RP planners check future of 87 acres near casino
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By Jud Snyder  May 3, 2013 12:00 am

Rohnert Park’s Planning Commission took a good long look at an 87-acre chunk of RP territory Thursday night, April 26, and accepted a proposed layout for it’s future. 

It’s called the Northwest Specific Plan and runs from Business Park Drive north to Millbrae Avenue with Dowdell Drive and the Wilfred-Dowdell Specific Plan on the east. Langner Avenue is on the west. 

This street was listed erroneously as city limits last week in The Community Voice. Actually, it’s either RP’s Urban Growth Boundary or Sphere of Influence, or both. Dowdell Avenue is officially city limits.

The Northwest Specific Plan is a T-shaped section of land on the west side all along Dowdell with Wilfred Avenue (soon to be named Golf Course Drive West) bisecting it east to west out to Stony Point Road. The land south of Wilfred (or GCD West) are owned by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) for their casino site. Land to the north of NW Specific Plan are in unincorporated Sonoma County territory. 

Last Thursday night, Bruce Brubaker, consultant with The Planning Center based in Berkeley, outlined the possible future of the Northwest Specific Plan with a PowerPoint display. 

“It’s a good mix with retail and residential fronting Golf Course West and Dowdell avenues,” Brubaker said. “Stores down front with apartments above. Behind them will be detention ponds for flood control with larger single-family homes beyond them. There will also be bicycle circulation trails on both streets and room for light industry buildings.

“We assume the Graton Tribe has fulfilled their mitigation plans, but they’re a separate issue for us. In effect, we’re setting up a possible framework for future development and we don’t expect it to be filled out for another 20 years.”

The commission accepted Brubaker’s framework, although no vote was taken. They heard public comments from six residents in the area who were mostly concerned with the impact on their water well supply. 

Building and Planning Manager Marilyn Ponton replied, “There’s quite a bit of technical study still to be done in this area.”

The commission also discussed Brubaker’s plan and its impact on the city’s General Plan, held a short workshop on revising zoning ordinances and determined the plan is consistent with the General Plan of 2000.

Next stop for the Northwest Specific Plan is the city council. No date has been set.

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