Marilyn Ponton is development services manager for the city of Rohnert Park, which is undergoing significant development with a new casino, the Green Music Center and some 4,000 entitled home-building permits.
Q: Please describe the various projects that the city is undertaking.
A: The city is processing a number of projects. These include annexations, subdivision review, approvals and implementation of Specific Plans, new commercial projects, a housing element update to ensure adequate housing for residents, roadway widening and rehabilitation and Phase II of the east side sewer line to service new growth areas. The city has established a code compliance program to work with property owners to maintain property and eliminate conditions which may lead to blight.
Q: Which is the most significant and challenging, and why?
A: The most challenging project this year has been to design, review, approve and construct the Wilfred Avenue Widening project. This project, from Redwood Avenue to Stony Point Road, is a fast tracked project to coincide with the opening of the Graton Rancheria Casino. The project is on track to meet the expected demands of high traffic numbers accessing the Graton Rancheria facility. Challenges have included right of way acquisition, permitting with various agencies, and establishing a joint powers authority with Sonoma County, as the roadway is located within both the city and county of Sonoma.
Q: Please describe the efforts by the city in preparation for the casino.
A: The city has established a Casino Mitigation Task Force (CMTF). The CMTF identified a variety of potential impacts to the city and has been proactive in addressing these issues. The issues include traffic mitigations, congestion management, public safety assists, incompatible businesses, unwanted advertising, oversight programs, landscaping and litter, public and real time information.
The city, in conjunction with local agencies and the Graton Rancheria staff, continues to identify solutions to mitigate potential impacts. As the opening rapidly approaches, the city will continue to monitor identified programs and efforts put in place. In an on-going effort, city staff and project partners will continually identify issues and impacts that can only be estimated prior to opening.
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