Sonoma’s City Council upholds Schocken Hill appeal

Posted on April 9, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun

At the end of the second marathon meeting lasting five hours, the Sonoma City Council upheld an appeal of the Planning Commission approval of three large homes on Schocken Hill. In a succession of three 3-2 votes by the council majority Agrimonti, Hundley and Harrington (Cook and Edwards dissenting) gave direction to staff to come back with resolutions for adoption at their next meeting upholding the appeals.

Though each of the three homes proposed varied in size, the majority found that all exceeded the 5,000 square feet pad size allowed by the Hillside Ordinance passed in 2003. Though the applicants argued that six other homes larger than 5,000 square feet had been built under similar site conditions and limitations since, the council majority did not find the comparisons compelling, nor did they find that they constitute precedent. Despite repeated threats of litigation made by the attorney for the applicant, Bill Jasper, the council majority refused to be intimidated; David Cook commented that he’d found such threats unpalatable.

All members of the council agreed that houses can be built on the properties in question, but the majority made it clear that they must abide and adhere to the guidelines and standards of the Development Code. It’s unclear as to what, if any, actions the applicant might take at this time. The projects can be revised and resubmitted to the Planning Commission, or the applicant can choose to take the matter to court. For now however, pending adoption of the final resolutions, Schocken Hill will remain as it is.

5 thoughts on “Sonoma’s City Council upholds Schocken Hill appeal

  1. Three VERY smart, VERY tough councilwomen refused to be intimidated by threats of litigation from lawyers for an arrogant rich guy whose friends all said was such a nice guy. So nice that, if you believe some of them, he is going to sue the city, depose eveyone on council & city staff, & cost the city & city’s residents & taxpayers ‘millions’ just so he can build his monster McMansions on the hill and have great views. To be fair, however, a house less than 5000 square feet (the limit of the city guidelines) couldn’t possibily accommodate an ego that big. But there’s a vacant penthouse in Trump Tower that supposedly has great views. He should check it out.

  2. I had predicted this would be an interesting meeting and I was not disappointed in this regards. I think both sides had their say and then the council took their vote. I think it will lead to mr Jaspers being forced to go back to the drawing board and coming up with a creative solution that falls with the guidelines the council is asking for. Not surprising to see that the final vote was three female council women against the two male council men. It makes sense on the deepest of levels. Congratulations to all that participated and I personally am happy that perhaps a better project will come out of it that will make everyone satisfied.

  3. Thank for upholding existing standards despite great pressure not to do so. What are guidelines for if not to follow them?

  4. That sound you hear is the thunderous applause of the entire town.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of our community.

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