New city manager, bridge construction and an update to the city’s housing codes

A few of the items approved at the April 19 Sonoma City Council meeting.|

During its April 19 meeting, the Sonoma City Council authorized contracts for a new city manager and bridge reconstruction on Chase Street, in addition to updating the city’s housing code for accessory dwelling units.

A permanent city manager

The council unanimously voted to approve a contract for incoming city manager David Guhin, who fills a position which has seen high turnover in recent years.

Guhin’s five-year contract will begin on May 8. He leaves the city of Santa Rosa where he worked on emergency operations management during the 2017 fires and was instrumental in the development of the city’s housing action plan.

Guhin’s base salary will be $236,000 with annual negotiated salary increases between 2% and 5%. If Guhin is fired by the city without cause, he is entitled to six-months of his base salary.

“I am looking forward to serving the community and supporting the staff and the council to implement their goals,” Guhin said in a press release on April 13. “I am grateful for this opportunity and will work tirelessly to protect and improve the quality of life for those who live, work, and play in this extraordinary community.”

Chase Street bridge

Ghirardelli Associated, an Oakland-based construction company, was unanimously picked by the city council as the contractor to replace the Chase Street bridge.

The total cost to replace the bridge is just under $2 million, with the city investing just over $500,000 itself for planning and infrastructure costs. The rest of the funding to replace the bridge comes from the county’s gas tax and $1.6 million in funds from the Federal Highway Bridge Program.

The Chase Street bridge is a timber structure reinforced with steel plates and an asphalt deck located over Nathanson Creek between Broadway and Austin avenues. Councilmember Ron Wellander visited before the council’s meeting Wednesday.

“I was standing on the bridge two nights ago, a car went over it and the bridge shook,” Wellander said at the meeting.

ADUs growing upwards

The council also approved an update to the city’s housing ordinance allowing for homeowners to build two-story accessory dwelling units (ADU) in an effort to expand affordable housing options.

An ADU, also called a “granny unit,” is a small housing structure that property owners may add in residential neighborhoods. The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development called ADUs an “innovative and effective option for adding much needed housing in California.”

Sonoma permitted 10 ADUs to be built in 2022, five of which have been constructed, according to city documents.

Contact Chase Hunter at and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

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