On August 24, 2018, the City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) asking for proposals for professional planning consulting services for the preparation of an update to the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan and an associated addendum/supplement to the associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR), as well as community and stakeholder engagement.
The City of Santa Rosa is beginning the process to update the 2007 Downtown Station Area Specific Plan.
The planning effort will focus on evaluating existing and potential land uses; analyzing circulation and infrastructure; and developing land use regulations, implementation strategies and design guidelines to encourage transit-oriented development within the downtown area.
Community participation will be a key element to the update process.
On October 9, 2007, the Santa Rosa City Council adopted the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan (Specific Plan).
The primary objective of the document was to increase the number of residents and employees living and working within walking distance (1/2 mile) of the Downtown Transit Mall and the Downtown Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) station, through intensification of both residential and non-residential land uses in the area (see map).
Development in the Specific Plan Area
The Specific Plan projected that the following residential and non-residential development would be constructed in the Plan area by 2027:
3,409 new residential units
493,500 square-feet of new office, retail and institutional uses
Halfway through the planning period, the following have been realized:
100 residential units developed, with an additional 275 units approved (not yet constructed)
194,000 square-feet of office, retail and institutional uses developed, with an additional 107,000 square-feet approved (not yet constructed)
While a lack of vitality in the downtown can in part be attributed to market forces, feedback has indicated that the Specific Plan is too restrictive, in terms of development standards such as density and height, to finance and fully realize the City’s need for high density downtown housing and job centers within walking distance to the Downtown SMART Station and Transit Mall.
Update to the Specific Plan
On February 13, 2018, the City Council adopted a new set of priorities, which includes downtown housing as a Near Term (six month) and Tier 1 top priority.
On March 5, 2018, the City submitted an application for the Priority Development Area (PDA) Planning Grant Program through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The grant funding would allow the City to update the Specific Plan to address land use, transportation and infrastructure needs associated with intensification of housing development in the downtown.
The grant was approved by the MTC Commission on April 25, 2018.
An agreement with MTC for the grant funding is scheduled for review by the City Council on September 4, 2018.
It is expected that the update to the Specific Plan will commence in early Fall 2018, and will take six to 12 months to complete.