The next Know Before You Grow forum will be next week. We’ll gather on Wednesday, November 15, at 7:00pm in the Petaluma Community Center. Please put the event on your calendar today. (And please note the different location from the earlier forums.)
As previously announced, the subject will be the proposed North River Apartments (NRA) at Petaluma Boulevard North and Oak Street. The evening will be devoted to measuring the proposed project against the community values shaped through the earlier forums.
Preliminary thoughts on how these measurements might proceed:
Housing for All: The initial measurement of NRA on the housing scale is good. By providing 184 apartments units, the project would ease the housing crisis. However, the project doesn’t propose inclusionary affordable housing, instead proposing to pay in lieu fees. Some may consider this a detriment to housing values, especially for a location near downtown where families with lower incomes might have been able to live without a car.
Mobility Options: The downtown location, with access to SMART and bus stops, positions NRA to be mobility friendly. Of particular importance to mobility is the segment of Water Street between NRA and East Washington Street, which would provide a friendly ped/bike route and a connection to the Lynch Creek Trail. Although not initially proposed by the developer, the city is requiring the street segment.
Climate Action: The location of NRA near downtown, allowing some daily tasks to be completed without a car, should be good for climate action. However, the project is proposed with 1.5 parking spaces per apartment, compared to the SmartCode minimum of 1.02. Those additional cars would be driven, undermining the climate action value. (And also worsening traffic.)
Municipal Finances: With multi-story construction, which provides a good tax base for relatively little new infrastructure, NRA would be a benefit to the strained finances of Petaluma. However, more units would always provide even further benefit.
These assessments are, of course, preliminary and subject to much discussion at the forum. Everyone’s opinions matter.
Please note that architecture wasn’t mentioned above. Know Before You Grow believes that architecture matters, but only after the function of new development conforms to community values. We may touch on architecture at the forum, but it won’t be a primary focus.
We look forward to seeing many of you on November 15. For more information, you may visit petalumaurbanchat.com. Also you can visit the Know Before You Grow Facebook page to advise us and your friends of your intention to be there.