How does a new neighborhood become a reality? Lots of public meetings.
Workshops, community hearings, panels (see A SMART Step Forward on May 17!) abound all the effort to move the plan for the new neighborhood around the proposed Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Guerneville Road station to the planning commission and on to the city council for approval.
Now the plan is hitting a critical milestone: the Santa Rosa Planning Commission will take up the plan for this neighborhood near the Coddingtown Mall on May 24.
How does it fare? Read through our analysis of the North Santa Rosa Station Area Plan.
Many of the policies that we outlined in our platform (PDF) are in the plan including designs for a connector bridge to link the station to the Santa Rosa Junior College that would make it easier for people on bicycles and pedestrians to cross Highway 101. The plan also allows for retail and increased housing at the station, creating a sense of place for visitors and residents who will use the train. We strongly support building new developments on a section of the parking lots at the Coddingtown Mall to create a vibrant mixed-use area.
Room for improvement:
While we are thrilled to see the plan call for bike lockers at the station, unbundling parking (meaning parking sold or rented separately from a building space), shared parking, transit passes and many more policies that help people get out of their cars, we feel the language could be stronger. Right now many of the transportation policies are “encouraged” or “promoted.” Instead, we would like to see these great ideas “required.” For example, the plan could identify where the bike lockers should go and incorporate bike ratios for the number of anticipated riders.
Greenbelt Alliance supports homes for people across all incomes. The current plan focuses on retaining the existing affordable housing, but does not specifically identify how many of the new homes will be available at moderate- or low-income levels. We would like to see at least 20% of new homes built in the neighborhood affordable to low-income households, and 20% affordable to moderate-income households.
Come to the Planning Commission meeting on May 24, 4 p.m. at the Santa Rosa City Hall Council Chambers 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa.