Kenwood Press

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News: 09/15/2019

Design review panel looks at Glen Ellen development

The county’s Design Review Committee is set to take a first look at the design of a mixed-income housing project at the corner of Arnold Drive and Carquinez Avenue in Glen Ellen.

The public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Permit Sonoma hearing room, 2550 Ventura Ave., in Santa Rosa.

The review at this point is considered “conceptual,” which means that the project would come back to the three-person committee at a later date after getting feedback from committee members.

The development proposal, by property owner Marty Winter and his Glen Ellen Properties, is located on two parcels which presently include an existing triplex, a commercial building, a cottage, and one single-family home.

Under the proposal, the commercial building (which currently houses a tasting room and jeweler) and cottage would remain, with some modifications. Three new residential buildings would be constructed

Two of the new buildings would be located on Arnold Drive, and each would contain four studio apartments on the lower floor, and one two-bedroom apartment unit on an upper floor.

The third new building would be on Carquinez Avenue, have two one-bedroom apartments on the lower floor, and two studios on a second story.

Part of the project would include an affordable housing component, as defined by county regulations. Three out of a total of 15 units (20 percent) would be designated affordable.

Parking for the development would be accessed from Carquinez Avenue.

Residents of Glen Ellen have expressed great interest in the project, as the location is highly visible in downtown Glen Ellen. Back in March, the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (SVCAC), an advisory body that makes recommendations to government planning officials, looked at a similar proposal.

At that meeting, residents, as well as SVCAC commissioners, expressed a number of concerns about the size and look of the buildings, the traffic impacts, and whether or not the design fit the character of small town Glen Ellen.

Since then, Winter has made some revisions, and attended some meetings with the Glen Ellen Forum, pledging to work with the community to produce a project that people like.

The project requires the addition of a zoning designation known as the county’s “Workforce Housing Combining Zone,” which is defined as increasing housing opportunities for local workers. Because a zone change is required, the project will also have to appear before the county’s Planning Commission, as well as return to the Design Review Committee.

The county planner on the project is Nina Belluci and she can be reached at Nina.Belluci@sonoma.county.orgwith any questions about the proposed development.

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