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Graton Narrative

Graton Narrative

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Published by Sabrina Brennan

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Published by: Sabrina Brennan on Feb 11, 2012
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02/11/2012

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Application Part 4ABAG Priority Development Area (PDA) ApplicationCounty of Sonoma: GratonDecember 2011Existing Conditions.
Graton is located along the Graton Road and WestSonoma County bike trail corridors in western Sonoma County. The core of this community is served by public sewer and water, and contains a mixtureof residential, retail, industrial/warehousing and recreation uses. Gratonevolved prior to World War II as a rural hamlet surrounded by agriculturalland and served by a rail corridor that provided processing, warehouse, anddistribution facilities for agricultural products grown in the immediate area. The abandoned rail corridor has been reclaimed for a multi-use bike andpedestrian trail that now links the Russian River to Santa Rosa. Within thelast 10 – 15 years, Graton has experienced a very successful revitalization of its main street retail area through the private restoration of pre-World War 2retail buildings and re-occupancy with art galleries, niche retail andrestaurants that are popular with both locals and tourists. Graton also hasagricultural processing and light industrial uses located along the formerrailroad corridor. The proposed Graton PDA area is 280 acres and contains 547 units.Reports from the US Census Local Employment Dynamics website indicatethat in 2009 residents that lived within the proposed PDA were employed at364 jobs, while there were 524 jobs within the PDA area. Only nineemployees lived and worked in the PDA. People that work in the PDA areatravel primarily from the east and south. People that live in the PDA areatravel primarily to the east and south for jobs.Currently, growth is constrained in this area by wastewater issues.
Area Vision & Place Type.
The place type that best describes this area isRural Town Center. The vision for the area is to: 1) to maintain the vibrantand pedestrian friendly “main street” retail area; 2) encourage live workopportunities in the warehouse district along the former rail line; 3) preservethe rural character of the outlying residential areas; 4) improve opportunitiesfor safe bike and pedestrian travel throughout Graton; 5) create a morecomplete community by incentivizing mixed use and non-residential orcottage industry along the main corridors. While the General Plan now hasrelatively low densities for this area through the Year 2020, it is possible thatby the Year 2035 a doubling of units could occur through the Year 2035.With the 2% job growth rate forecasted by the Sonoma County EconomicDevelopment Board reports, the area could gain another 350 jobs or morewith the construction of new job generating uses.
 
Implementation.
 The Sonoma County General Plan 2020 contains policiescalling for the preparation of Local Area Development Guidelines (Policy LU-1a) which will update Specific Plans prepared in the late 70’s and early 80’ssuch as the West Sebastopol Specific Plan, of which Graton is a part of.Parcels fronting on Highway 116 are also subject to the Highway 116 ScenicCorridor Design Guidelines. In the past five years plans, programs oractivities in this area have included:
Completion of segments for the West County Bike Trail connectingSanta Rosa to the communities of Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, andthe Russian River The County is in the process of reviewing and adopting a CompleteNeighborhood Overlay Zone to be used in areas such as Graton to identifyopportunities and constraints, and create a plan for future infill developmentand improvements that result in more sustainable, less auto-dependentcommunities. The process associated with the Complete NeighborhoodOverlay Zone would identify the specific environmental constraints andinfrastructure needs associated with alternative growth scenarios. Theability to access programs and funding opportunities at the regional, state,and federal levels will help Sonoma County implement these goals for itsUrban Service Area communities that are designated Priority DevelopmentAreas.
Community Participation/Relevant Planning Processes.
There havebeen no recent community participation or planning processes in Graton.However, the development of any new plans for Graton will includecommunity outreach and participation – particularly with regard to theestablishment of any Complete Neighborhood Overlay zoning district.
Smart Growth Potential.
 This area could be a small scale example of transforming a rural area into a more vibrant and complete community bydeveloping an infill strategy with the community that calls for newdevelopment to have a Main Street and rural village character whichenhances the existing rural character and setting. New development wouldalso provide opportunities to improve the appearance and vitality of commercial areas and increase the future local jobs base.Attachments:
1.
Graton Area Overview Map
2.
Graton Land Use Map3.US Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics Reports:a.Inflow/Outflow Report Graphicb.Home Destination Report Graphicc.Distance/Direction Report Graphic – Work to Home
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