More workforce housing proposed on Broadway in Sonoma

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A multiunit housing development is coming before the Sonoma Planning Commission this week. The proposal includes plans to remodel a 113-year-old cottage and add three more units on an existing 14,380-square-foot lot.

The planned project, titled 1211 Broadway Workforce Housing, is being undertaken by Shahram Bijan as an infill development. It involves the “minor relocation and full restoration” of the 113-year-old house that is now the only building on the 0.34-acre property. Two duplexes and a single-family home are being proposed, for a total of six units.

The 860-square-foot cottage itself faces remodeling to make it more consistent with the proposed new buildings. “The architectural inspiration for these workforce condos is derived from the Spanish Colonial and Monterey Colonial buildings in the Historic Core,” according to the project narrative submitted to the city. Drawings show the new “workforce condos” derive elements from the Blue Wing Inn and the Sonoma Presidio, both on East Spain Street.

The cottage bears resemblance to several other early 20th century houses in Sonoma, including the Marcy House on First Street East and the one occupied by Sonoma resident Irma Castillo, at 20141 Broadway, which was renovated by a team of volunteers in 2016.

The proposal is to relocate the cottage approximately 30 feet to the south, placing it on a new foundation and then remodeling it for overall project consistency. The historical analysis that considered the historical value of the cottage was conducted by consultant Alice Duffee.

The project has already come before the Planning Commission in a March 14 study session. At that time Planning Director David Storer requested a peer review of the historical resource evaluation, as Duffee's HRE did not address whether or not the building could be physically moved.

"Having a City-commissioned HRE would ensure the report is unbiased as compared to one that was commissioned by a developer," clarified Kristina Tierney of the city's Planning Department.

The peer review HRE was conducted by Page Turnbull of San Francisco. Their review will be discussed at Thursday's meeting.

The existing lot would be divided into four lots, with the cottage occupying one of them. The new structures would include a 1,146-square-foot single family residence, and two duplex buildings of 2,386 square feet each.

At the end of construction, the only building fully visible from Broadway would be the old cottage. The newer home and duplexes would be lined up behind the cottage, and although they would each be two stories, the cottage would act to shield the newer structures and retain the historic character of the Broadway corridor, according to the developer’s project narrative.

Other items on the commission’s agenda include subdividing a single lot on West Spain Street into two, amending the General Plan to allow for the rounding up or down of numeric calculations, and approval of the zucchini car race at Sebastiani Winery, scheduled for July 19.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at City Council Chambers, 177 First St. W.

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