Sonoma Charter School and MidPen Housing reached middle ground – literally – this week, when the Sonoma Valley Unified School District approved an agreement that will leave the playground and open space that sits between their two properties in the hands of the school.
The fate of that middle parcel was the last major roadblock for the mixed-use development planned to become a neighbor of the school, at 17292 Sonoma Highway, by the end of 2016. The school board gave the agreement a unanimous thumbs up at its Jan. 13 meeting.
The 100-unit Boyes Hot Springs affordable-housing complex will consist of Fetters Apartments, 60 rental apartments for families, and Celestina Garden Apartments, 40 rental units for senior citizens. There will also be a 650-square-foot commercial space called Valetti Plaza, a large community garden, a playground shared with Sonoma Charter School and an extension of the Central Sonoma Valley Bike Trail.
Bay area-based MidPen Housing expects to break ground on the $25 million first phase of the project – the family apartments, the playground, the community garden and the backbone infrastructure for the entire project – in early June and to finish in December 2016.
Residents of the housing complex will have access to the school playground after school hours, according to MidPen project manager Scott Johnson
In the meantime, the playground will undergo improvements, including new fencing and landscaping, according to Johnson.
MidPen is a nonprofit developer, owner and manager of what it describes as “high quality” affordable housing.
The company has developed more than 100 communities and 7,500 homes for low-income families, seniors and special needs individuals in Northern California.
The commercial portion of the project is being developed by the Vailetti Family Trust. The Highway 12 lot owned by the trust has been vacant for more than a decade.
The project was given the green light by the Sonoma County Planning Commission in May of last year, and from the Board of Supervisors in June.
The application to the state for tax credits for the low-income family units was granted this past December and the application for the low-income senior units will be submitted later this year.
Sonoma Charter School was founded in 1996 and currently has 227 students, a number that has held steady for a decade. Principal Kevin Kassenbaum applauded the positive working relationship the school has had with Mid-Pen.
“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Kassenbaum.