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Our County by Efren Carrillo - July 2015

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Our County by Efren Carrillo - July 2015

by Efren Carrillo

This has been an exciting couple of months for the Roseland community, and June was a month for lots of community meetings. The City of Santa Rosa conducted two widely attended workshops on the Annexation process, which is finally moving forward after literally decades of delays. The City has dedicated staff toward this effort, and the community responded in full force. The lengthy, and sometimes very technical meetings filled the Roseland Accelerated Middle School gym, and much of the crowd stayed for the full 3 hours of the first meeting.

The Community Development Commission released its request for proposals to develop the Roseland Village property in early May. Three developers submitted proposals for future use of the 7 acre policy, and a community meeting held on June 25th provided an opportunity for community members to meet the proposers, discuss the plans one on one with them during a one hour “trade show” format, and then hear from each team during a 10 minute TED talk style presentation. This was followed by two voting exercises – one before, and one after – a robust Question and Answer session with all three developers in a panel answering audience questions.

The most interesting aspect of the proposals made thus far is that all three are distinctly different in their approach to using the 7 acre property. The housing units planned varies from 62 to 80 to up to 200 residential units on the site. Some call for affordable rentals, and some for mixed market rate and affordable. There are proposals to include retail in various configurations, and some include office space or community service options, such as a library. The one design element that each includes is a community plaza space of at least one acre.

Roseland turned out for the meeting despite the heat and the community enthusiastically engaged in a comment activity on the proposals. Large drawings of the property concept were placed on the walls, and each team presented their ideas and then sat together on a panel to answer questions. While the audience numbers dwindled for the Q&A portion, which went after 9pm, the energy in the room remained high. 

The Roseland Village property and its plaza will be a cornerstone of the Roseland community. Though the developer and project is still being selected, many exciting activities will be coming to the property over the next few months. There is a large retail space next to the Dollar Tree store that will be serving the community as a gathering space for public meetings and other activities. There is great interest in conducting classes, exercise classes, and potential for a temporary library in this space. As it is recently vacated, staff is currently working on making the changes needed to open the area for public use. In the fall, construction will begin on an outdoor exercise area and children’s playground or tot lot alongside the Joe Rodota Trail. We are also working to install an area for people to wait for the bus, or gather alongside Sebastopol Road.

Good things come to those who wait, and we won’t be waiting much longer for good things at Roseland Village.

The County acquired land for a neighborhood park in Moorland late last year. Outreach efforts to the neighborhood will begin in earnest during July and August. Regional Parks will be working with a team to conduct community meetings and receive input on the most important features that the neighborhood desires for this long overdue park. 

Many people are familiar with the site due to the ripple effect it had on our community when Andy Lopez died there. Most people do not know that this area was always intended to become a park, but that decades ago officials traded a reduced number of units for not requiring the park development for that high density project. For many years, the property languished until this tragedy brought attention to the ill fated park site. We will be working with the community from now until the end of the year to design a park that they will use for generations to come. The wait is almost over. 

Emergency orders affecting 4 Sonoma County Watersheds were voted on by the State Water Board on June 17th. These emergency regulations are expected to go into effect at the beginning of July. If you live in the Green Valley, Dutch Bill Creek, Mark West, or Mill Creek watersheds, you will want to attend one of the meetings that the Board has set to explain the regulations and answer questions.

More information is available at the State Water Board’s website: www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/russian_river/ which will help you figure out if the regulation applies to you.