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Roseland Review - November 2015 - Duane Dewitt


Roseland Review - November 2015 - Duane Dewitt

by Duane De Witt

Roseland Roller Coaster Removed

Roller Coasters are what many long time Roseland residents have called the extremely bumpy, up and down, pothole filled roads in Roseland, such as Corby Ave. and Sebastopol Rd. east of Dutton Ave. Now the Sebastopol Rd. Roller Coaster east of Dutton Ave. is being smoothed out. Santa Rosa public works projects have been repaving the north side, west bound lane of the road and soon the east bound lane will be done also. It is an amazing difference after close to 20 years of the Roller Coaster, especially at the railroad tracks crossing. The railroad crossing may also get smoothed out soon. With the new Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit trains to begin running on the old Northwestern Pacific tracks there is more activity than any time in the last 20 years.

At the old Point St. George’s Fish Processing Plant right next to the tracks at this site there is now a proposed housing project waiting to move forward. SMART is also in the process of having the Sonoma County Parks Department build a bikeway and walking path next to the rails. These are brand new rails put in by the taxpayer financed SMART system. There have been discussions saying the pathway will help to unite more of Roseland residents from the various corners of the 1.2 square mile community. Because there is no SMART station in Roseland or Southwest Santa Rosa it is hoped the bikeway will get more people on the train at the Railroad Square Station. Time will tell once it is all built out for passengers to ride the rails again.

Some of these ideas have been discussed in the recent Santa Rosa city meetings regarding the Roseland Specific Plan. But not much detail has been given, and no real “in-depth” exploration about an idea of truly Transit Oriented Development around the SMART tracks in Roseland has been done with the greater Roseland community. Opportunities to develop more housing in Roseland up along the Sebastopol Rd. corridor and near the SMART tracks may be discussed more in the future. Sonoma County is exploring the redevelopment of the 7 acre parcel known as the Roseland Village Shopping Center which the county purchased with taxpayers’ funding. When the county prepares an environmental impact report for the project they are hoping to have happen there, it will be an opportunity to reassure other developers and investors of the viability of building housing along Sebastopol Rd.

Recently the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board released an updated “Fact Sheet” about the many contaminated Brownfields sites once existing along Sebastopol Rd.  There had been as many as 59 sites in Roseland where toxic contamination had been a concern in the past. In the Sebastopol Rd. / McMinn Ave. area where there were 49 “groundwater cleanup sites” a “total of 34 have been sufficiently investigated and remediated and are now closed.” In the future the Roseland Review will delve deeper into this story as it has been one of the main obstacles in the past to the city of Santa Rosa finally annexing the 264 acre Sebastopol Rd. corridor from Stony Pt. Rd. east to Olive St.  The city has annexed portions along the corners of intersections such as Dutton at Sebastopol Rd. and Stony Pt. Rd. at Sebastopol Rd.

During Nov. there is the possibility the city and county joint Roseland Annexation Sub-committee will meet again to discuss just what they are going to do about these matters. Please look to the Sonoma County Gazette website for an update once the meeting date is announced. As autumn leads into the holiday season, and possibly a wet winter, some friends of Roseland Creek got together on “Make a Difference Day”, Oct. 24, 2015 to do a creek clean up and clear out after the homeless encampments moved away recently. An extraordinary effort was done by local volunteers and members of the group Forest Unlimited. The executive director, Rick Coates drove in from Cazadero to help the Roseland residents get their Roseland Neighbor Wood ready for winter. It was quite an encouraging day as Forest Unlimited volunteered to help Roseland residents on into the future to save nature in Roseland forever.

This was especially heartening because the city of Santa Rosa has not been making real plans for how to manage open space and urban green spaces in Roseland. The city which held a third community meeting about the Roseland Specific Plan on Wednesday 21 , 2015, has been less than forthright about how the community goals for more green space in Roseland will be saved. Roseland Review proposes a Roseland Open Space System with residents going to be planners.