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Roseland Review - July 2016 - Duane Dewitt


Roseland Review - July 2016 - Duane Dewitt

by Duane De Witt

Sliding Skid Row into Roseland

For decades many Roseland residents have been working hard to improve Roseland. Many have thought the current preliminary efforts for Roseland Annexation, with a Roseland Specific Plan, being done by Santa Rosa city planners, would better their community and provide a brighter future. But Santa Rosa city staff planners have been working behind the scenes to move Santa Rosa’s “Skid Row” from Wilson St. over into Roseland starting before annexation happens. The secret process to move Skid Row into Roseland has been underway for at least 3 years while members of the Steering Committee for the Roseland Specific Plan just found out about this at a Santa Rosa Planning Commission meeting on May 26, 2016.

City Planners have been working with the Redwood Gospel Mission to put hundreds of transients over into Roseland at a planned “Rehabilitation” facility on Roberts Rd. next to the SMART Railroad tracks. There will be 16 buildings if this project is allowed to go forward. A meeting was held on June 29, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at Roseland Village Neighborhood Meeting Center, 779 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. According to the city of Santa Rosa notification, “This was an informational neighborhood meeting scheduled to discuss the project proposed at 275/280/285 Roberts Avenue”. The meeting gave a Project Description: Construction and operation of a new comprehensive 24-hour care and rehabilitation campus for the homeless.”(Emphasis mine.) This article has been submitted before the meeting due to the printing schedule of the Gazette

The city statement further stated, “The approximately 2.5-acre site is relatively flat and located south of the adjacent Joe Rodota Trail and situated on both the east and west sides of Roberts Avenue.” This is the site of the old Shamrock Cement Batch Plant behind the Acme Auto Wreckers yard. “The proposal includes approximately 67,000 square feet of new buildings, with onsite parking and landscaping. Proposed development on the east side Roberts Avenue would consist of seven (7) detached buildings, and development on the west side of Roberts Avenue would consist of nine (9) separate buildings for the applicant: Redwood Gospel Mission.”

The project file is available for public review in Room 3 at City Hall (100 Santa Rosa Avenue) between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Should you have any questions or comments, contact Jeff Gilman – project applicant, at (707) 578-1830, or Brian Millar – Project Planner, at or (707)-543-3236.

     At the June 9, 2016 meeting of the Planning Commission city staff from the Planning and Economic Development Department did not talk of the possible negative effects of this project while discussing the Roseland Specific Plan. Here are some comments from a Roseland resident dealing with Santa Rosa’s failure to address complaints about the homeless already in Roseland. “The homeless encampments (I counted at least 3 on my last walk through the Roseland Neighbor Wood over the weekend) are not being removed, even though they have been reported numerous times over the last few weeks. This becomes a drawing card for more and more homeless to come. I see them walking and biking up and down McMinn Ave. from Sebastopol Rd. all day long, and I hear them pushing their shopping carts in and out of the park area all night long.”

     In addition the writer states, ”Now they are encamped again on Roseland Creek Elementary School property south of the creek and I have heard from several neighbors further south on Burbank Ave. that they are camping in the very back of people’s private property. Now there is a steady flow of homeless going up and down Burbank Ave. as well. Do you get the pattern of flow that has developed here? The failure to remove the homeless from the park land invites them to concentrate there and branch out into contiguous areas. I know this part of Roseland is county and not your jurisdiction, so I intend to also contact the appropriate county authorities as well.” —This writer 

An important thing to keep in mind about Santa Rosa and its “Ghettoization of Roseland” is Sonoma County taxpayers paid for the park lands which were then deeded over to the city. So this is city land, kept in the county by the city, so a deliberate game is being played by elected officials now to increase the number of homeless in Roseland. Some Roseland residents tell this reporter they feel the bureaucrats are “spitting in their eyes” even as they want to convince the voters to raise more taxes this next election. This will be a hard sell in Roseland where thousands of voters live and many residents and voters no longer trust their elected officials, let alone the millionaire bureaucrats turning Roseland into a Ghetto as they slide Skid Row into Roseland.