Feb 17, 2020
By Merrilyn Joyce
Healdsburg faces a difficult land use decision downtown and this month’s column explores the options.
The City owns a centrally-located downtown parcel known as 3 North Street, and it is trying to decide what it should build on this prime location.
Local hoteliers and others have circulated a petition in support of an already-planned event pavilion and parking concept options on this City property. ( see below for 4 Options in Images) The plan offers 55 public parking spaces, vine-covered trellises and open-air event pavilion. The beloved Farmer’s Market would have space for its seasonal operation (28 days/year, currently at a City parking lot). The space is not ideal for the Market as it has only one entrance/exit and no covered space. The Foley family has offered a $7 million gift to build it.
Because this is public property, the City is also considering whether it should build affordable housing on City-owned land. After a City study, the highest scoring property by far is 3 North Street.
See large map:https://www.ci.healdsburg.ca.us/ImageRepository/Document?documentID=6467
TLCD Architects created a fly-around 3-D movie to visualize the schematic design of option 1 ( see 3 other design options at the end of this article below)
Should the City go forward with the event center plan, which now has private funding? Or pause to consider affordable housing on the site? The City’s official Goals and Strategic Plan documents do not identify any need or priority to create the pavilion and Market concept. The official planning documents do say Healdsburg has an urgent need for affordable housing. Thus, the City’s dilemma.
The public knows almost nothing about the high-scoring housing concept. Would the community support housing on the site if they knew more about the concept and its benefits? Below are ideas being explored and the criteria being used.
What would affordable housing at 3 North Street consist of? A draft concept proposes mixed use housing with 45 1-3-bedroom units renting for $1,237 (est.), serving families and seniors. The ground floor has 11,000 sq ft of enclosed community space. This space has a 16’ ceiling and year-round use, and allows multiple potential community uses including: day care, class rooms, community kitchen, dining hall, panaderia, maker space, or indoor arts venue. $11.8 million in low income housing tax credits are available for project funding.
The need for affordable housing in Healdsburg is undeniable. 3 North Street is a near perfect downtown location, with many benefits to the broader community. Affordable housing brings population diversity (age, ethnicity, culture), encourages local retail, brings families to local public schools, helps to staff local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, retail, etc. and keeps the downtown real, diverse, vibrant.
Local employers plead for housing for their workers. And affordable housing demand is about to balloon. Four large new hospitality/service projects are coming online — Montage, Comstock, Vallette and Mill District. These will add hundreds of new lower-wage jobs at about the same time. (Montage alone projected 300 new jobs.) We have a serious jobs/housing imbalance—and it is about to get much worse.
On the environmental side, locating housing at 3 North Street will prevent sprawl; reduce the need for parking and extra cars (employees and shoppers can walk); and reduces our ecological footprint—our locally generated greenhouse gas pollution.
Some leaders say, stick with the event center or the Foley money will be lost. Is this an underestimation of the Foley family’s philanthropy and evident good will toward Healdsburg?
What to do? Is a Master Plan for this area the sensible and unifying approach? A process that would involve the community, learn the needs and benefits, and look for community balance. A Master Plan would actually identify an ideal home for the Farmer’s Market.
video Url: https://vimeo.com/222538832
See more details on each option here
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