Letters to the Editor
If you build it, they will comeDear Editor,
It looks as if the new luxury resort in Kenwood is going to be built. The resort is just the tip of the iceberg, since a winery with a tasting room and 20 annual events, restaurant, retail store, and development of at least a dozen home sites are part of the proposal.
What will that development mean for those of us who live in the Valley of the Moon? Certainly there will be more traffic on Highway 12 as tourists come to stay in the new resort and workers commute to their jobs at the resort. Will traffic be backed up in each direction at certain times of the day and on weekends?
But an even bigger issue is housing. We all know that we have a housing emergency of unprecedented proportions right now in Sonoma. Local people cannot find affordable housing so that they can live in the community where they were born and where they work. Where are all of the new employees of the Kenwood resort going to live? They will no doubt be commuting in from other communities. If traffic and quality of life are compromised now, what will they be like when this resort opens?
So what can be done?
First, Sonoma City Council, working with Supervisor Gorin, should participate in any further studies and reviews of this project to represent the interests of Sonoma in what is allowed to be developed.
Second, we should stop spending money promoting tourism and use those funds to build affordable housing. Tourism is a self-perpetuating industry now with the use of social media and the internet. The recent fiasco with the lavender festival and the traffic nightmare it caused on Highway 12 is an example of this phenomenon.
Third, dedicate a large portion of city and county TOT income to affordable housing. And certainly, if the TOT rate is raised, all of the new money should go into the affordable housing fund.
Finally, this is about more than dollars and cents; it is about more than who gets elected; it is about what is right and government’s obligation to help people have better lives. And there is no more basic need than for decent housing and a secure place to call home.