Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
News: 10/01/2019

GE developer told to change design

A developer wanting to build a mixed-income housing project in downtown Glen Ellen was told by a county panel that the design fell short and needed revamping.

Glen Ellen Properties owner Marty Winter and his architect, Eric Glass, appeared before the county’s Design Review Committee (DRC) on Sept. 18, and presented their latest drawings for what they call “The Rustic Shops & Apartments” on two parcels at the corner of Arnold Drive and Carquinez Avenue.

Currently on the properties are a 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.

The number of housing units would increase from five to 15, with three of the units designated as affordable.

Access into a parking lot to be built in the inner area of the project would be from Carquinez Avenue.

Glen Ellen Properties, which owns other buildings in downtown Glen Ellen, first started pitching development plans for the site a number of years ago, plans which have undergone a number of revisions, all of which, for the most part, have encountered opposition from the Glen Ellen community. The current renderings are no exception.

A number of Glen Ellen residents appeared before the DRC on Sept. 18 to give public testimony, bringing up a variety of issues, including the size and scope of the project, its design incompatibility with the historic character of the two-block downtown, the removal of too many trees, increased downtown traffic congestion and parking problems, the large size of the roof, poor building materials, and the lack of compliance with specific development guidelines that apply to Glen Ellen.

Glen Ellen resident Mary Guerrazzi said the design looked like “cheap ski condos at South Lake Tahoe.”

Long time resident Nick Brown said it was important for the developer “to realize he is shaping the legacy of our downtown for generations to come.”

“One ill-conceived project like this has the potential to destroy the small town character, feel and quality of life,” echoed 25-year Glen Ellen resident Vicki Hill.

Glass told the DRC that there have been a number of changes since the original design, including what he said was a smaller size, improved setbacks, different building materials, and better landscaping.

“We’ve tried very hard to listen to all the community comments and respond,” said Glass.

The DRC encouraged Glass and the developer Winter to try harder.

“This is an improvement from where you began,” said committee member Jim Henderson, “But you haven’t gone far enough to satisfy the public. It needs more massaging to conform to the Glen Ellen Guidelines. Go back and pay close attention to the character of Glen Ellen.”

The meeting was considered an early “conceptual” design review by the DRC. Later in the process is a “preliminary” design review by the panel, and later a “final” review.

“The applicants have put the project on hold while they conduct further community outreach and revisions to the project design,” noted Nina Bellucci, the county planner on the project in an email after the meeting. She wrote that it’s likely once those revisions are submitted, that the next step would be an additional conceptual design review meeting, but she won’t be sure until she sees the revisions.

Editor & Publisher

Recently Published:

08/01/2020 - SVCAC supports Glen Ellen cannabis operation
08/01/2020 - Tree Men at work
08/01/2020 - Concerns aired at groundwater public hearing
08/01/2020 - Property tax values available online
08/01/2020 - Mayacamas VFD seeking volunteers for board and fire council work
08/01/2020 - Virtual fundraiser for SV Mentoring Alliance
08/01/2020 - PG&E powering up...
08/01/2020 - Sugarloaf Ridge State Park events
08/01/2020 - Labor dispute likely behind golf exit in Oakmont
08/01/2020 - Oakmont’s general manager resigns
08/01/2020 - Long-term Bay Area planning – public workshop for Sonoma on Aug. 5
08/01/2020 - Kenwood Fire District ballot measure – confusing but necessary
08/01/2020 - Free food distributions in Kenwood, Glen Ellen
08/01/2020 - Protect open space at the SDC
08/01/2020 - Applications available for the 2020 Jack London Yacht Club Grants
08/01/2020 - We remember you: Notes from the Eldridge Cemetery
08/01/2020 - Agenda set for Aug. 3 Glen Ellen Forum meeting
08/01/2020 - New Soroptimists in Wine Country
08/01/2020 - Clarification
08/01/2020 - Kenwood school board, fire board election filing deadlines
08/01/2020 - Rebuild NorthBay awards grant to Glen Ellen Forum to benefit fire survivors
07/15/2020 - North Valley Municipal Advisory Council appointed
07/15/2020 - Fire Season 2020 top 10 tips
07/15/2020 - The witching hour
07/15/2020 - Political action alive and well in Oakmont...

Community Calendar

Sugarloaf Trail Crew
Night Sky Trails
Creekside Nature Hike
Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance Fundraiser
Forest Therapy
Economic Recovery town hall meeting