Hotel limitation measure takes big step forward

Posted on July 9, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The backers of Sonoma’s Hotel Limitation Measure submitted 1,600 signatures to the city clerk Monday, some 30 percent more than the minimum number required to trigger a special election.

If passed by majority vote, the initiative would limit the size of new hotels in Sonoma to 25 rooms until the city’s annual occupancy rate exceeded 80 percent.

Valid signatures from 15 percent of the city’s registered voters were required to qualify for the election. Larry Barnett, chair of the Preserving Sonoma Committee, the initiattive sponsor, said his group collected more than 1,600 signatures.

“Technically we had six months to gather enough signatures, but we did it in seven weeks,” Barnett said.

The signatures must now be validated by county election officials, a process that should take about a week.

“We have checked every signature against the list of registered voters provided by the county, and we have far more than needed to qualify for the special election,” Barnett said.

After county certification, the issue comes back to the Sonoma City Council, which must choose to adopt the measure or set a date for the election within 90 days.

If the council chooses to schedule an election instead of simply adopting this measure, Barnett said, “a solid majority of Sonoma’s voters will pass it.”

PHOTO: Sonoma City Clerk Gay Johann accepts 1,600 sigatures from Larry Barnett, chair of the Preserving Sonoma Committee, sponsor fo the Hotel Limitattion Measure.