Castagnasso lot adjustments would ease development

Paperwork has been filed with the City of Sonoma that would make development of Sonoma’s downtown Clydesdale pasture a little easier.

Deana Castagnasso has applied for lot line adjustments that would change the configuration of the three remaining parcels at 196 E. Spain St. that surround the Mission Bell farmhouse and barn property, which sold in April 2021.

Currently, there are two vertical parcels fronting East Spain Street and one horizontal parcel running from Second Street West to Mission Terrace.

Castagnasso submitted paperwork on April 27 requesting the horizontal (northermost) parcel be divided into two lots and the vertical parcel be combined into one, but made smaller.

The adjustment decreases the size of the pasture lot closest to East Spain Street.

“The proposed lot line adjustment will (be) more desirable for future development, whether it’s residential or commercial,” according to the Project Proposal Statement filed with the City of Sonoma Planning Department. “The properties involved in this lot line adjustment are currently undeveloped. When future development does take place, the parcels will be served by public water and sewer.”

Castagnasso Project Proposal Statement.pdf

Lot 1 will be accessed off of East Spain Street, while Lot 2 will access off of Mission Terrace and Lot 3 off of Second Street East.

In 2018, the nonprofit Blue Wing Adobe Trust gathered 11,000 signatures on a petition aimed at stopping the farm from being developed, but fell short of raising the $7 million being asked by the Castagnassos at the time to purchase the entire property.

“This farm was identified as a critical element to the Sonoma Plaza National Landmark and that is why we put so much effort into purchasing it,” said Blue Wing Trust spokesperson Patricia Cullinan on Wednesday. “I hope the city and any new owner remembers that effort. The land has great significance as part of the original mission land and the possible mission cemetery.”

The property is adjacent to the historic Mission San Francisco de Solano at 114 E. Spain St.

Under the proposed change, Lot 1 fronting East Spain Street will be reduced to .76 acres; Lot 2 on the northwest corner of the site will be increased to .52 acres and Lot 3 on the northeast corner adjoining Second Street East will remain at .38 acres.

There is no active real estate listing at this time for the three parcels of open pasture totaling 1.7 acres. The single-acre lot containing the farmhouse and barns was listed at $2.5 million and sold on April 23 for just under $2.3 million, according to the Compass real estate website.

The adjustment does not propose to change the remaining parcels’ current zoning of medium density.

Local real estate sources familiar with the property agree that, as currently mapped, the existing lots are tough to develop from a sizing perspective. The proposed lot-line adjustments would make them more desirable to potential developers.

Lot line adjustment requests are submitted to the City of Sonoma’s Planning Department but analysis and approval is the responsibility of Sonoma’s Public Works Department.

Public Works Director Colleen Ferguson said her department sees a handful of these requests each year. In this case, she described the process as “simply an issue of gathering the appropriate documentation, signatures and getting the paperwork notarized and recorded.”

“This is a pretty standard request, and there no real apparent reason for it not to be approved,” she said. She estimated that the process would take “weeks not months,” as she saw no complicating factors at this time.

More hurdles may need to be cleared in order to get permission for development, however, says Cullinan.

“The new owners of any of the property will be bound by the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act regulations) and city codes and the potential impact that changes to the property will have on the character of our community,” she said.

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17056-LLA-Site Map-20210428.pdf

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