The Kenwood Press
Letters to the Editor: 08/01/2017

What will you see from Highway 12?

Dear Editor,

On Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m., the Sonoma County Planning Commission will hold a Public Hearing on the revised design application for the Sonoma Country Inn (SCI). The new resort design has already been given approval by the Sonoma County Design Review Committee (DRC). And yet many of the Environmental Impact Report’s (EIR) required conditions which must be met prior to design approval for a resort on this site have not been met.

For example, the EIR conditioned the resort design upon the approval of a simulated lighting design plan showing the view from Highway 12 looking at the site in the evening that show the proposed lighting of the buildings and trees/plantings. There should be no visible up lighting, down lighting or direct source of lighting visible from the highway; only reflected lighting from off of the trees (landscape) or reflected off of the buildings. The same applies for the lighting of the entrance road and interior circulation roads. No pole lights along the paths either. Only low lighting would be allowed. No such lighting simulation has been provided for the SCI and yet the DRC has giving its approval of the design.

The SCI will be built on the old Graywood Ranch on the east side of Highway 12 just outside the scenic corridor community separator. The property is surrounded by Regional and State Parks including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and the Ferguson Observatory and directly across the highway from Trione-Annadel State Park. The EIR conditions were mandated to mitigate the impact a resort would have on this unique and pristine environment. However, the SCI design calls for a public, 125-seat bar/restaurant with an open roof (hours of operation from 7 a.m. to midnight) on the ridge below Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. How will the light and noise (Sugarloaf quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) from this operation affect the night sky and Ferguson Observatory?

What will happen and how will the natural environment and the human residents of the north Sonoma Valley be impacted by the unmitigated activities of the resort as proposed? Is this project, as proposed, harmonious or dissonant with the environment? Does this proposal support or kill “the Golden Goose?”

Attend the meeting and let the Sonoma County Planning Commission hear your thoughts.

Wendy Mountain