Settlement on the hill, and other tidbits

Posted on October 2, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Developer Bill Jasper finally has permission to build his mega-mansion on a prominent Sonoma hillside. The proposal for three huge (14k sq. ft.) homes near Fourth Street East at Brazil Street was originally turned down on appeal. So he sued. A 2019 Sonoma County Superior Court ruling found the lawsuit without merit, but you don’t get (or stay) rich without a team of relentless attorneys. Japer kept the pressure on, and earlier this year, the city caved at the prospect of endless legal expenses. Rather quietly, the city council (including three members who have since resigned) signed off on a deal that gives Jasper what he wants in exchange for dropping the lawsuit… So add that to your building-project checklist: architect, building permit, fancy out-of-town attorney.

The much-missed Maiti Iturri, late of El Verano School, has taken a position with the Petaluma School District. There was much speculation as to why she left the local principal job, but not being considered for the superintendent spot wasn’t one of them. As she clarified to The Sun, which had also surmised incorrectly, “Although I was disappointed to not receive an interview for superintendent, it is not the reason I chose to leave SVUSD after 25 years of service.”… Iturri continues as a member of the Springs Municipal Advisory Committee. 


The small things are not trivial things, Mike Acker says, like the shoddy repair to the fence along Highway 12 at the closed Boyes Boulevard spur. “Small markers of respect, or its lack, provide feedback to people about their neighborhood and how it is perceived by the powers that be, whether in business or government. Positive feedback begets positive feelings and actions. The opposite is also true. Neglect or negligence by those in authority gives us the very clear message that we are not being respected. The world and our country are in serious trouble. Seemingly overwhelming problems confront us. Yet the small details of our environment are still important.”

The County may not be able to fix a fence, but it knows how to close a loophole. This one: a gap in the rules about commercial cannabis. It seems that crafty cultivators were skirting the limits on grows of more than 10,000 square feet by acquiring easy-to-get permits for adjacent smaller plots. 

Sonoma Impact100 Sonoma, the member organization that has granted almost $3 million to Sonoma Valley nonprofits since 2009, will continue to use the “Impetus Grants” model adopted last year. The model had been grants of up to $100k. But a Covid-era response was to distribute up to $25k to help more organizations. The grantmaking strategy will continue to provide the best response to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Nancy Wever, co-chair.. Last year, Impact100 awarded a total of $300,000 in grant funding to 13 Sonoma Valley nonprofits. As always, the recipients are selected by a vote of the entire 300-plus membership.


At Andrews Hall, in the Sonoma Arts Live production of Sunset Boulevard (through October 10), Dani Innocenti Beem (not above) stars as the reclusive, deluded Norma Desmond — a huge star of old Hollywood, now aged and forgotten in her crumbling mansion. The movie role was a comeback vehicle for Gloria Swanson (above); like the fictional Desmond, she was seen as a haggy has-been. Swanson’s age during the filming: all of 53. Jennifer Anniston, by the way, and I’m not sure this makes me feel better or worse, is 52.


— Val Robichaud, [email protected]




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