New developments within Sonoma County can be a challenging proposition for even the most determined builders. On paper, the Hyatt Place Wine Country Hotel has slick aerodynamic features, roof-top views, and a shady tree-lined lot. Despite some push back, the plans have been cleared for take-off.
Over three years on from initial proposal, is closer to construction after the county board of supervisors recently signed off on the project's environmental documents.
The 165-room, six-story hotel, with a 150-plus-seat rooftop restaurant is slated to be built on one of the few remaining undeveloped lots near the Sonoma County Airport. Claudette Diaz with Permit Sonoma said as part of the approval process, the developers promised to help pay for community improvement projects.
"Funding to the Sonoma County Fire District, dedication of county rite of way and maintenance, a fair share contribution." Diaz said.
That means the developers will give a $250,000 contribution towards a new fire engine, cover maintenance and repairs for sidewalks and landscaping in certain areas, and contribute about 15 percent for future intersection improvements.
"This is about as good a spot for a hotel as I could imagine, a five minute walk to and from the airport." Eric Price said.
An architect for the project, he claims it will be efficient with water and energy use.
"We're using majority of low water use plants like olive trees, black oaks." Price said. "We are looking at incorporating a solar array. Ten EV charging stations. Again, we're always looking [to] make the most energy efficient building we can."
But Sonya Karabel, with Unite Here Local 2, a union of hospitality workers, decried the approval, which she said gives special treatment to the developers.
"Does a hotel really serve the public interest in the same way as senior housing or as a hospital." Karabel said. "It is just bad planning to give particular landowners carve outs in order to satisfy market demand."