Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission to consider vacation rental exclusion zone, cannabis and containers

The property on Highway 12 at Bonita Way has been proposed as a 'container park.'


The Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission is in for a lively meeting this week, as a trio of closely watched issues are on the agenda for Wednesday, Sept. 27 including: a neighborhood seeks exclusion from vacation rentals; a 5-acre lot hopes to grow weed; and the latest Sonoma project from KS Mattsons Partners.

The request for a zoning change to prohibit vacation rentals comes from a neighborhood outside of Eldridge – along Vigilante Road, Morningside Mountain Drive and Oso Trail. A number of residents in the 32-home community cite increased fire dangers from short-term rentals, pointing out that the narrow roads in hilly terrain increase the risk.

The so-called X Zone designation was part of the county’s vacation rental policy set after a multi-year study, and allows certain neighborhoods that would otherwise be eligible for vactional rental permits to be excluded from the activity.

Both Morningside Mountain and Vigilante roads are privately maintained, the former with a gate at the entrance. Despite the application – brought by Barry Swain of Vigilante Rd. – several residents in the neighborhood object to a zoning that prohibits vacation rentals, including Ali Tabibian and Ann Akichika, also of Vigilante Rd., who are in the process of applying for a vacation rental permit from the county Permit and Resource Management Department.

Among their counter arguments is that Donna Swain ran a B&B from her property for several years, without incident. A vacation rental exclusion zone, however, does not exclude hosted rentals such as bed and breakfasts, according to PRMD.

The SVCAC will also provide feedback on a cannabis use permit sought for a 5.25 acre lot at the corner of Arnold Drive and Highway 116 (Stage Gulch Road) for mixed light cultivation and on-site processing. The permit is sought by Nicholas Adan on property owned by Lance Morgan, both of whom are listed as full-time employees of the operation.

It is one of a handful of cannabis use permits being sought for the Sonoma Valley, and the first to come before the SVCAC.

Adan is proposing a well-water-fed facility built around three greenhouses and a drying shed, with all cultivation and trimming on site to produce both CBD and THC-dominant strains. Adan, a Sonoma Valley resident, claims 10 years experience of cannabis cultivation.

Last but not least that evening, KS Mattson Partners will bring its plans for a “container shopping center” before the SVCAC, at the site of the former Lansing Structures on Highway 12, but with an operating address on Bonita Way. Their proposal is for 1,056 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and three residential units consisting of one 720-square-feet unit and two 480-square-feet units on a quarter-acre parcel.

All current structures on the property will be demolished, according to the application, and replaced with “container modules” such as those used in train, truck and water shipping for an estimated five- to seven-year duration. The goal is to have the retail and residence project functional by spring of 2018, with the restaurant – tentatively named “Noodle Springs” – open in April of next year.

The SVCAC is an advisory commission only, which makes recommendations to the Planning Commission and other regulatory boards. The meeting will be held at Wednesday, Sept. 27, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room, 177 First St. W.

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