Join us on Facebook
What's Happening
more>>
cemetery-pic
Tour of Sonoma’s historic graveyard
Food & Wine
more >>
unnamed (43)
Family Album, Italian Style
Columnist, Blogs & Reports
more >>
Fred Allebach
Connecting the Dots
Fred Allebach

Springs Specific Plan sets worthy goals

The Springs Specific Plan or SSP is a county planning effort to modernize and improve the Highway 12 corridor through the Springs, and over onto east Verano and Donald Avenues adjacent to Sonoma. The SSP website says, “the Springs Specific Plan will be used to guide future development and gradually shape the area into a more vibrant and sustainable pedestrian-oriented community with a focus on active transportation and enhanced transit opportunities.” If the ideals of this plan are realized, the SSP would certainly be a boon to the area; if residents could stay local and shop affordably, the neighborhood would be actually sustainable with a capital S. Given that transportation greenhouse gas emissions represent the biggest deficit in state and county climate plans, keeping residents local, in a walkable, bikeable, sustainable community, is a worthy goal. The Springs is classed as a USA or Urban Service Area, an unincorporated urban area served by municipal sewer. The Springs is also a Rural Community Investment Area or RCIA. The SSP website says, “RCIAs are centers and corridors of economic and community activity surrounded by agricultural, resource, or protected conservation lands.” County growth and development is being steered to USAs and RCIAs. The SSP represents the county being forward looking and doing its part to address the future in a comprehensive way. Current county plans to increase housing stock, include Workforce Housing Combining zones that specifically target Area Median Income residents, a Cottage Housing Ordinance, a density equivalent concept, and protections for mobile home park renters. Some of these plans may come to fruition in the SSP. One question: if rezoning to force developers to serve AMI housing needs is possible, why is there not more of it? Or is the SSP like the Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals, basically voluntary and for show? In the process so far, alternatives concerning land uses, zoning, circulation, transportation, level of growth, as well as housing density have been presented and deliberated upon by consultant planners, PRMD, the public and a community advisory team. Initially there were three alternatives, one was for community housing and mixed use (higher density), two was moderate growth, three was keeping existing zoning. The public preferred a moderate level of growth but also preferred higher density housing. The fires and their impacts on an already bad county housing situation puts an onus for the SSP to favor higher density housing. Somebody around here has to step up and address AMI housing needs. In the end, the final SSP will reflect a balance and finessing of stakeholder interests, as well as addressing bone fide regional and valley demographic and commercial needs. The real challenge for the voluntary planning parameters of the SSP, is will and can market forces really step up, act sustainably, and meet the community’s needs? Is there incentive for market rate developers and businesses to serve Area Median Income resident’s interests? If SSP suggested uses are voluntary, what chance is there that any AMI housing and shopping needs will be met? Or will Sonoma Valley continue to see more of the same working class segregation and displacement, and more proliferation of high-end economy that externalizes workers, gentrifies housing and commerce, and adds to a seemingly unstoppable generation of commuter transportation greenhouse gases? From the beginning of the SSP process there has been a comprehensive effort by the county to reach out, and to be responsive to community stakeholders. Commercial interests have been engaged, as well as citizens of all stripes, from those desiring a more cosmopolitan Springs area to those concerned about affordable housing and to the potential displacement of the Latino community. Good news for the AMI community, 40 units of Springs senior apartments have just begun.All the plans and meetings, considerations, and guidelines boil down to whose interests will be served in the end. Hopefully an intentional SSP plan will realize the widespread public benefit it aspires to. And hopefully Sonoma can follow the SSP example and act to bring a similar level of forward looking, sustainable planning to its slice of the lower valley urban area.
Continue Story...
Community spirit with a side of slaw Community spirit with a side of slaw

The spirit of good will was in the air Friday afternoon — along with aroma of delicious BBQ... Continue

Poetry, music and seasonal revelry Poetry, music and seasonal revelry

Thursday, October 25: The annual “Things that Go Bump in the Night” gathering, as poets and... Continue


• The journey back to normal
• Why women should be angry
• A case of Pan Dulce culture shock
• Under the Sun: Christina the Psychic
• The stains of modern politics; Glen Ellen Market sold; Thanksgiving central; and more
• Thompson to hold SV Town Hall
• Dragons on parade
• Petaluma pot farm closed down, but not without one more fight
• Sun taste test: Pumpkin Spice Latte
• Goodbye to ‘Hello’
Letters & Opinion
more >>
VIDEO
Local Movie Trailers and Videos of Interest - more >>
SUN Columnist & Blogs
more >>
Public Citizen - Larry Barnett
Before It's Too Late - Eric Gullotta
Progressive Majority Coalition - Ben Boyce
Snark Infested Waters - Bob Edwards
Board Walk - Susan Gorin
Nonprofit Matters - Dr. B.J. Bischoff
What's Up With That? - Katy Byrne
Connecting the Dots - Fred Allebach
Voices of the New Majority - Loretta Carpio Carr
Creative Arts - Deb Carlen, Editor
Sun In-Depth Report - Sonoma Valley Sun
Under the Sun: Interviews -
Rude Awakenings - Catherine Sevenau
Taxpertise - Bonnie Lee
Conversations on Aging - Kelsey Maddox
Find What You're looking For

Archives

Events & Entertainment
more>>
Mcfaul
Speaker series: Russia expert Michael McFaul
THE SUN EMAIL UPDATE
Sign up for our free daily email with the latest news, events and opinion.
What We're Following
more>>
Stories of interest from around the Web
Planning on winning the lottery? You’re 3x more likely to get killed by a vending machine
> The Conversation - October 20th, 2018
PG&E defends first use of its ‘safety shutoff program’
> Sacramento Bee - October 20th, 2018
Why snail sex is like a box of chocolates
> Smithsonian - October 20th, 2018
How to make your own Kombucha
> Modern Farmer - October 18th, 2018
Climate Change could lead to worldwide barley shortage, doubling price of beer
> The Conversation - October 17th, 2018
Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Eldridge may get Municipal Advisory Council to represent them at county level
> Kenwood Press - October 17th, 2018
If you start watching now, you’ll finish by Halloween: The top 100 horror films
> Timeout.com - October 15th, 2018
To solve its housing crisis, Hong Kong will move 1.1 million people to artificial islands
> Motherboard - October 15th, 2018
PG&E can now shut off your power during high-threat fire alerts
> PG&E - October 14th, 2018
During high speed chase, cop car crashes into Bodega Bay house, starts fire
> Sonoma County Sheriff - October 14th, 2018
Sonoma Strong, the anthem. Watch the video.
> YouTube - October 12th, 2018
Nude North Dakota man on meth takes dip in church holy water
> Bismark Tribune - October 12th, 2018
Scientists say bees ‘acted weird’ during solar eclipse
> New York Post - October 12th, 2018
The state ballot propositions: how 15 different political groups want you to vote
> Electioninfo.org - October 10th, 2018
What the 2017 fires can teach the world about mental health 
> Wired - October 9th, 2018
Did ‘unscrupulous’ crews gouge the feds during post-fire cleanup? 
> Washington Times - October 8th, 2018
Saturday night shooting on Old Sonoma Road
> Napa Register - October 8th, 2018
Banksy’s art work sells for $1.3 million, then immediately self-destructs
> L.A. Times - October 6th, 2018
The legal loophole that could give human rights to smart robots
> The Conversation - October 6th, 2018
Will the rising cost of living pit Millennials against Baby Boomers?
> Capital & Main - October 5th, 2018
More Following Stories...
Link to Live Crime Map