Listening to Planning Director David Goodison, whom it’s rumored has been in the Planning Department since the days of Mariano Vallejo, has been compared to verbal water-boarding. City Planning-speak, comprehensible by less than .0001% of people on Earth and all life forms in the universe, combined with the legal language of an EIR delivered in bureaucratic monotone, renders any unfortunate listener dumbstruck, feverishly plotting escape and agreeing to anything to make it stop.
Which brings us to the No-Name Hotel, aka the Sonoma Hotel Project. For some reason the development whizzes behind this swanky tourist trap in the heart of downtown Sonoma have been unable to come up with a name for it. You wouldn’t think it’d be that difficult to lay a moniker on this gigantic roadblock, but apparently the geniuses behind it are stumped. This does not exude confidence in this Project.
And speaking of Hotel Project’s traffic study, get this: According to the developers and their bevy of experts, the hotel, which will take up most of West Napa St. between First & Second Streets won’t impact any traffic. While you’re laughing that off consider that this hotel/resort with restaurant is situated on Highway 12, the one road in and out of Sonoma and lies adjacent to the Plaza. Additional traffic at this crossroads? Naw.
In case that finding by the city Planning Director and the vaunted Planning Commission has you perplexed add this to the mix. The Zoning Ordinance governing this location is designated as Commercial, and its size requires 50 percent of it of it to be used for residential housing. Of course the developers want none of that and their lawyers will be telling you why they should not have to abide by that pesky regulation. How absurd to think Sonoma needs more housing. Will the Planning Commission buy that claptrap and agree that Sonoma doesn’t need more housing? Stay tuned.
But in the end the No-Name will be built, the developers and their cheerleaders will get everything they want, and the residents of Sonoma and those that have to move through it will sit in the mother of all traffic jams. This is the reality of living here so best get used to it. If only it all wasn’t compounded by the dog-and-pony show when the outcome has long been predetermined.
Once, just once, I’d love to hear a developer say, “I want to build this hotel because I want lots of money and I really don’t care if you people like it or not.” But you’ll never hear that. You’ll be told that it’s being built because it’s great for the town and it’s desperately needed and anyone against it is an anti-tourist socialist.
How about a Name the Hotel contest? Send your suggestions to: Kenwood Investments, c/o Darius Anderson. Heard he has a great sense of humor.
Will Shonbrun, Boyes Hot Springs