
Last month, the county decided to sue the state for the funds. As of press time, the suit hasn’t been filed.
Gorin said the Highway 12 project was a top priority for her ad that she’ll be meeting with current Supervisor Valerie Brown; John Haig; the county’s Public Works Department; and SCTA (Sonoma County Transit Authority).
“There are no pots of money out there,” she told the group. She said there are funds, but long-term funds – nothing immediate.
“There’s competition for grant funds,” she said.
Gorin also said the county is looking to replace the public works director, Phil Demery, who is retiring. “I’d like to see us get a public works director who thinks outside the box,” she said. “We need to be more aggressive in finding funding.”
She told the group that the supervisors are aware that Highway 12 and the Roseland shopping center in southwest Santa Rosa were high-profile projects.
Gorin also said she was not real optimistic about the county winning its suit against the state.
Another project on the alliance’s list is the Sonoma Springs project on Sonoma Highway just south of the Sonoma Charter School.
The project, as it’s currently configured, would be a mixed-use project containing the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, affordable housing and a commercial space.
Marco Vailetti, the owner of the property, and architect Bennett Martin told the group it is three separate projects, and instead of going to a zoning change, they are asking the county for lot-line adjustments.
“The county is letting us develop this piecemeal,” Martin said. “But we need to move this through the county.”
Martin also said as it stands, the date the health center needs to move into the building “is unattainable.”
“This is the biggest project in the Valley,” he continued. And he said the project can go forward even without the highway project.
Vailetti and Martin showed a reconfigured drawing and told the group what it needs is for people to attend any county meetings where the project will be discussed.
Cheryl Johnson, executive director of the health center, said the reconfiguration could add another 4,700-square-feet in the future. “We’re also going to keep our offices at 430 W. Napa St.,” she said. “We’re not opposed to having our services spread out.”
Gorin and alliance leaders are trying to schedule a meeting to go over the wish list of projects.