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Healdsburg's Saggio doing $130,000 study; Fountaingrove reviewed

[caption id="attachment_21310" align="alignright" width="346" caption="Saggio Hills, Healdsburg"][/caption]

NORTH BAY – Two major residential projects in Sonoma County that have been held up for years because of regulatory processes and lawsuits have entered new phases of progress.

The two projects are Saggio Hills in Healdsburg, a resort with 33 bungalows, 70 for-sale luxury homes, a spa and health club, at least two swimming pools, a restaurant and other amenities, and Fountaingrove Lodge, the Santa Rosa subdivision of 9.85 acres into four lots to create the region’s first retirement development to specifically target the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

As the result of a lawsuit, Saggio Hills is now working on a new Environmental Impact Report to answer questions raised even after the original document had been approved.

Michael Brandman Associates of San Francisco is putting together the more than $130,000 report paid for by developers Tony Korman and Robert Green.

The report is expected to be complete sometime in the next six months. After that it will be subject to city council review.

Rick Tooker, planning and building director for the city of Healdsburg, said the developers' first contact with the city was in 2005 when they purchased the property from the former owner and began assembling the new project.

Tourism revenues have increased dramatically in Healdsburg in recent years. From 2000 to 2006, the city’s annual lodging tax receipts nearly tripled, reaching $1.4 million. But city officials projected that Saggio Hills would become the largest tax-generating project in Healdsburg’s history. By city estimates, Saggio would generate more than $90 million over 20 years in lodging taxes alone.

In addition to a 14-acre site for affordable housing, Saggio Hills agreed to give 37 acres for a community park plus $3 million toward park construction, land for a fire substation and $1 million toward construction.  In addition, it has agreed to give $1 million for the affordable housing.

Meanwhile, the developers of Fountaingrove Lodge were challenged by a neighborhood group that had concerns about traffic, impact on views and the size of the project.

It was stalled a number of times and recently got the OK from the city council. It is now waiting to go to design review.

The original project was 148 units on the 9.8-acre site. The approved project is for 109 units and has a reduction in the height of the buildings.

Bill Mabry, partner and project developer for Oakmont Senior Living, the developer of the project, said the next step is design review, but he had no date when the project will be looked at.

When the project was originally announced, a number of people put down deposits to become priority members, meaning they would have a first pick of the units when they became available. After so many bumps in the road and so many years, they were refunded the money.

“We have kept them as priority members having first choice of floor plans,” said Diane Robel, spokeswoman for the developer.