Decision to Build 237 New Homes in Santa Rosa Deadlocked Over Fire Concerns
A plan to build 237 new homes in the Santa Rosa neighborhood of Fountaingrove, decimated by wildfire in October, has hit some roadblocks. The City Council voted 3-3 — a rare deadlock — with half the council members refusing to change the zoning laws on a 40-acre commercial property that has sat undeveloped for decades. The other half praised the idea as a step toward rebuilding the city’s housing stock, according to a Press Democrat report.
According to Mayor Chris Coursey, it’s unclear if residents living in those homes would be safe. “This particular area just went through the worst wildfire in California history 10 weeks ago,” he said. “It’s a good bet that if 237 homes had been on that property 10 weeks ago that there would be 237 piles of ash there right now.”
Councilwoman Julie Combs echoed the mayor, saying that she doesn’t want to approve homes that would put residents in an area prone to fire hazard.
The wildfires that ravaged the area in October killed 24 people in Sonoma County and destroyed 5,130 homes. Approximately 2,800 of the destroyed homes were in Santa Rosa, causing the city to lose as much as 5 percent of its housing stock.
The rezoning was proposed by San Francisco-based developer City Ventures, to change the zoning from business park to medium-low density residential, allowing 237 homes to be built on the site.