Sonoma Valley Sun


‘Common sense’ flaws in plan for new Sonoma hotel

Posted on October 23, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun
I am writing to submit comments regarding the recent decision to advance the hotel construction project on Napa Street between 1st and 2nd Streets East.  I have lived in Sonoma for 20 years, and I actively participated in promoting Measure B; I also met with Darius Anderson prior to forming an opinion about the project.  My specific criticisms of the project have been widely discussed and are certainly familiar to you, I believe the project will:
– aggravate the pre-exiting traffic and cyclist/pedestrian safety issues already present at the location
– increase the shortfall of parking capacity vs. demand during peak tourist season
– significantly raise baseline water demand in a city that does not have a secure water supply safety factor (I studied hydrology at UCSC)
– add foot traffic around the plaza (beneficial), but will not improve foot traffic on Broadway (which should be a primary goal in the City Plan due to Broadway’s superior traffic flow, parking capacity and undeveloped potential)
There is a perfect spot for a hotel development project like this one — the Northeast corner of Broadway and MacArthur.  Development in that location would mitigate most of the problems associated with the site on Napa Street/Hwy 12.  Perhaps the various public and private communications about the project over the years have obscured the City Council members’ appreciation of the clear impressions held by me and many of my fellow citizens:
1.  Based on my conversation with Darius Anderson early in this process, it appears that an individual chose the site for the hotel project on the basis of his personal financial considerations and has succeeded in imposing this choice on the City
2.  Measure B and the subsequence EIRs, public comments, letters to newspapers, etc., have raised many legitimate concerns and strategically superior alternatives which have not been countered by reasonable responses or concern from the developer, or City Government.
3.  The project is moving forward by “waiting out” and subverting democratic governmental procedures and ignoring common-sense urban planning principles.
If the project moving forward is a fait accompli, then I can only hope that it becomes an object lesson and cautionary tale regarding the risks that can exist within a smaller city’s governance processes.
— Kent Iverson, Sonoma 

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