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Deal reached in Petaluma luxury home development

Yousef Baig, PETALUMA ARGUS-COURIER

A controversial luxury home project in the hills of west Petaluma is set to move forward after the developer and an environmental group opposed to the project struck a deal that could scale back the size of the development and preserve sensitive habitat as parkland.

The Kelly Creek Protection Project reached the agreement with East Bay developer Davidon Homes this week. It would protect at least 75 percent of the environmentally-sensitive lands surrounding Scott Ranch in west Petaluma while allowing construction of up to 28 homes.

Since 2004, Davidon Homes has been attempting to develop housing on the 58-acre property next to Helen Putnam Regional Park, initially proposing 93 luxury homes. But environmental groups and numerous residents mobilized against the project, often spilling out of the council chambers at various city meetings.

KCPP director Greg Colvin, who has been on the frontlines of that fight, watched the developer’s proposal shrink with each environmental review that came before city council.

On Monday, Davidon Homes signed a purchase and sale agreement with KCPP, promising to sell 44 of the most vital acres on the property if the nonprofit can raise $4.1 million by Sept. 1. Under the deal, KCPP will not oppose Davidon’s bid to construct up to 28 homes on the north side of the property, away from the Kelly Creek watershed and red-legged frog habitat.

Davidon will sell the entire property to KCPP if the nonprofit can raise $11 million by Dec. 1.

Read more at http://www.petaluma360.com/news/8402528-181/deal-reached-in-petaluma-luxury

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Mitigation for 157 Windsor oak trees cut down for apartment complex

Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Crews this week began cutting down more than 150 oak trees on a Windsor site, a tangible sign that a large apartment complex is soon to take their place.

The oaks, including some old-growth specimens and many trees said to be in declining health, are being cleared to make way for a 387-unit apartment complex that Windsor officials say will provide badly needed rental housing.

After an uproar two years ago over the removal of the oaks — a species considered an integral part of Windsor’s identity and also the town’s logo — the developers redesigned the project and agreed to cut down almost 50 fewer trees than they originally planned.

“We have saved many more trees than originally approved (for removal),” said Peter Stanley, project manager for the apartment development, which is expected to break ground by the end of March. “We met the need of the community and environmental concerns by saving as many oaks as we could.”

Windsor Planning Director Ken MacNab said there are currently 274 oaks on the property and 157 are scheduled to be removed.

Over half of the trees being taken out are in poor health or have hazardous structural issues, he said.

The developers will plant 267 new oaks, resulting in almost 400 oaks on the site once the project is completed. In addition, they are required to pay a mitigation fee of $420,000 for future oak planting throughout the town.

Read more at: 157 Windsor oak trees cut down for apartment complex | The Press Democrat

Posted on Categories Sustainable Living, WaterTags , , ,

Major manure cleanup in northwest Santa Rosa – paid for by ratepayers

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

At a former dairy northwest of Santa Rosa, not far from the banks of Windsor Creek, the world’s largest pooper scoopers are hard at work.

In what has got to be one of the world’s dirtiest jobs, excavators and bulldozers are clearing two massive lagoons of untold tons of sloppy brown sludge.

One dozer, half-sunk in the muck last week, pushed load after load of the stinky ooze toward a spot where an excavator, perched precariously on the berm above, scooped it up with a huge shovel, swiveled 180 degrees and deposited it on a nearby field to dry.

For decades dairyman Marvin Nuñes stored the manure from up to 600 prized Holsteins in these two ponds at the northern end of his 177-acre Ocean View Dairy, nestled between the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport and the Russian River.

Now the messy cleanup operation is underway, funded not by the property owners, but by the ratepayers in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and Cotati.

Read more via Major manure cleanup in northwest Santa Rosa (w/video) | The Press Democrat.