Youth hostel in Toscano Hotel complex?

While squabbles over tasting rooms, pink doors and pirate flags dominate downtown discussions, a prominent feature of the Plaza is quietly being considered for a transformation.

The Toscano Hotel Complex, on the north side of the Plaza between the Cheese Factory and the Barracks, has been the subject of an eight-month study. Commissioned by its owner, the State of California, the study catalogued the history of the buildings on the site, evaluated their condition and made recommendations for possible future uses.

Michael Garavaglia Architects, of San Francisco, unveiled the results of its study to stakeholders – State Park employees, volunteer organizations and other interested parties – during a two-hour meeting Wednesday.

And while no decisions have been made, it was clearly stated that the final disposition of the properties will be decided by the state – the city has no say in the matter.

Reached after the meeting, Sonoma Planning Director David Goodison acknowledged the city has no say in the final decision. “The city recognizes that State Parks is not subject to local zoning regulations,” he said, “but we support the efforts to maintain and revitalize the historic parks within the city and we appreciate the open dialogue and spirit of partnership that State Parks has shown with the city, and with the community as a whole.”

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