Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
News: 02/15/2015

Hearing set on Elnoka ridgeline issue



On Feb. 26, the City of Santa Rosa Planning Commission will consider whether or not the developer of the Elnoka retirement community project can build on what the city has designated as a ridgeline.

The developer, Oakmont Senior Living (OSL) has not officially filed plans for the 479-unit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which would include single-story homes, units in three story buildings, a medical/assisted care building, and recreational facilities.

Before they embark on what will surely be a lengthy planning process for the entire CCRC, the issue of the ridgeline stands in the way and could potentially send the developer back to the drawing board. Various OSL ideas for part or all of the 68-acre Elnoka property off of Sonoma Hwy. near Melita Road date back eight years, marked by disputes with adjacent Oakmont until officials for that 55 and older community agreed to support the current CCRC plans.

According to those plans, the CCRC’s single story homes would be built on what the city’s General Plan in 2002 labeled as a ridgeline, a topographic feature that met the city’s definition of a ridgeline, which broadly stated is, “a line following the highest point formed by the meeting of slopes.”

This ridge presently has three structures on it, and is the upper portion of an area heavily graded by a previous developer in the 1990s. According to city planning documents, the ridgeline extends approximately 1,500 feet across about eight parcels, with the top of the ridge varying in elevation from 430 to 446 feet. Behind the property is Annadel State Park, which reaches a ridge height of over 900 feet. The ridgeline at issue is also lower than the ridgeline within Oakmont next door.

OSL wants the ridgeline designation removed from the city’s General Plan, arguing that assigning that label was an error.

“The intent of the General Plan Ridgeline Ordinance is to prohibit any development on hillsides or ridgelines that would interrupt the skyline,” said Steve McCullagh, project manager with OSL. “In 2002, it appears the City arbitrarily designated a ridgeline on our site, without any established criteria, since the City cannot produce any findings as to why they designated our property as a ridgeline.”

McCullagh said OSL, as requested by city planners, has submitted a three-dimensional visual analysis that he says illustrates that the development fits within city zoning rules and would not interrupt the skyline, therefore the ridgeline designation was unwarranted and its removal justified.

The position of city planners has been that the ridgeline designation in the General Plan documents is not an error. However, said City of Santa Rosa Senior Planner Joel Galbraith, that doesn’t mean the Planning Commission can’t consider the overall merits to OSL’s request, and that it’s possible to build on a ridgeline in an environmentally sensitive manner that could fit the city’s general Plan and design policies.

A staff report is being prepared by Galbraith and will be available for public review a week before the Feb. 26 hearing. The Planning Commission meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa.

Public input on the proposal is ongoing, and at press time there were three letters from nearby residents opposing the removal of the ridgeline designation. There were 12 letters supporting OSL’s request, including one from the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) Board of Directors. The OVA and OSL have entered into an agreement stating in part that the OVA would actively support the CCRC project. To that end, Oakmont officials have been strongly encouraging Oakmont residents to send letters of support to city planning staff and the Santa Rosa City Council.

For more information on the project or to give your opinion, contact Senior Planner Joel Galbraith at 543-3215, or jgalbraith@srcity.org.


Editor & Publisher
Email: alec@kenwoodpress.com

Recently Published:

11/15/2019 - Missing man found dead at Hood Mountain park
11/15/2019 - Kenwood Depot celebrates 40 years as Historic Landmark
11/15/2019 - Volunteers restore historic orchard
11/15/2019 - FEMA grants Santa Rosa $3.4M to protect critical infrastructure
11/15/2019 - Sonoma Raceway Food Drive
11/15/2019 - PG&E agrees to extend fire claim deadline
11/15/2019 - County fire funding to hit the March 2020 ballot
11/15/2019 - Fire district consolidation pondered
11/15/2019 - Special delivery to Kenwood School
11/15/2019 - Oakmont honors its veterans
11/15/2019 - SVCAC meeting on traffic study
11/15/2019 - Free Thanksgiving dinners
11/01/2019 - The bears are back
11/01/2019 - KCC Annual Holiday Potluck set for Dec. 4
11/01/2019 - Urban planners chosen to create SDC Specific Plan
11/01/2019 - Country road clean-up in Glen Ellen
11/01/2019 - Farmer fire relief
11/01/2019 - Bouverie Preserve selects design firm to move forward with fire rebuild
11/01/2019 - Third-party administrator urges people to apply to Wildfire Assistance Program
11/01/2019 - Vehicle regulations threaten free bookmobile outreach program
11/01/2019 - Seedlings for the future...
11/01/2019 - It’s time to pay attention to groundwater
11/01/2019 - Major fire district reorganization gets going
11/01/2019 - Tree crashes into Kenwood house
11/01/2019 - Impacts of power shutoffs widespread and expensive

Community Calendar

Free food available for those in need
11/15/2019
more...
Forest Therapy
11/16/2019
more...
Join Bill and Dave on the Sonoma Ridge Trail
11/16/2019
more...
Free screening of Warrior Women documentary
11/16/2019
more...
Yacht Club ‘Come Ashore’ members’ social
11/16/2019
more...
Free Bookmobile coming to town
11/16/2019
more...
Glen Ellen/Kenwood Friends Feast
11/17/2019
more...
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
11/17/2019
more...
Free food available for those in need
11/19/2019
more...
Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood meeting
11/20/2019
more...
Loss and resilience walk
11/21/2019
more...


Weather Underground PWS KCAKENWO2