Fred Allebach Fred Allebach is a member of the City of Sonoma’s Community Services and Environmental Commission, and an Advisory Committee member of the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Fred is a member of Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards, as well as Sonoma Valley Housing Group and Transition Sonoma Valley.


Hotel and housing, not swimming pool, slated for Verano Avenue

Posted on September 5, 2019 by Fred Allebach


Details of the housing/hotel project planned for the Verano Avenue site of the Paul’s Field baseball diamonds have emerged in a series of public meetings. MidPen Housing, and the Sonoma Investors Group led by hotelier Norman Krug, will collaborate on 72 units of Affordable Housing and a 120-room mid-priced hotel.

The project is located on a six-acre parcel along Verano Avenue across from Maxwell Park. It was just sold by Sonoma Splash, a nonprofit that worked to get a community pool built there. (The group is now working with the School District on a pool at Sonoma Valley High School. 

Krug is owner of the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn. 

The proposed apartments and hotel will go to the County as one project, on September 20. The project is using the current Springs Specific Plan draft to inform the entitlement application. Bill Blum, formerly of MacArthur Place, will be managing the hotel’s pre-construction phase, and Kimberly Stephenson is Senior Project Manager at MidPen. When completed, the two components will be owned and operated separately. 

MidPen is an experienced developer of deed-restricted, non-profit Affordable Housing; it built the successful Fetters Apartments in the Springs. The 72 units will be reserved for people earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, such as farm workers, teachers, bakers, home health and child care workers, hotel clerks, waitresses, cashiers, bus drivers, office clerks, furniture finishers, landscape workers, recycling workers, and first line supervisors of restaurant food prep. 

The housing design is currently proposed as three-story walk up structures surrounded by large trees, and bordered by FAHA on one side and Lazzarotto Mobile Home park on the other. The site plan is 30% housing, 35% parking/driveway and 35% landscaping. Ninety parking spaces will be consolidated together between the hotel and apartment buildings. 

The grounds will present a natural feel. MidPen plans to have an environmental education program as part of its on-site management of the housing complex.

There has been no organized neighbor opposition to the housing or hotel project, which sits on County land. The three main issues so far have been noise, traffic, and building height.   

Krug says the hotel will satisfy a large local demand for non-destination, mid-priced lodging. There will be no public restaurant or bar at the hotel. The Best Western, Krug’s mid-priced hotel in downtown Sonoma, has been at 90% occupancy, and local hotel capacity is tight. Local visitors have to stay out of town and then drive to Sonoma from Petaluma or Vallejo. This situation is inconvenient, planners say,  and causes many visitors to stay at AirBnBs or vacation rentals, which both take units away from local housing stock.

Krug intends to serve visiting family members and clients visiting Sonoma Valley for conferences and business. As a current rough call, 91% of Krug visitors come from the US, 85% from California, and 75% from NorCal.

The project will next be discussed at the Springs Municipal Advisory Council meeting  on September 29. The project will also be heard by the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee on a future date. Both are public meetings.

The previous post of this story lacked the opening paragraph. The Sun regrets the error. 




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