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Healdsburg Highlights - January 2016

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Healdsburg Highlights - January 2016

The winter season has begun with the chill and rains brought on by El Nino. But there are many ways to cope with the weather. One good start is to participate in the 24th Annual Winter WINEland, a celebration of the grapes grown in the many vineyards throughout Sonoma County. On the weekend of January 16 and 17, choose from the more than 100 wineries in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys. Meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines. All wineries will have something on sale; some wineries will offer food pairings and others will have tours. You can also enjoy breakfast with the winemakers on Saturday, January 16. Go to wineroads.com for more info, and to purchase tickets.

Saggio Hills Hopes to Break Ground Soon
Saggio Hills, a high-end resort planned for the northeast corner of Healdsburg on the former Passalacqua Ranch, passed a major milestone last month when the Healdsburg Planning Commission gave unanimous approval of the design for the 130-room resort and 25 villas.
Planning Commissioner Kathi Engler “was surprised and pleased to see the gentle care and respect that is shown in this project.” Her fellow commissioners expressed the same feelings.

Commissioner Phil Luks stated, “The architecture is modest and respectful of the land. It will be an elegant and wonderful addition to the town.”
Saggio Hills developer Robert Green and his team stressed an effort to save trees and avoid extensive earthmoving at the site.
“The natural beauty of this site is the most valuable attribute we have,” said Green, outlining plans to minimize grading and maximize oak tree preservation. ”We’ve developed a love affair with the oaks on this property.”
Out of 92 heritage oaks on the property, only two will be removed: one healthy, and one diseased oak.
Warren Watkins, a party in a lawsuit against Saggio Hills, was skeptical about the city’s ability to provide water to Saggio Hills and protection of the valued trees.  
Green said that the project will include a graywater reclamation system and that water conservation measures will be designed into the project.
The project could start this spring, with the resort and first 25 villas completed by the end of 2017. The project includes another 45 homes, which are being designed now and submitted to the city for design review later this year.

Cities Will Keep Their Distance
Imagine walking down a street in Healdsburg, and seeing a sign stating that the other side of the street is where Windsor begins. It hasn’t happened so far. For almost two decades, various communities have had 17,000 acres of farmlands as environmental separations, from Healdsburg to south of Petaluma, as well as other areas south of Petaluma, around Sebastopol, and the Springs area. 
The original voter initiative expires next year, but voters will have the chance to renew the buffer zones – environmental protection areas called community separators – in November 2016. If voters approve, no housing developments or other commercial projects will be permitted.

February is Healdsburg Sustainability Month
The month of February will honor the sustainable methods in farming, cooking, and lifestyle. Many of Healdsburg’s restaurants and lodging facilities will be offering specials. On February 27 there will be a gala collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium at Jordan Winery’s “Cooking for Solutions”. On February 28 there will be a brunch at the Healdsburg SHED, and discussion with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. More info is available at healdsburg.com.