Proposed Self-Storage Project Raises Concerns in Petaluma, CA

Update 2/1/16 – Petaluma officials issued their formal opposition to the self-storage project that’s under consideration by Sonoma County for 2645 Petaluma Blvd. S. Heather Hines, the city’s planning manager, authored a 15-point letter arguing against the development. The city contends the facility would violate its development standards in an area the municipality could annex in the future, according to the source.

Update 2/1/16 – Petaluma officials issued their formal opposition to the self-storage project that’s under consideration by Sonoma County for 2645 Petaluma Blvd. S. Heather Hines, the city’s planning manager, authored a 15-point letter arguing against the development. The city contends the facility would violate its development standards in an area the municipality could annex in the future, according to the source.

Although developer Terrapin Investments doesn’t plan to connect the storage facility to city utilities, a move that would require annexation, Hines argued the company should still pursue annexation and propose a project in line with the city’s industrial zoning and “scenic gateway” policies, the source reported. The target property for the development is within a voter-approved urban-growth boundary.

Hines requested city planners be updated on all decisions connected to the project and urged the county to reject the proposal. “It is in the vision that this is a gateway to the city,” Hines wrote. “We would like to see [the property] developed within the city’s policy.” The letter didn’t threaten litigation, according to the source.

“Historically, property owners who like their county industrial designation in that area have not wanted to annex with the city,” Wick told the source. “It’s not part of our county plan to see that property annexed to the city.”


1/13/16 – A self-storage project proposed by Aspen, Colo.-based real estate developer Terrapin Investments in Sonoma County, Calif., has raised concerns for Petaluma, Calif., officials due to its proximity to the city border. The facility would comprise 110,000 square feet in 774 units along Petaluma Boulevard South, an urban corridor considered to be a scenic gateway to the city, according to the source.

The county application indicates the facility would include three buildings, the tallest of which would be three stories and about 35 feet high. The proposal states the multi-story building would be largely hidden from Highway 101 due to the layout of the project and elevation of the road, the source reported. The target property is a former truck scale.

David Keller, founder of the Petaluma River Council, a local group dedicated to preserving the area, believes the project would have a negative impact on the area’s scenic views. Petaluma officials have voiced similar concerns. “We should enhance and improve that area,” councilmember Teresa Barrett told the source. “We recognize it is not within our jurisdiction. But as a neighbor, we have an interest.”

Petaluma has actively discouraged self-storage development within its borders since the late 1980s, in part to preserve industrial areas for businesses with a large number of employees, the source reported. The proposed self-storage facility is expected to have one full-time employee and one part-time staff member.

City and county officials have a history of clashing over projects along the Petaluma Boulevard corridor. The self-storage proposal is being considered by the county planning department and could be withheld from public comment unless certain impact discoveries are determined during the review process, according to the source.

Tennis Wick, manager of the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department, indicated the county would evaluate the aesthetic impact of the project carefully, including views from across the Petaluma River. Petaluma officials were notified of the proposal as a courtesy, Wick told the source. “It’s a good opportunity to provide a unified landscape design as people travel into the city,” he said. “We’ll be spending a lot of time on this.”

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