Kenwood resort design issues in front of county panel
Last October, the county’s Design Review Committee gave its OK to the design details of a 50-room hotel, restaurant and spa – a project that received its use permits almost 13 years ago but stalled until a new owner came into the picture at the end of 2014.
That design review approval in essence gave the developer, Tohigh Investments, the green light to start building the Sonoma Country Inn resort, located off of Sonoma Highway across from Lawndale Road.
But the decision was appealed by the community group, the Valley of the Moon Alliance (VOTMA) who argued that changes to the original site plan were significant enough to trigger further environmental analysis.
In its appeal, VOTMA stated, “These proposed modifications will have significant adverse environmental effects that were not evaluated by PRMD staff or considered by the DRC in its decision to approve 100 percent of the modifications proposed by Tohigh.”
That appeal will now be heard by the county’s Planning Commission, who will take up the matter in a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 3, 1:30 p.m., in the hearing room of the Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD), 2550 Ventura Ave. in Santa Rosa.
The 50-room inn, restaurant and spa is just part of what was originally approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors back in 2004 after a contentious debate. The project also includes approvals for future development of 11 home sites, and a winery and country store – items that are not part of the upcoming Planning Commission deliberations.
While some infrastructure was installed for the development years ago, no construction ever began due to changes in the ownership over time and then the economic downturn.
Tohigh Investments, part of Chinese conglomerate Oceanwide Holdings, bought the 186-acre property at the end of 2014, shelling out $41 million.
Whatever happens at the Planning Commission will most likely be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.