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Dense Housing in Glen Ellen

 

Letters

Glen Ellen residents are facing numerous development proposals that are impacting our community and fundamentally changing the semi-rural character of our village that both the General Plan and Development and Design Guidelines were intended to protect.

The Sorkin Project, which is the current project at the corner of Carquinez & Arnold, has applied for a permit to add two ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) 1,200 sq. ft. each over what will now be a covered parking lot, in their unfinished Railroad Avenue Parking lot.

ADUs require no public review and are permitted at the County over the Planning counter. This is a new state law, AB-68.

Neighbors near the project and our community, have no knowledge of this addition and change. There has been no assessment of conformance with the Glen Ellen Village Design & Guidelines and General Plan. Dense housing is not consistent with the semi-rural character of Glen Ellen.

In addition, the County has just released a Draft EIR of properties in Sonoma County to rezone for higher density housing (for more information go to [email protected] ), and the Winter property directly across the street from the Sorkin Project, is on the list to evaluate and possibly change. This could mean a change from 4 residential units to 16-22 workforce units on that property, removing the majority of the vegetation and mature trees.

California needs housing, but Glen Ellen would not be described as an urban environment where dense housing exemplifies our norm. Views, natural landscapes, open space are what characterize our community.

Dense housing in Glen Ellen is incongruous.

Share these changes/impacts with your neighbors, and write, call, and email: -Supervisor Gorin susan.gorin@ sonoma-county.org for both issues -And the projects planner for the Sorkin Project [email protected] sonoma-county.org 707-565-3095 Deb Pool Glen Ellen

The growing of cannabis in Sonoma County is an agricultural endeavor still relatively in its infancy, especially in the commercial volumes under consideration. It will be several years before average water usage/acre and workers/acre, can be established. As a 47-year wine grape grower, my company nonetheless is interested in learning more about the implications of these policies. And as a resident of the county for over 10 years, I am personally sensitive to the feelings and fears of many rural neighbors..

Craig Harrington, a Bennett Valley resident, recently asserted that in Bennett Valley, there are 138 parcels comprising 4,702 acres (10 or more acres/parcel). He believes that as much as 600 acres of cannabis may be planted; at present, there are reportedly 2.5 acres planted. While he does not raise considerations about water or view constraints which may decrease this planting estimate considerably, he contends that 600 acres of cannabis would require 12,000 daily workers (or 20 workers per cannabis acre). He also contends that growing cannabis requires 6 times as much water as wine grapes per acre. (While his numbers may be substantially exaggerated, one can understand his concern. My family lives in Kenwood, 15 minutes from Bennett Valley, and to see our granddaughter and her parents in Rohnert Park, we are on this road frequently.) Therefore, the Board of Supervisors might consider establishing a County acreage limit (for the next 4 years) as a reasonable solution; why not propose a 1% limit on the total acres cited above, or 740 acres? That is a 99% reduction from the contended maximum, and yet almost 15 times that reported as permitted today. As a farming resident, I would like to see our agricultural sector diversify further and there be more employment and tourism potential created. We certainly need it. Dave Jefferson Kenwood

I am one of those people who has been on nearmaximum water conservation for years. I installed drip irrigation years ago, before it was popular. I planted drought-resistant plants. I have low-flow toilets and low-flow showerheads. I have no leaky faucets or toilets. I take my car to a car wash. I use the dishwasher only when it is full, which means it runs every two days at most. I have a lever kitchen faucet that I flip off easily when I rinse any dishes. I only do full loads of laundry. I brush my teeth by filling a glass of water, dipping my toothbrush in, brushing my teeth, rinsing from the glass, and using the remainder to rinse out my toothbrush. I do not have a lawn. I am simply not a wasteful person.

My concern is that a percentage reduction is not a fair way to reduce water use. When you ask folks to conserve, unfortunately that means something different to each person.

What is needed, rather than a percentage reduction, is an allotment for each family based on the number of persons who reside in the home.

Marin County, where we lived for years, came up with a successful plan: They allotted a specified quantity of water for each person residing in the household. They allowed 37 gallons per day per person. The residents of each home could use the water any way they wanted. For example, if someone wanted to wash their car rather than flush a toilet, water their lawn, cook, or wash the dishes, that is their decision.

By having a specific allotment per person, per water meter, you can easily check to see who is complying and who is not. You can establish exorbitant rates for water that is used in excess of the allotment.

You can easily use a quantity other than 37 gallons. This plan has worked successfully for 200,000-plus people in Marin during their last water crisis.

This system avoids making lists of priorities that the utility department deems important. Everyone is treated equally. It never works when the water district tells people how to use their water; give them an allotment and let them decide instead. We do not need “Big Brother” … nor should anyone want to become the water police.

For the water districts to ask everyone to cut back by a certain percentage is neither fair nor appropriate for those of us who have been conserving for years.

Jule Lifschiz, Oakmont

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