The July 22 online meeting of the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee (SVCAC) may be your last and only chance to express your views about the Amazon delivery center on Hwy. 121 at 8th Street East before it gets approved and brings hundreds of trucks and cars to the already overcrowded streets of the Sonoma Valley.
So far, Sonoma Valley residents have had little knowledge of this project, and many even seem to think that it is a “done deal”. That’s because all discussions so far have been internal at the County offices in Santa Rosa. And, while Amazon has characterized the project as a simple replacement for the relatively low-impact wine-storage warehouse proposed and built in 2017, the reality is that it would bring fleets of trucks to a 24/365 facility on Hwy. 121 where a couple hundred “associates” will work, year round.
Permit Sonoma already appears poised to grant a building permit for the new use without any public hearings, or any comments from the community that will be most affected — in other words, us!
A small opportunity has emerged for the public to be heard, however. Amazon has recently filed to increase the number of parking spaces to a whopping 583, which gives you some idea of the scale of the planned operation and how it is likely to affect our local traffic. The expansion would use the 3.5 acre McCaffrey property next door to the proposed Amazon warehouse as an expansion parking lot.
As a “new” project, an on-line hearing on the expansion has been scheduled on the agenda for the Wednesday July 22, 2020 SVCAC meeting which starts at 6:30 PM. The meeting’s packet can be downloaded at SVCAC 7.22.20 , and you can use the link https://zoom.us/j/98302194170 to join the meeting.
This may be the last and only opportunity for the business and residential communities in the Sonoma Valley to comment on Amazon’s aspirations for the southerly end of the Sonoma Valley. And, courtesy of the pandemic, you can do it from your armchair. Questions that arise from the enlarged parking lot could include:
How would a huge injection of traffic from the Amazon lot improve or worsen the existing traffic jams at the Hwy. 121/116 intersection and elsewhere in the Valley?
How would Amazon‘s northbound truck routes through the Valley affect your daily use of the roads? Broadway, Hwy. 12, Napa Road and Watmaugh are all proposed as alternate routes for the Amazon truck fleet. Have you driven on Watmaugh recently? What do you think of increasing the cross-county traffic on that already falling-apart two-lane road?
How would all of this expansion mesh with the inevitable diversions of traffic to avoid the growing daily mess on Highway 37, especially as sea-level rise affects that essential cross-county highway?
We urge you to speak out, for or against, before decisions get made without your input. Emails should be sent to SVCAC c/o [email protected], and to Permit Sonoma c/o [email protected], with, a copy to us at [email protected].
— Norman Gilroy, for Mobilize Sonoma.