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Letters to the Editor, March 13 - 15

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Small is beautiful!

EDITOR: I am appalled by the entitled shenanigans our community is being subjected to by the same type of developers we are all too familiar with by now – the crowd who wish to have things their way or else.

The nerve of threatening our City Council and planning commissioners with legal action if they do not reverse their position on three monster houses on the flanks of Schocken Hill.

Mr. Jasper, the developer, may feel the need for increased personal income, but is he really thinking of the needs of our community as well?

Sonoma is suffering from a lack of housing for those who wish to stay in our Valley, not more homes for the wealthy.

Has Mr. Jasper seen the interesting “pocket housing” project in Petaluma where eight small houses are centered around a common area and built in an old farm vernacular in keeping with the town’s past agriculture history.

Such houses need to vary in price, or can be rentals.

We want our developers to think out of the box and not act like our “dear leader Mr. Trump.” I come from a tradition when “small was beautiful.” We do not want houses beyond the established 5,000-square-foot pad limit as determined by our City Council some years ago.

We want the beautiful wooded backdrop of Sonoma left alone.

Marilyn Goode

Sonoma

Law suits would

hurt city

EDITOR: The public meeting of the City Council on March 1 to discuss the possible appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the proposed three new homes northeast of the Plaza was filled with emotion (“Hillside Projects Still in Limbo,” March 5).

One of the characteristics that makes the town of Sonoma a great place to live is that at this meeting, people were courteous and respectful of each other’s opinions.

Slightly more than half of the 61 people who spoke during the public portion of the meeting were passionate and sincere regarding their opinion that the three new homes would have a negative impact on the community.

Those people speaking in favor of the new homes believed that the proposed new homes met all of the zoning and land-use requirements established by the City.

These three projects had been thoroughly reviewed by the Planning Commission and approved in August of 2017.

One topic that received little attention is the dilemma the City will be in if it says “no” to the developer, based on criteria that is arguably up to different interpretations of existing land use or zoning laws.

While the City has broad latitude to promulgate laws and regulations regarding the location and type of new building projects, those rights cannot be applied retroactively to projects that have already been reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. The potential for law suits and counter-lawsuits would be detrimental to the operation of the City government. Who knows what the cost to the city would be in litigation fees and punitive damages if the City failed to prevail in a possible lawsuit.

I would hope that the City Council acknowledges the prior approval by the

Planning Commission of this development on private property.

The ramifications of a poor decision by them can leave a lasting emotional and financial stigma on this town. It is my belief that they will make a wise and equitable choice.

J. Radican

Sonoma