EDITOR: As a strong supporter of the Hotel Project Sonoma, I’m very frustrated with how long it is taking to get this project approved.
Six years ago, I was opposed to the development. I even wrote a letter to the editor stating that dissatisfaction, and how I thought the hotel did not belong. I was invited along with others to attend one of the small community groups in which all concerns were discussed and answers provided by the developer.
Over these six years and many meetings I saw that much work was going into redesigning, and limiting size and making the project LEED Certified. (LEED-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This answered the questions concerning soil and sewer. This project will be one of the greenest in town, with beautiful landscaping, water catchment systems, to help with irrigation, and many more environmental implements. Studies were made of all the buildings on the Plaza, and their particular architecture. The improvements changed the design to a Sonoma style, where it fits in with the various different structures.
Now there are objections that housing is not included. Interesting that there are a lot of housing developments going on now, and hardly a word of concern is heard (by me, anyway). They have quietly been building , and I know we need them, but I don’t think we need them in a Hotel.
Traffic issues have been dealt with and approved by reducing the size of the Hotel for one example. Hotel guests will have ample parking and will probably not cause a mass exodus when they do come and go, besides, like other hotels, they might even have shuttles that take them on tours.
I am in full support of Hotel Project Sonoma, along with thousands of other local Sonomans, and sure wish we could get going on it! I urge the City Council to please vote to approve the EIR.
EDITOR: I have been a resident of Sonoma Valley for over 20 years. I make trips to and through the central area of the City of Sonoma at least 3 times a week and am very much aware of issues regarding parking and traffic. From my perspective, there are a few points that warrant emphasis.
1. The City of Sonoma can and should effectively use this opportunity to establish additional gracious places for visitors to stay in Sonoma.
2. A reasonably sized hotel in a location that encourages pedestrian traffic in and around Sonoma Plaza is preferable to a number of other possibilities (such as “vacation rentals” that encroach on established residential areas).
3. The project plans continue to persuade me that the historic context of the Plaza will be enhanced by the completed construction.
4. The plans for off street parking (both on the hotel property and the contingent use of the Bank of Marin lot) are very reassuring, and I do not anticipate any undue disruption for those of us who do regular business in and around the Plaza.
5. I believe that the EIR fully addressed the traffic concerns. In my experience, the most noticeable traffic problems have most often been correlated with commuting workers and with arrivals and departures from schools, with guests arriving at or departing from hotels in the vicinity of the Plaza.