Also: Triad scales back role in Angwin project; Bohemian Stoneworks moves to SebastopolA group calling itself the Santa Rosa Neighborhood Association created a furor in the West End portion of the city early this summer by circulating fliers claiming "the city of Santa Rosa is in the process of imposing green building requirements on all existing buildings that will impact your home and business."

The flier, which bore the word "Notice" in large, underscored capital letters at the top, said the city is "currently crafting" guidelines for "every property" for mandatory inspections and testing as well as energy-efficiency upgrades when closing escrow on a sale and obtaining remodeling permits.

On July 10, City Manager Jeff Kolin posted a response on the city Web site to the "official-looking flier," saying "much of the information in the flier is not true or misleading" about adopted policy. The City Council in December adopted green-building requirements for new construction, and higher standards take effect this year.

"The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Community Action Plan adopted by the City Council includes recommendations about making existing buildings more energy-efficient in order to achieve the countywide goal of reducing GHG by 168,000 tons by 2015," he wrote. Increasing energy efficiency of older homes and buildings is seen as key to reaching that goal.

He noted that the council didn't approve mandatory energy measures for existing buildings in the Dec. 16 Green Building Advisory Committee report but rather called for "work plans" on tackling existing-building emissions.

"Be assured that before adopting any policy of this type, there will be opportunities for public review and input," Mr. Kolin wrote.

The neighborhood group noted that the city Planning Commission recommended revisions to the draft city General Plan update, which were heard Thursday, include existing-structure energy upgrades and audits in residential energy-efficiency policy H-G-1. The commission is recommending implementation by 2011 rather than an "ongoing" timeframe in a previous draft. These policies would have to be enacted by ordinance through the City Council.


Pacific Union College in the mountaintop community of Angwin east of Napa announced in July that it will take the lead role in gaining development entitlements for a proposed 380-unit "eco-village." The developer up to that point, Triad Communities, cited economic conditions for scaling back its role to project adviser.

The college board will figure out how to proceed with the sale of 560 surplus acres upon any project approval, including a sale to Triad. The school started the development plan to raise as much as $80 million for an endowment. A draft environmental report is set to be released this fall, and public hearings could begin early next year.


[caption id="attachment_13109" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Bohemian Stoneworks embedded a copper sink in a concrete countertop."][/caption]

Bohemian Stoneworks, a maker of high-end concrete surfaces for North Bay custom homes, wineries, restaurants and spas, is moving its shop from Dillon Beach on the northern Marin County coast in August to 6794 Depot St. in Sebastopol to accommodate more work and fulfill what the owner describes as the green-minded mission of the business.

"I want to get back into the community," said founder Patrick Miller. "In the country, it's beautiful, but you don't get the interaction."

Drawing on his training in aquaculture and water-quality testing, he devised a water-filtration system for the new facility out of sandbags, PVC piping and pickle barrels, saving $10,000. The new location is four times larger than the current shop and has space for a showroom.

Mr. Patrick, 50, started six-employee Bohemian Stoneworks in 2001, after 17 years in high technology, lastly as vice president of Santa Rosa-based Motion Analysis, which developed a motion-capture system that became popular in movie special effects. He and other artists started a showroom, West County Design, in Valley Ford in 2006.

Depending on design and materials, countertops cost $115 to $125 per square foot. The company works on about 130 kitchens, bathrooms and some outdoor barbeque jobs a year. For details, call 707-878-9464 or visit www.bohemianstoneworks.com.


[caption id="attachment_13110" align="alignright" width="360" caption="An architectual rendering of proposed downtown Petaluma transit-oriented development North River Landing"][/caption]

The North River Landing project with 80 assisted-living units, 114 apartments and 20,600 square feet of seniors-oriented shops and offices in downtown Petaluma is set to go before the city Planning Commission on Aug. 11.

Designed by Archumana Architects of Santa Rosa, the project, located at 402 Petaluma Blvd. N., would replace existing buildings south of the existing car wash with four buildings designed on the Central Petaluma Specific Plan design model, according to development general partner Chris McCarthy.

The project has been registered for U.S. Green Business Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification and is tailored to meet Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments guidelines for transit-oriented development around Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit stations. A planned rail depot is nearby.

Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256 or fax 707-521-5292.