Mission Square project gets final approval

“Fourteen years in the making” sounds like a teaser on a movie trailer. Instead, it’s the amount of time a controversial project now called Mission Square spent going through Sonoma’s planning process.

On Thursday, the Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission approved on a 5-0 vote the final piece of outstanding business, the design of a prominent new office building that will be set back 20 feet from Spain Street, in line with several historic buildings.

Mission Square, located at 165 W. Spain Street, is a mixed-use project with 3,514 square feet of office space, 14 apartment units, and associated parking and improvements. It preserves the historic Pinelli Bungalow and includes extensive landscaping.

The Planning Commission approved the Environmental Impact Report and the site and design elements for most of the project in 2013, but left the design of Building One, a two-story 2,434-square-foot office building, to the DRHP Commission. Because the Planning approval was appealed to the City Council – an appeal that was denied – the design approval for the last piece was deferred.

Carol Marcus, of Marcus and Willers architects, made the presentation, saying that new development must respect existing development while being discernible from it. “Our intent is to respect historic buildings, not replicate them,” she said. “This is the direction that comes from the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.”

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