Gateway Project clears Sonoma City Council hurdle
The Sonoma City Council voted 3-1 on Monday to deny an appeal of a 33-unit housing project at 899 Broadway, opening the doors for the so-called Gateway Project to move forward. Councilmember Amy Harrington, an attorney whose law offices are adjacent to the project site, had recused herself from the final vote.
The project is a proposed mix of 33 residential units and 3,100 square feet of commercial space at the long-abandoned Sonoma Truck and Auto site on Broadway. Of the 33 units in the project, eight are categorized as affordable – all eight are one bedroom apartments of 486 square feet – and would situated by the retail spaces facing Broadway.
The final approval of the project was delayed from its initial Nov. 5 vote after Harrington questioned her standing on the matter after moving her law office the prior month to the space directly adjacent to the project. Her council colleagues agreed to table the vote, allowing her time to seek direction on a possible conflict-of-interest recusal from the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Though Harrington had not received direction from the FPPC by the time of the Dec. 3 meeting, the council voted 3-2, with Harrington and Councilmember Rachel Hundley in the minority, to proceed with the vote on the project nonetheless. Harrington then decided to recuse.
Sonoma resident Charlotte Ruffner used the public comment period of the meeting to express her dismay at all the delays.
“I am so tired of waiting for the council to do something with this project, it is such an eyesore,” she said, referring to the long-abandoned Sonoma Truck & Auto building that currently rests at the site.
Sonoma resident Louis Braun, meanwhile, lauded Harrington for “trying to follow process.”
“I’m really rooting for process,” said Braun. “As we get more and more into these issues, it has to be followed.” Braun said project opponents may have to “pursue legal remedies” if the council didn’t uphold the appeal and order an environmental review of the project.
But Scott Hunter, a spokesperson for project developers Broadway & MacArthur LLC, refuted the idea that the Gateway Project needed further review.
“This project is 100 percent compliant with code,” said Hunter. “It’s a great project and we’re looking forward to moving forward on it.”
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