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Sonoma Planning Commission to consider housing developments

During its regular meeting this Thursday, the Sonoma Planning Commission will get its first look at a 56-unit residential development proposed on Sonoma Highway.

DeNova Homes of Concord is a familiar presence in Sonoma. The developer of Mockingbird Lane on Fourth Street West, and the new Oliva Apartments on West Spain, appeared before the same commission in May with plans for a five-unit “infill community” at 19910 Sonoma Highway (next to El Pueblo Hotel at the bend of the highway).

Planning Commission Agenda.pdf

This time it’s applying for a larger multi-residential development on a 2.18-acre parcel at 19320 Sonoma Highway, currently fronted by a 1939 Spanish-style, plaster-and-tile home, with an extended lot behind it with several trees. DeNova plans to spread the 55-housing units across five three-story buildings and one two-story building, according to a proposal submitted to the Planning Commission for a study session. A quarter of the units, 14 in all, will be designated as affordable housing in accordance with the City’s Inclusionary Housing policy.

DeNova calls it the Montaldo Apartments in their application, for Evelyn L. Montaldo whose trust sold the property after her death one year ago – on Sept. 11, 2020, at the age of 99.

There’s potentially another housing development on the agenda as well: Bear Flag Engineering has applied to subdivide a 1.366-acre property at 234 Malet St. into two parcels, each large enough for two residential units. The issue here may be trees: the lot has an inventory of 87 trees, “including a variety of species native to the site including Coast Live Oak, Valley Oak, Black Oak and Western Cottonwood, as well as other California species including Monterey Pine and Black Walnut, and ornamental trees like English Walnut, Apple, Glossy Privet, Plum, Windmill Palm, Almond, Persimmon, Red Gum, Fruitless Mulberry, Cherry, and Peach,” according to the staff report.

The lot is where Fryer Creek Drive meets Malet, a large “flag” parcel. The subdivision would retain its rural residential zoning, and the applicant hasn’t yet proposed a project though could be laying the groundwork for an infill housing development per the city’s General Plan.

The Planning Commission will also offer a final review on the Sparc cannabis dispensary; discuss additional housing for four residents at Sweetwater Spectrum; and a use permit and other applications for the proposed restaurant and microbrewery on West MacArthur Street behind Jack’s Filling Station.

Less high-profile is a resolution to approve Sweet Straw, a “bubble tea” or boba shop in the Sonoma Marketplace shopping center at 401 W. Napa St. The unit being sought was previously occupied by a Nails Pro. Yesenia Gallegos is the applicant for the boba tea shop, which will sell its beverages primarily for off-premise consumption though there will be eight indoor seats and two outdoors.

The City of Sonoma Planning Commission is scheduled to hold its regular meeting on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m., possibly in a hybrid format at 177 First St. W. and online via Zoom (meeting ID 972 7530 0916).

For additional information on the location and agenda, visit sonomacity.org/planning-commission.

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