County signs off on Montini deal

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma’s scenic hillside backdrop will, after eight years of negotiating, finally become Sonoma property.

The county will transfer ownership of the 98-acre Montini Preserve from its Open Space District to the city of Sonoma, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday.

The OSD will build 1.8 miles of public trails on the property, with the city ultimately becoming responsible for upkeep, insurance and other expenses.

The deal guarantees that the postcard-perfect setting will never be developed, and that the public will always have access to what is now a restricted area.

The county agency acquired the land and an adjacent conservation easement from the Montini family for $13.9 million in 2005, including a $1.15 million contribution from the city of Sonoma.

Even after the property transfer, the city must abide by the OSD management plan. That document now prohibits dogs on any of the new trails.

Supervisors Susan Gorin and Shirlee Zane said the agreement should have allowed the city to make the decision about letting dogs onto the trails, but both joined the unanimous vote.

Construction of the trail system, which has already been designed, could begin within the next few months. It will link with the Overlook Trail to the east, and a new trailhead on Fourth Street West near the Vallejo home.