Sonoma Valley Sun


Agua Caliente Rd. development is misguided

Posted on September 16, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Arnold Drive corridor and unincorporated Sonoma County lack infrastructure, resources and opportunities to support the addition of 2,300+ new residences [on Agua Caliente Rd. West]. In Susan Gorin’s June 2023 email update, she stated that services “are not sufficiently accessible to vulnerable residents in the Sonoma Valley… due to its geographic isolation and lack of public transportation.” 

So why on earth would we build 2,300+ new residences where there is a lack of services, a lack of public transportation and geographic isolation? Every think-tank and government entity in this country advocates for in-fill construction, and building housing near existing services. 

It is magical thinking to suggest that any of the proposed developments are going to provide adequate affordable housing for essential workers who live and work in the community. First and foremost, affordable housing units are assigned by lottery: teachers, nurses, firefighters, local workers, etc. get no preferential treatment. Their names go into a hat just like everyone else. 

Second, “Low Income” in Unincorporated Sonoma County means an annual income of $104,000 for a family of four. Perhaps most importantly, only a small fraction of the proposed units will be so-called “affordable” housing. And please don’t forget that the Hanna proposal includes 130 hotel rooms, 150 units for sale at market-rate, and 201,250 square feet of commercial space.

The developers who are proposing these projects are not looking out for the interests of Sonoma Valley residents. They are trying to make as much money as possible. That’s what capitalism is, and that’s fine. Just don’t be fooled by their philanthropic marketing.

–Sean Navarro-Dominguez, West Agua Caliente

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA