A newly-formed public-interest group named Friends of the Broadway Corridor filed suit today in the Sonoma County Superior Court. The case challenges the Sonoma City Council’s failure to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) before approving the Sonoma Gateway project on a split vote.
A press release from the group states: “The project proposes oversized luxury townhouses and grossly-undersized affordable units in a design that is inconsistent with the Historic Overlay Zone in the Broadway Historic District. The project site lies in the Broadway Corridor Planning Area a few blocks south of the Sonoma Plaza — a National Historic Landmark. As expressed by the public during the hearing process, more-affordable units could be built at greater density with reduced mass and scale.
“The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mandates that when fact-based opinions of citizens or experts present a ‘fair argument’ that a proposed project may have a significant environmental impact, an environmental impact report is required to inform land use discretion — regardless of contrary opinion.
“There is credible expert evidence that the Gateway project may have significant impacts and is inconsistent with Sonoma’s adopted land use plans and policies in the evocative Broadway Corridor. Friends seek a court order known as a peremptory writ to require the city to comply with CEQA and with its own plans and policies designed to protect the historic integrity and future legacy of the Broadway Historic District. A public EIR process will include consideration of environmental impacts and the feasibility of project alternatives and mitigation measures.”