Changes coming to 13-acre Napa Street field

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A 10-car parking lot to serve a future bicycle trailhead is under construction along East Napa Street at Eighth Street, the first development on a 13-acre parcel approved for four homes.

The lot will be the first tangible phase of the long-proposed Sonoma-Schellville Trail, a four-mile paved bikeway between Sonoma and Highway 121. The path will run along Eighth Street, along former railroad right-of-way, and link to Sonoma’s existing bike path.

The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department acquired the land in a deal between the county and the owners of the 13.2-acre field. Under an agreement approved by the board of supervisors in 2009, George and Bret Zabelle received permission to sub-divide the parcel into four residential lots. They then gave the corner .32-acre plot to the parks department, and agreed to pay for construction of the trailhead parking lot.

The county was looking to acquire land for the project along that corridor, said Ken Tam, the project manager for Sonoma County Regional Parks.

Tam said that is was a bit our of the ordinary to build the parking lot before the trail itself, “but we had a developer who was ready to go, at his expense.”

The landscaped parking lot should be completed in August, Tam said. Its one driveway will open to Napa Street.

The bike trail itself is much more problematic. The parks department has secured easements and fee title to some sections of the railroad right of way, but must acquire the remaining properties from Union Pacific, private property owners, and SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit).

The development of the Zabelle property is of course on a separate timeline. During construction of the trailhead, Tam said some initial grading and driveway work may take place on the private land. The lots range in size from 3.1 to 3.5 acres.