After a generation in limbo, some affordable housing may be on the way to Healdsburg.
The four-story, L-shaped modernist apartment block would rise on a vacant lot between the 101 freeway and Big John's Market. A unanimous vote approved an agreement between the city and developer Burbank Housing to deliver 58-apartments that low income residents can afford.
"This is an exciting moment because this site has been waiting twenty years to be developed," said is Healdsburg's Housing Director, Stephen Sotomayor.
The parcel had to be declared "exempt surplus land" as part of the development agreement. Sotomayor urged approval, reminding the council that without it, the city wouldn't meet state housing production numbers and risk financial sanction.
Sotomayor said some of the site is considered a wetland, presenting major challenges. An underground pipeline to the Geysers hydrothermal field also runs nearby, along with SMART's right-of-way, which might someday see Cloverdale-bound train service.
Former mayor Brigette Mansell shared her enthusiasm for plans finally moving forward.
"The project looks fabulous. Yes, the land was ridiculous to work on in terms of...a lot of obstacles, it just makes me so happy as a resident to see this kind of housing being built," she said.
Conceptual renderings show parking adjacent to the train tracks and slightly industrial flourishes, such as corrugated metal siding.
The city purchased the property in 2003 for $1.8 million. This week's action turns it over to Burbank for $1. Another $1.7 million in grants have been lined up for construction. Burbank has also applied for $9.7 worth of grants for farmworker housing, along with tax credits.
Mayor Ariel Kelley praised the approval.
"In other cities across California, you see councils doing everything they can to try to avoid building affordable housing, and I'm really proud to be amongst a council who is unabashedly pro-housing in a community where our public comment support that as well."
A construction schedule has not been announced.