Council OKs 20-year rate of growth in Rohnert Park
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By Jud Snyder  November 1, 2013 12:00 am

Back in November of 2000, voters in Rohnert Park approved ballot Measure N. This action set up a 20-year Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and a Growth Management Program for the city, and last week, Oct. 22, the city council held a work session prior to their regular meeting to “review the current status” of both. Their consensus was the UGB and RP’s growth are managing OK and “we’ll look at them again in 2016,” said Marilyn Ponton, development services manager. The council’s action also amended the city’s General Plan.

At this point, RP’s Sphere of Influence is the same as the UGB. Both items are only on maps and are flexible, dependent on future economic factors. The main function of growth management and the UGB is to prevent urban sprawl.

Ponton noted Canon Manor between Petaluma Hill Road and Bodway Avenue is also within the UGB but is really outside city limits. It was built on county lands before RP or SSU were established.

The UGB also includes four specific plans on the east side: University District, Sonoma Mountain Village, Southeast and Northeast, plus Northwest specific plan. 

In her staff report, Ponton noted the purpose of the growth management program, “is to assure that new residential development and mixed use developments…occur concurrently with necessary infrastructure and public service  improvements. 

“The purpose is to establish a one-percent annual population growth rate based on 2.08 persons per household. Exceptions to this rule are very low or low-income households, second-dwelling units, model homes, mobile home park conversions and residential infill projects.”

RP had a 1999 population of 41,000 and the estimated 2020 population figure should be 50,400, to stay with the one-percent growth rate, according to Ponton. If it goes higher, a “trigger cap” can be enforced to limit new residential housing.

Listed in the report is the number of housing units allowed in each specific plan over the next 20 years. University District  has the highest with 1,236, then its Sonoma Mountain Village with 1,090; Northeast with 856; Southeast with 475 and Northwest with 398.

The University District Specific Plan is ahead of all the others in the way of preparing their acreage across from SSU’s Green Music Center. They could be starting construction next year.

The new East Side Trunk Sewer Phase 2  along Commerce Boulevard and RP Expressway, which starts construction this month, will be completed in time to provide needed additional infrastructure for this development.

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