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Roseland Review - April 2015


Roseland Review - April 2015

by Duane De Witt

An important meeting of the Roseland Annexation Committee (RAC) will be held on Thursday April 9, 2015 at 1 pm at Santa Rosa City Hall. This will be the first meeting of the RAC in the New Year plus the first meeting since last October, almost six months ago. The meeting will be a new beginning of sorts, because there are now three new members on the committee for the city of Santa Rosa. Representing the city now will be Mayor John Sawyer and Councilmember Ernesto Olivares along with Councilwoman Julie Combs. Sonoma County Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Shirlee Zane continue their work there.

Effectively now all the members of the committee may be from Santa Rosa depending on where Supervisor Carrillo now lives. Current Chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors Susan Gorin, who used to serve on the Santa Rosa City Council, also lives in Santa Rosa. Perhaps there can be enough collegial cooperation between everyone involved now to get this annexation finally done. The topic of annexation of Roseland has been in discussion for over 30 years since the city and county jointly formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) for the Roseland Redevelopment Project Area along Sebastopol Rd. between Olive St. and Stony Pt. Rd. in 1984.

Santa Rosa has been stepping up to the plate in a sense with a few new public works projects moving forward to help the greater community of Roseland and the surrounding southwest Santa Rosa area annexed back in 1997. Construction has started at the Delport Ave. and McMinn Ave. area of Roseland while the demolition of Roseland Village Shopping Center at West Ave. and Sebastopol Rd. continues. The city is replacing the sewer lines in the Delport Ave and McMinn Ave. project. Work on the completion of the road widening for Stony Pt. Rd. between Hearn Ave. in the south and Sebastopol Rd. to the north is also moving forward. According to a presentation at Santa Rosa City Hall by Colleen Ferguson of the Public Works Dept. almost 90% of the work to underground utilities for private companies is now done. Information about the projects can be found at

These activities are symbolic of the increasing governmental activities in Roseland this year. Both the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County are following up on improvements to the long neglected areas of Roseland as the often competing governmental agencies are in discussions regarding the annexation of the Roseland County Island. At the beginning of the year an article with Santa Rosa Snippets here in the Sonoma County Gazette stated the Roseland population was only 6,100.  But this is actually the population of the county island portion of Roseland.

This needs to be corrected to clarify the population of Roseland is much higher according to the Portrait of Sonoma County released by the county Health Services Department in 2014. The three census tracts representing Roseland, Roseland Creek, and Shepard census tract neighborhoods actually total approximately 14,700 persons. This does not account for many people in the areas who did not wished to be counted in the local census from 2010. Nor does it count those people who may have moved into the area since the census was taken.

This is an important matter because recently in County meetings Supervisor Shirlee Zane has stated in public there are 31,000 people in the southwest area of Santa Rosa now. This makes the population of this area larger than every town in Sonoma County except Petaluma and Rohnert Park. (According to US Census data from 2012) With the city of Santa Rosa embarking upon a Specific Plan for Roseland there needs to be better cooperation between the city and the county. This is especially important to try and get the best results from the redevelopment of the Roseland Village Shopping Center to coordinate with the beginnings of a better transportation system based on connections to the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit railway system in 2017.

The 31,000 people in the Roseland and Southwest Santa Rosa area could be potential riders for the SMART Train. Prudent city and transportation planning would cry out for a south Santa Rosa rail stop to help local residents use the train to commute to and from jobs out of the area. It may be politically incorrect to say this, but the workers of Roseland and Southwest Santa Rosa should be taken into consideration regarding how to maximize the ridership for SMART. 

A smart Roseland Specific plan demands this.