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Planners take up Nicora Place

By Pam Gibson/Special to the Index-Tribune

Final review and approval of Nicora Place, an 18-unit, single-family housing development, is set for a special meeting of the Sonoma Planning Commission Thursday. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room, 177 First St. W.

The project, located on a two-acre site at 821-845 W. Spain St., comes back with one less unit after facing neighborhood objections. It was last presented to the Commission 15 months ago. Developer is Steve Ledson, who has built many housing units in the city and the Valley.

Ledson proposes two-story homes, each with three bedrooms and a minimum of two baths. Four unit types will have 11 different elevation

concepts drawn from Victorian, Farmhouse, Craftsman and French architectural styles. Each home would be approximately 1,200 to 1,500 square feet on individual lots with attached garages. The homes are arranged around a U-shaped private street with a park in the center. The site was created by combining two long parcels to form a square.

Sonoma Gardens, a 12-unit condominium complex with one and two story units, flanks the project on the West. A driveway and several single story units within Sonoma Park Condominiums border the property on the East. Approximately 11 older housing units on the site are proposed to be removed.

Neighbor issues raised during the previous airing of this project included blocked morning light, loss of privacy, tree removals, vegetation removals, noise, air quality, pollution, traffic and aesthetic concerns. Concern was also expressed about the displacement of persons living in existing units on the property.

Staff is recommending approval of the negative declaration, but is giving the Commission discretion on whether or not to approve the Planned Development permit, Tentative Map and Use Permit.

There was no vote when the project was presented at the Sonoma Valley Citizens’ Advisory Commission in August.  Issues highlighted were traffic, pedestrian safety (no crosswalks), density, a proposed apartment project a short distance away, removal of a large tree, disruption of views, parking and affordability.

During last year’s study session, plans were presented by Douglas Hilberman of Axia Architects, who described the project as housing for workforce families.