Sonoma County begins community meetings about West College Avenue building planned for housing 

J.D. Morris, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The next public meeting is set for Sept. 13 at 6 p.m., also at the Finley Community Center, and there may be another meeting — or more — after that if necessary, officials said.

Santa Rosa residents on Wednesday night began to weigh in on Sonoma County’s plans to transform a vacant public property on West College Avenue into a new apartment complex.

At the first of at least two public meetings regarding the 7.5-acre site, county and city officials informed about 40 attendees why they see the land as a prime spot for new residences, including the property’s proximity to a transit hub and shopping, as well as the county’s perennial housing crunch.

They also heard from numerous residents who weighed in with concerns about traffic, crime and how affordable the new housing might be, among other issues.

Development of the site at 2150 W. College Avenue, the former headquarters of the Sonoma County Water Agency, has been a long time coming.

Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district includes the area, told attendees at the meeting in the Finley Community Center that she often heard questions about the property while she was campaigning for her first term last year.

“I cannot count the number of times that I heard people say, ‘What the heck is happening to that derelict Water Agency building that’s been sitting on College Avenue for who knows how long, when we have a tremendous need for affordable housing in the community?” Hopkins said.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed in June to sell the site to the county’s Community Development Commission, which plans to sell the land to a housing developer.

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