Hurting for water and hurting for housing - Santa Rosa is caught in a delicate dance as the city tries to balance its need for new homes.
At a virtual neighborhood meeting Monday residents in a small West Santa Rosa neighborhood aired their grievances and concerns over a proposed new housing development. Crime, vagrancy, traffic, and noise topped the list of concerns.
Called Alta Santa Rosa, the proposal includes just under 800 new multi-family homes, over 1500 parking spaces, and nearly 5,000 feet of retail space. Situated between Guerneville Road, Lance Drive, and Comstock Middle School - Alta Santa Rosa would be built on top of a largely undeveloped grassy lot.
The major concern for residents neighboring the nearly 35 acre site: safety.
"I was here during the Coffey Fire, that corner on Lance and Guerneville was blocked for about 45 minutes." One resident said. "Besides Lance emptying out into Guerneville Road. What other way can all of these 800, some people leave?" Said another. "I don't see it feasible to be able to evacuate north." A third resident added.
Justin Neuroth, who lives on one of the two properties that make up the proposed development site, said he is in favor of the project - despite his future displacement.
"I know a lot of neighbors like to walk down Lance Road and walk their dogs, but, we get a lot of unsavories that like to park down there, do all kinds of things." Neuroth said. "The owners of the property around us really do as little as possible to keep it up. It's constantly a fire risk. We really have no trees, no sound barrier."
Project developer Julia Wilk said current plans have been pared down
"Santa Rosa planned for up to over 870 units on this site, while this might seem like we're proposing a, a massive project, it's actually significantly less than the city planned and studied for this location." Wilk said.
Comments from the meeting will be considered before the project moves to its next step.