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  1. TopTop #1
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Please be aware of a new project that the CITY OF SEBASTOPOL is proposing - PINE GROVE SQUARE.

    This will be discussed at the June 6 Council meeting at 6pm at the Youth Annex, 435 Morris St.

    It involves approving $30,000 to study a proposal to build 51 -69 residential units and commercial space in the current downtown parking lots on So. Main St by Hopmonk and a Willow St extension.

    See staff report here

    Please review and attend the meeting.
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  3. TopTop #2
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    There's a big concern for affordable housing in Sebastopol, and yet this proposal allocates only 20% of the new housing as affordable. We're still not getting it right.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-30-2017 at 07:35 PM.
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  5. TopTop #3
    Dorothy Friberg's Avatar
    Dorothy Friberg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Even though I occasionally park there, I like the idea, especially the 'mixed use' part. Just so long as the storefronts aren't shuttered for habitation which seems to be the case on the west Sebastopol road development put in by Theisen.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-25-2017 at 02:30 PM.
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  7. TopTop #4
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    And where will everyone park? What about the businesses downtown, and their customers? Etc.? This does not seem well thought out at all.
    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    There's a big concern for affordable housing in Sebastopol, and yet this proposal allocates only 20% of the new housing as affordable. We';re still not getting it right.
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  9. TopTop #5
    Norbu
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    This isn't SF or Oakland. We live in a rural area. Most people around here have to use cars to get around and go shopping. Even now during peak hours it's hard to find parking in the existing parking lot that this proposes to eliminate. It's laughable to think that Hopmonk would be willing to sell off it's parking lot to this development, as proposed.

    If this went forward as proposed it would mean the death of business downtown, as the parking would be sorely missed and traffic would be even more congested than it already is with people driving around looking for parking spots.

    I know that downtown businesses that don't have their own parking pay a fee for this parking lot. As is, the city sorely needs to build a parking structure and provide more parking in order to stimulate business downtown. Car use may not be ideal, but it's a reality in our rural environment, and as cars become less fossil fuel dependent that's less of an egregious thing. Only a small percentage of Sebastopol's customers can bike or walk to downtown, and given the aging of Sebastopol there is also a mobility issue to consider.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-26-2017 at 12:09 PM.
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  11. TopTop #6
    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    This is a great idea! Yeah for housing over parking! There are many many many many many likely objections to any development like this. No new housing will ever be built anywhere in California, if all those objecting have their way! Housing is a basic need - parking is not.

    There's such a need for housing, that saving the lot for parking doesn't make sense. Build a parking structure. The fact that only 20% of proposed units are affordable, is a way to entice a developer to build housing. If you require more, fewer developers will be interested, as the development will not be as profitable - just the facts of life.

    If the City wants the whole enchilada to be affordable, they'd need to get a developer like Burbank Housing to finance and build it... or USA Properties Fund, based in Roseville, a public/private developer which I think offers tax breaks for investors.

    Quote Alexandra wrote: View Post
    Please be aware of a new project that the CITY OF SEBASTOPOL is proposing - PINE GROVE SQUARE.

    This will be discussed at the June 6 Council meeting at 6pm at the Youth Annex, 435 Morris St.

    It involves approving $30,000 to study a proposal to build 51 -69 residential units and commercial space in the current downtown parking lots on So. Main St by Hopmonk and a Willow St extension.

    See staff report here

    Please review and attend the meeting.
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  13. TopTop #7
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    If we are to "buy local" how do you propose for us to do that if we eliminate parking for downtown and replace with housing (with only 20% low income). Unless we live downtown, we need to drive into town to access the businesses. Where would we park? The parking places in town, including the lots, are usually full as it is. Do we want a bedroom community instead of a balanced community with homes and businesses and trees?
    Quote tommy wrote: View Post
    This is a great idea! Yeah for housing over parking! ...
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  15. TopTop #8
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Norbu wrote: View Post
    ... It's laughable to think that Hopmonk would be willing to sell off it's parking lot to this development, as proposed. ...
    Hopmonk doesn't own the large parking lot. The City does. Hopmonk only owns the small triangular lot near it's entrance.

    I think the City's thinking is that the displaced parking spaces can mostly be made up for by the new general purpose lot next to CVS across the street, coupled with a projection of decreased parking demand is ride hailing (Uber, etc) grows in popularity, especially once autonomous vehicles show up.
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  17. TopTop #9
    1104GT's Avatar
    1104GT
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    I think converting the parking lot into a mixed-use development with housing and commercial space is a great idea. Increasing density in our towns and cities is the only way we can accommodate a growing population without filling in the rural spaces that separate our cities and sacrificing the beauty of Sonoma County. And like it or not, our population is going up, not down.

    If you live outside of town, you've made a choice to rely on your car to access the goods and services you need. And now, you want those of us who live in town to degrade our quality of life to accommodate you and your car. There is parking all over Sebastopol. The CVS lot is empty most days, the lot across from the Veteran's Memorial Hall has open spaces most of the day. Dozens of parking spaces are available on South Main. If you have to walk a few extra blocks, so be it. A friend of mine likes to say, "if you complain about traffic and parking problems, then you must be in your car ... you ARE traffic and the parking problem"

    Housing in center of town, close to goods, services and transit is the responsible thing to do and good for our town. 20% affordable is great. I'm all for it.

    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    If we are to "buy local" how do you propose for us to do that if we eliminate parking for downtown and replace with housing (with only 20% low income). Unless we live downtown, we need to drive into town to access the businesses. Where would we park? The parking places in town, including the lots, are usually full as it is. Do we want a bedroom community instead of a balanced community with homes and businesses and trees?
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  19. TopTop #10
    sebastopolian
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    I live a few blocks from downtown, an easy stroll, and there is always parking in my neighborhood.
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  21. TopTop #11
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    I have not had the time to study this proposal in detail, since my boysenberry harvest starts next week. I do
    want to note that the parking lot by CVS is for all who want to use it, wheter or not they shop at CVS. I have noticed that it often has many places to park. The details about how many affordable housing would be available would be key.

    Quote sebastopolian wrote: View Post
    I live a few blocks from downtown, an easy stroll, and there is always parking in my neighborhood.
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  23. TopTop #12
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk



    Housing or parking: What’s the best use of the Burnett parking lot?
    By Amie Windsor, staff writer, [email protected] May 30, 2017

    Downtown business owners are fired up over a proposed housing and commercial project on the city-owned parking lot at Burnett Avenue between Main Street and Petaluma Avenue.

    Development schemes prepared by consultants for the city show two proposals.

    The first is a 1.18-acre lot with a building hosting 51 housing units and 7,500 square feet of retail space. The second scheme shows a 1.58-acre lot with a building containing 69 unit apartments and 12,500 square feet of retail space.

    The smaller project allocates 6,100 square feet of open space while the larger one allocates 7,500 square feet. The smaller building could house eight studios, 35 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments with 55 onsite parking spaces and 20 street spots. The larger proposal includes 10 studios, 49 one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom apartments and 77 onsite parking spots and 30 street spots.

    Both buildings are proposed to be three stories high, which falls in line with the city’s general plan allowing for four-story buildings in the downtown core area.

    Development costs range from $12,870,000 to $18,840,000, depending on size. Operating income could near, and even top, $1 million.

    The proposal won’t officially be introduced and discussed until the June 6 city council meeting, but already it’s the focal point of conversation.

    “It was brought to the SDA [Sebastopol Downtown Association] members’ attention and many are concerned about the loss of parking due to the project and an apparent lack of a plan to replace said parking,” said Rei Blaser, secretary of the SDA.

    Sebastopol Planning Director Kenyon Webster said neither scheme meets the general plan’s requirement for parking spaces.

    “The project concepts assume some reduction in the current zoning ordinance standard,” Webster said. “The planning commission will be reviewing potential changes to the zoning ordinance standards this summer.”

    According to the city’s zoning ordinance, the parking requirements for mixed use buildings is equal to all the requirements for each various use; however the number of spots needed for the use with the smallest requirement may be reduced by one-third. Additionally, the planning commission has the authority to approve a reduction in parking requirements for mixed-use projects.

    Webster admitted the change in available parking would be an issue for city council, in addition to the public.

    “The issue, with relationship to the new CVS parking and parking demand in the downtown generally, is expected to be discussed in the review of the Pine Grove Square project,” Webster said.

    According to City Manager/Attorney Larry McLaughlin, the proposed project will provide “sufficient parking” while bringing in significant revenue for the city and increasing local foot traffic to downtown businesses.

    “This [proposal] provides the most public good,” McLaughlin said.

    By creating downtown living space, McLaughlin surmises downtown businesses would see more foot traffic from local people.

    “There would be people living downtown and shopping downtown,” he said. “They’d be doing downtown living without a car. And there would be sufficient parking available.”

    McLaughlin also thinks the estimated $1.3 million revenue could be used toward expanding the library and city hall at their current sites, fulfilling the Pine Grove Square subcommittee’s goal of constructing a larger city hall.

    “This could be enough revenue to expand them both,” McLaughlin said, adding that expanding the buildings together would enable them to share resources and space.

    “They could have a shared meeting room that could be used by both the library and city hall.”

    The current Pine Grove Square proposal comes after months of work by the city hired consultants Linda Herman, Keyser Marston Associates and David Baker Architects. The consultants reported the subcommittee’s original plan for a new city hall at the site was not the best use of the land. Rather, the “highest and best use” of the land, according to the consultants, is mixed-use development.

    The changes came as a shock to the DBA.

    “The plan has morphed into something completely different than what was presented to the public last year,” Blaser said. “It’s a huge deviation.”

    Before the project nears an okay from the city council, it will go through lengthy planning phases, including community meetings and public hearings, requests for proposal, bidding and additional consulting.

    The project has been in the works for more than a year. The subcommittee was formed last April. Then, in July, public meetings enabled residents to provide input on what might be the best use of the lot. Throughout the fall and winter, the team of consultants worked to develop assumptions, conduct a market study and prepare a financial feasibility projection for the proposals.

    The city council will discuss the project during its regularly scheduled meeting that begins at 6 p.m. at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center. The meeting can also be watched online at https://livestream.com/accounts/14608643.
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  25. TopTop #13
    luke32
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Question: Why would this tract be more attractive to a developer than the Pellini parcel was, which sat, right across the street, unwanted, for how many years? And why didn't we end up with a nice mixed use development?

    I think attending to the itch of "Sebastopol could have a really nice downtown, if only.... " is worth $30,000 of City funds. But please don't throw anymore taxpayer money at the idea. The last time the City got excited about downtown development - in a negative way, the high dudgeon of CVS (horrors!) - it cost us $350,000 of taxpayer money.
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  27. TopTop #14
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    Housing or parking: What’s the best use of the Burnett parking lot?
    Where will the parking be? Will all of the housing units have garages? Where will their cars be? It’s quite an assumption to think that because they live downtown they won’t be driving. This project is beginning to sound like a big revenue scheme for the city, rather than something that will enable us to be balanced between housing, parking, local businesses, and trees.
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  29. TopTop #15
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    Where will the parking be? Will all of the housing units have garages? Where will their cars be? It’s quite an assumption to think that because they live downtown they won’t be driving. ...
    As I understand it (my wife, Linda Herman , is the project consultant for the city) the project will provide for the project's parking requirements.
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  31. TopTop #16
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    What's the plan?

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    As I understand it (my wife, Linda Herman , is the project consultant for the city) the project will provide for the project's parking requirements.
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  32. TopTop #17
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    What's the plan?
    If you are asking about the plan for the displaced parking, that would be a good question for the City Council meeting next Tuesday, June 6th.
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  33. TopTop #18
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Alexandra wrote: View Post
    It involves approving $30,000 to study a proposal to build 51 -69 residential units and commercial space in the current downtown parking lots on So. Main St by Hopmonk and a Willow St extension.

    See staff report here

    Please review and attend the meeting.
    To clarify my initial post: The June 6th meeting is to:

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  35. TopTop #19
    tommy's Avatar
    tommy
    Supporting member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    The Pellini property and Pine Grove Sq are different: 1st, the City owns Pine Grove Sq, so they have the power to do what they want with it. The City did not own the Pellini property, with much less power to guide the process. I heard the Pellini property needed major upgrades to the streets & sidewalks, sewer, etc, and this is why a company with deep pockets bought it. The "small is beautiful" proposals for the Pellini property never had deep pockets. I don't know how true this is of Pine Grove Sq.

    Pine Grove Sq seems more conducive to housing than the Pellini property, because it's more sheltered, being between two streets, rather on a very visible & high traffic corner. Also, thinking positively, perhaps the City learned from the Pellini fiasco, and is promoting something more appealing.
    Quote luke32 wrote: View Post
    Question: Why would this tract be more attractive to a developer than the Pellini parcel was, which sat, right across the street, unwanted, for how many years? And why didn't we end up with a nice mixed use development?...
    Last edited by Barry; 06-02-2017 at 12:44 PM.
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  37. TopTop #20
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Tommy's thoughtful response differentiating the Pellini & Pine Grove Sq. properties makes a lot of sense to me. Comparing those two properties would be like comparing boysenberries and watermelons--both fruit, but what a difference.
    Quote tommy wrote: View Post
    The Pellini property and Pine Grove Sq are different: 1...
    Last edited by Barry; 06-02-2017 at 12:45 PM.
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  39. TopTop #21
    Glia's Avatar
    Glia
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    increasing infill in the town rather than creating sprawl out of town sounds like a great idea! it is also supportive of emerging lifestyles/values, and yes, aging baby-boomers.

    Has there been any serious consideration of a free electric tram going around the downtown city center area? This would allow people from further out to park a car on the edge of town, or better yet take a bus, and then catch the tram for that last leg of the trip. For those living in the city, it would considerably increase the "walkability" and reduce the need for short car trips.

    Rumor has it such a tram system is in place in Portland, OR and it has been quite successful.

    Quote Mrs. Wacco wrote: View Post
    "...Only a small percentage of Sebastopol's customers can bike or walk to downtown and given the aging of Sebastopol there is also a mobility issue to consider." All the more reason to provide housing downtown! So more people wouldn't need to get in a car every time they needed something!!
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  41. TopTop #22
    1104GT's Avatar
    1104GT
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    And I mentioned before, I am very much in support of redeveloping this parcel to housing mixed-use, but do understand that downtown needs parking and that some businesses contributed to the purchase of this lot. To resolve this, I would like to see the City make plans and pursue purchasing property now for future parking expansion in areas just outside "downtown" and a tram or trolly would be great to make that work.

    The old concrete batch plant is for sale as is an empty lot behind the Feed Store. Neither are very expensive and could be used for parking if coupled with a trolly. There is also empty land behind the paint store and in a number of other places.
    Quote Glia wrote: View Post
    increasing infill in the town rather than creating sprawl out of town sounds like a great idea! it is also supportive of emerging lifestyles/values, and yes, aging baby-boomers.

    Has there been any serious consideration of a free electric tram going around the downtown city center area? This would allow people from further out to park a car on the edge of town, or better yet take a bus, and then catch the tram for that last leg of the trip. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 06-02-2017 at 12:53 PM.
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  43. TopTop #23
    luke32
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Shepherd -
    My comparison of the Pellini property to Pine Grove pertains to the essential ingredient of this entire ventire, it's economic viability. In order for someone to put up the millions? of dollars to purchase the land (I assume the City is not going to give it away), and construct the housing and retail units, that "someone" will have to see a profit in the future, a profit that would be greater than an alternative use of her or his money.

    Comparing Pine Grove to Pellini is appropriate because no one saw enough profit potential in the Pellini property - about the same location, "same" -business/residential potential - to buy it until corporate CVS, with its very large coffers, came along. The scheme has got to make economic sense, And when I look at the Sebastopol business scene I see no evidence that there is any upswing in the future that would warrant a major new investment in downtown business/residential property.

    Another point. Our City Council is wonderful. They volunteer lots of time to campaign, do hours of homework and sit through what must seem like interminable hours of yakking at Council meetings. But, I do not know whether they and City staff have the savvy for a large dollar, complex operation like this. I believe the City will need expensive hired assistance to help steer this venture.

    Finally, an aside, what does the City do about Hopmonk's musical events and residents' desire for peace and quiet?
    Last edited by Barry; 06-02-2017 at 12:55 PM.
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  45. TopTop #24
    1104GT's Avatar
    1104GT
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    You bring up some very good points. These issues are important and should be part of the conversation about this development.

    1. Comparison to Pellini - Pellini closed at the beginning of the recession. Unemployment was high, cash was tight, financing was impossible to obtain, rents were falling and had been flat for years and no-one was building. The financial outlook for Sebastopol is different now. We have very low unemployment, the pent-up demand for housing will continue for a few years and a new hotel is going to be built downtown. The pro forma on a development like this might finally make sense. If it doesn't pencil out, the City won't be able to find a developer to take it on (see next item).

    2. City Council's Development Experience - I could be wrong, but I think the idea is to solicit development proposals from profession real estate developers, not to try to run the project from City Hall. I agree that neither our elected officials or City Hall have the expertise or the staffing to handle this project.

    3. Noise - I think this is an interesting comment and one I have not considered. I live downtown and can hear music from Hopmonk, but am several blocks away, so it's never bothered me. It only happens on weekends. Living right next door will be different. That said a certain amount of noise is inevitable when living right on Main Street. Triple glazed windows and insulation can help and Hopmonk, if they don't already, will need to institute some "good neighbor" sound and performance time policies. The architects should probably be careful when planning out the orientation of the residential units too.
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  47. TopTop #25
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote Glia wrote: View Post
    ...Has there been any serious consideration of a free electric tram going around the downtown city center area? ...
    Not that I am aware of. However, when I was on the board of the Chamber, I helped initiate a free shuttle service around the holidays. Hopefully, that will continue and expand.

    I think the long term solution will be Uber autonomous electric vehicles doing the shuttling, hopefully with a free/cheap autonomous mass transit option.
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  48. TopTop #26
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote luke32 wrote: View Post
    ...I believe the City will need expensive hired assistance to help steer this venture.
    Yep, such as my wife, Mrs. Wacco!

    Finally, an aside, what does the City do about Hopmonk's musical events and residents' desire for peace and quiet?
    Thankfully, the main music room does not adjoin the development. Clearly, the future residents will be aware of the possibility of some "noise" coming from Hopmonk when they choose to live there. I hope Hopmonk stands up firmly to maintain their current operating conditions.
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  49. TopTop #27
    Glia's Avatar
    Glia
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    there is also a special noise-dampening wallboard available. It is called "quiet rock" or something like that.

    Quote Mrs. Wacco wrote: View Post
    3- A certain amount of noise is inevitable when living downtown. You mitigate most of the noise with window glass of a higher STC rating. I just completed a project in Oakland, at the foot of a bridge, on a very busy road, and it is AMAZING how quiet the units are that face the street.
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  51. TopTop #28
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    Quote 1104GT wrote: View Post
    ...3. Noise ....
    country mouse vs. city mouse. I'm ruined after being here for decades; noise didn't used to bother me but now when I visit a city and stay with friends/family, the normal city sounds keep me awake. But when I lived in towns, it was animal noises that kept me up. Now I hardly hear them, even roosters.

    I don't think that issue will be a deal-breaker, though if I was running Hopmonk I'd make sure that the new residents knew what they were getting into. Someone moving from an outlying part of the county to be closer to services might not anticipate the loss of quiet.
    Last edited by Barry; 06-04-2017 at 02:51 PM.
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  53. TopTop #29
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    As someone who has a significant amount of sound trauma from my military experiences, this post makes a lot of sense to me. I am easily triggered and much of my behavior is to avoid sound. When I bought my rural paradise 24 years ago, its quietness at the end of a dead-end street was a major factor. For most of my adult life I have lived on deadend streets.

    For those of you interested in sound issues, I have chapters in the following two books: "Sound Shy" in "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace," edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, 2006, and "Noise Pollution" in "The New Holistic Health Handbook," l985, which I edited for Penguin Books. Other good books on sound include a couple about Highly Sensitive Persons.

    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    country mouse vs. city mouse. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 06-04-2017 at 02:42 PM.
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  55. TopTop #30
    Sieglinde's Avatar
    Sieglinde
     

    Re: City Proposes Pine Grove Square development to replace parking lot by Hopmonk

    I am concerned about the loss of public parking. Many people including the customers of Hopmonk use that parking lot. Of course there is plenty of parking at CVS, but still the loss of public parking is an issue.
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    Last Post: 09-11-2005, 10:29 AM

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