|RP council OK’s annexation plan for area outside NW city limits
It's been a while since the Rohnert Park City Council took up the subject of annexing new territory. But at their May 22 meeting, they voted unanimously to start the wheels rolling on the Northwest Specific Plan (NWSP). It's outside city limits but in the RP Sphere of Influence, west of Dowdell Avenue and includes unincorporated county land. Most of the land is hayfields and a few scattered rural residential farms and homes.
The NWSP is about 90 acres in size with Millbrae Avenue on the north, Dowdell Avenue on the west, Business Park Drive on the south, Redwood Drive and Home Depot Hardware with a road providing access to the area on the east. It's divided east and west by Golf Course Drive West, formerly Wilfred Avenue.
The council approved on May 22, the construction of an Oxford Suites hotel and a McDonald's fast food restaurant in the adjacent Wilfred-Dowdell SP.
Most of the proposed annexation includes the west side of Dowdell and a dozen or so rural parcels of various sizes out to Langner Avenue.
If approved by Sonoma County's Local Agencies Formation Commission (LAFCO), it'll be the city's first step in setting a boundary closer to the proposed casino planned by Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) west of the city. Both Millbrae Avenue and Golf Course Drive West will be the main routes to the casino from 101 freeway.
Marilyn Ponton, planning and building manager and Darrin Jenkins, city engineer and director of development services, outlined the plan to the city council. They received five responses in their requests for proposals and selected DCE/Planning Center with offices in Berkeley to head up the annexation process. They have until June 2013 to come back with a plan at a cost not to exceed $443,500, with costs paid by the developer at this time, Sonoma Land Acquisitions, LLC.
Still to come are improvements to roads in the area. East to west streets like Golf Course Drive West and Millbrae Ave. are two-lane roads with deep drainage channels on either side. North to south roads like Labath and Dowdell are mainly rural two-lane roads that dwindle down to rough, weed-filled paths long before they reach Business Park Drive.
The Northwest Specific Plan has been part of the city's General Plan for years. It was once in a community separator category under a deal worked up by the county Board of Supervisors and the city council. But this arrangement was mainly a political maneuver and has been amended.
Now the planned tribal casino could occupy this former community separator concept, and the designation has diminished in importance. The only "real" community separator is on the city's northern border from Roberts Lake and the North Course at Foxtail Golf, then north to South Santa Rosa Avenue businesses.
RP already has three specific plans on its books. All three are on Petaluma Hill Road: University District, across from SSU's Green Music Center on RP Expressway, Northeast SP and Southeast SP. Only the University District has received approval for annexation from LAFCO.