Two decades in the making, Petaluma officials this week finally approved sharply reduced development plans for the former Scott Ranch on rolling hills on the city's west side.
After decades of sparring, this week's hearing was a comparative love fest.
Local resident Ryan Temborski urged elected officials to embrace the latest proposal.
"This is absolutely exceptional compromise. Many, many, many years and many people involved. Ninety-three to 66 to 28? When? Forty-seven acres of new park? When? Great deal, the best deal, the time to act is now."
Words and sentiment echoed by Warren Granit of Petaluma's chamber of commerce.
"This is a great compromise. This is what everybody should be looking for. This is the type of activity where everybody wins."
Under the latest iteration, 4/5ths of the nearly 60-acres will be added to Helen Putnum Regional Park, with 28 homes on the remaining 11-acres. The 2003 plan called for 93 homes spread among 59 acres. Zoning at the site allowed as many as 113.
Under the deal, the Earth Island Institute's Kelly Creek Protection Project---will pay $4 dollars developer Davidon, for most of the farm---half the amount developers paid for the entire property twenty years ago---and transfer it to Sonoma County Regional Parks following remediation and construction of trails and infrastructure.
Neal Fishman, with Sonoma County Conservation Action urged approval, saying further delay could lend ammunition to those seeking to fast track development.
"If you say no to a project like this, it just really adds to this, this whole fervor that's growing in the state to overturn all sorts of environmental regulations, so we have to do projects like this."
Although the council's vote was unanimous, resident Richard Steckler wonders if future city residents will lament the decision.
"Ten years from now, will we be glad we've got 28 more luxury homes with the impacts on our infrastructure, environment and roads? Will these homes help to alleviate our housing problem? Will they be forwarding our climate goals? Will we be happier that we have 28 more luxury homes right next to Helen Putnam Park? I believe that there is adequate social, political, environmental and legal cause to say no."
Officials say it should take about a year to gain permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers, along with two more years to build trails, fencing, parking and a restroom before the property is appended to the park.