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April 24, 2019
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Homelessness spikes in RP Straus Family Creamery moving to RP DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Superintendent search begins Cotati memorializes victims More high density in Rohnert Park Brace yourself for mosquitos Mayors of So Co write angry letter RP driver identified Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County School district balances budget SSU Equestrian looks to go national Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Fixing Cotati’s roads Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels New Executive Director at SSU Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Name correction: Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. 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 RP decides on west side

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
March 29, 2019

With work on the 2020 General Plan reaching its conclusion, the Rohnert Park City Council opted Tues. evening to defer consideration of amendments to zoning on lands west of Highway 101 until after its completion. 

Up until now the Rohnert Park City Council has lacked a clear idea of what to do with the west end of the city. The area has changed dramatically since the conception of Rohnert Park’s current General Plan back in 2000; there’s the Graton Casino now, for starters, and a large number of new residential neighborhoods, commercial retailers and hotels—honestly the list goes on. 

 While nominally guided by the current General Plan, the city has taken a more patch-work approach to planning the west end of Rohnert Park, changing zoning on a case-by-case basis. The result has been a confusing mishmash of industrial, commercial and residential without a central hub or school for all the 1,551 residential dwellings on that side of Rohnert Park, most of which are high density residential and apartment units. 

“At the moment the west side is formless. Things have been plugged in there without a plan, one way or another,” Councilmember Jake Mackenzie said. 

Rohnert Park was originally founded as a planned city. Its neighborhoods were designed around schools and parks, and for its history the east side of the city has kept, mostly, to that original template. 

The west has not. Its purpose at the start was to act as the industrial and commercial end for Rohnert Park—to separate all the nasty and loud things nobody wants in their backyard away from people’s backyards. Because time perverted that original intention, the council now needs to contend with the realities of the estimated 5,000 or so Rohnert Park citizens living on that side of the city. To that end, city staff requested direction as to what council might like to see in the 2020 General Plan regarding the west. 

The council answered with a call to go back to west’s original intention. 

They did discuss whether to try and salvage the west end of the city with medium density housing—townhouses and duplexes—but finding a developer would be difficult. ‘Missing Middle’ is the term used to describe medium density housing and it earned that name because it’s hard to turn a profit. Developers make more money off single-family homes and high density apartments than they might off of a bungalow. As such, that’s what they build. 

“I didn’t even think the apartments were a good idea. We have no schools or amenities—so why would we want to put more kids over there if we know that we’re not going to have more schools?” Vice Mayor Joseph Callinan said. “Sure, Fiori Estates has a nice little swimming pool, but that’s not what Rohnert Park was founded on.”

So, with salvaging the west side off the table, the Rohnert Park City Council instead directed staff to bend the 2020 General Plan more towards economic development—commercial and industrial—rather than residential. 

Yet the west side is still part of Rohnert Park, and with all the new housing and growth the city has experienced in recent years, getting back and forth has become a problem. Most of the city’s traffic is focused on the Rohnert Park Expressway. The council hoped to one-day ease some of that traffic and so they instructed staff to explore the possibility of an overpass along State Farm Dr. 

To be clear, there’s no money budgeted for an overpass on State Farm Dr., but an inclusion in the 2020 General Plan would leave open the potential for it at some point in the future. 

“If we’re going to add 14,000 homes then I want [the overpass] on this side of the 20-year plan,” Mayor Gina Belforte said. “When you add housing and you add jobs but you don’t add infrastructure then you’re just doing your community a disservice.”