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Springs Splash - December 2016 - Thomas Martin


Springs Splash - December 2016 - Thomas Martin

by Tom Martin

Still reeling from the election blues, residents attended a Springs Community Alliance meeting on Thursday (11/10/16) at the Charter School to learn about a proposed new development along Highway 12. It’s a planned takeout restaurant at property formerly owned by Steve Lanning Construction. It’s across the street from Armando’s Garage and the planned Plaza. 

Tim Sloat, representative of KS Mattson Partners of Citrus Heights, presented the plans for remodeling and development. Ms. Sondra Bernstein, owner of the Plaza restaurant, The Girl and The Fig and “The Fig” in Glen Ellen, discussed ideas related to food offerings. 

Proposed  “Noodle Springs” restaurantThe basic idea is to raze the Lanning buildings and replace them with a pre-fabricated modular structure that would feature outdoor stalls, inner courtyard parking, four units of container-based dwelling units as affordable housing, food and storage rooms, rest rooms, and small shops operated by local parties. Ms. Bernstein discussed food offerings available from the “Noodle Springs” restaurant such as ramen bowls, Yakitori, with an offering in the morning of a juice bar and coffee. She noted somehow this would not be in competition with the Barking Dog.  

Mr. Sloat was asked about the time frame for development of the project. He says they are pushing hard to open in the food/rental location by May, 2017 with the housing component to open by late summer or fall. He told the Charter School audience timing would depend on the response by Sonoma County.

A Five Year Plan…

The Ramen walk-up counter and four container-based dwelling units are being developed based on a five year plan. In a message to the Gazette KS Mattson Partners said it is their “intention to essentially landbank this property for 5 years, give or take a couple years, until it becomes more clear what kind of long-term development is appropriate for the site.” 

Several residents raised questions such as what the price of food would be, and why just five years? Ms. Bernstein noted that ramen dishes would possibly retail at $10 in the beginning, but might rise. This was met with some skepticism. She reported that similar dishes were selling for “$15 in Healdsburg.” One audience member questioned whether most Springs residents could afford such fare. As far as a five year period of land banking was concerned, the spokesperson indicated the container based housing would serve short term housing needs and act as a learning experiment to see if future container-based housing is feasible in Sonoma County and elsewhere

When those assembled were asked to raise their hands if they supported this project there seemed near unanimous approval. There was no request for hand raising of those who might be opposed.

Another view….

At least one respondent commented that it appeared to her this will be a “glorified food truck” stuck in the middle of the Springs. She went on to say that after five years, “What then?” Will the container trucks for housing be dismantled? Or, will the owners move on and the Springs left with an eyesore across from the hoped for Springs Plaza?

Press reports indicate that Ken and Stacy Mattson who are partners in this venture have also invested elsewhere in Sonoma in recent months. They purchased the Boyes Food Center (Calle del Monte and Hwy 12), Sonoma’s Best Deli and Cottages (E. Napa Rd), as well as a home in Sonoma.

We will follow this new development in the midst of the Springs with great interest. Will it be a first move to improve the quality of life in the Springs or is it simply an investor’s experiment in a community of need? We shall be interested to see. 



Following the election 300-400 Sonoma Valley High School students marched up Broadway to the Plaza to announce their opposition to the election of the Trumpster. On Friday evening  of the same week the mostly adult Trump Protest at the Plaza included many Springs’ residents. They waved flags, banners, and signs were met with resounding support from horn honking citizens passing in front of the Plaza/City Hall. Among those participating was a family that included students from Flowery School.