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AXIA Architects
Caymus Capital
Project Name

First Street East Project (Working)




216, 226, 254 First Street East

273 and 299 Second Street East


Approximately 3.4 acres

Current Zoning

MX - Mixed Use

Current General Plan


Mixed Use

Total Allowable Units

20 Units / Acre (Residential); 68 total

Total Proposed Units

RESIDENTIAL (69% of total square footage): 32 Units (Residential), providing 79

new bedrooms
INN (30% of total): 30 units spread across 3 buildings + 2 casitas; lobby and inn
offices, clubhouse, spa and caf.
COMMERCIAL (1% of total): Coffee shop

Floor Area Ratio

0.54 (MX maximum allowed= 0.60)


39% for Structures; (MX maximum allowed= 60%), by using the full 36 height allowance
strictly for 3rd floor residential in 5 of the buildings, the project is able to maximize
housing, and provide greater open space and community areas while maximizing privacy
for neighboring buildings.

Building Heights


B, G
A, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K

36'- 0"
30- 0

The First Street East Project (FSE Project) has been thru multiple PAC and Study Sessions. Multiple neighborhood
outreach meetings have been hosted, and local neighborhood groups have been engaged for feedback. The result is a
project that received a Net Promoter score of 68% of City residents, has unanimous board support from the Vintage
house, and is supported by Little League baseball. The project has gone thru massive changes, in response to resident
concerns, and council provided by the Planning Department, Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Engineer, City Manager,
Planning Commission and City Council members. The metamorphosis of the First Street East Project (FSE Project) is a
tribute to the review process. Within this project summary we will outline the many changes that have taken place in
the project to address concerns raised in previous meetings while strengthening many of the original merits of the
project. We hope you will agree, as others have, that the end result is a very desirable addition to the community.
FSE project is a carefully designed primarily residential multi-use development that will bring together single-family
homes for sale, multi-family residences, a limited service caf, a full-service pool club, and a small residential-style inn.
These buildings are appropriately designed to both blend nicely with the surroundings and enhance the street front and
overall appeal of our neighborhood. There are direct references to our agricultural roots in every faade, and locally
sourced, weathered, repurposed, and recycled natural materials will be used to connect the past with the present and
soften the look and feel of the buildings. The site design has been thoughtfully planned to minimize any impact to the
peace and quiet of the neighborhood by focusing all of the multi-use aspects and three story structures at the center
and south end of the property.
We have put aesthetics, scale, and site design before everything else. This project does not exceed any of the maximum
allowable limits for the number of units, site coverage, or square footage. We have aimed to intelligently create density
in order to facilitate a higher and more efficient use of the property while minimizing the environmental and aesthetic
impact which is evidenced by the low site coverage. Moreover, we have carefully surveyed many of our neighbors,
members of the planning commission, city council, and other stakeholders during this process and have listened
carefully to their input and suggestions. Including the following alterations from our previous submittals:

increased total residential unit count from 21 to 32

increased smaller format housing, going from 2 to 15 2 bedroom units
reduced the number of 3 bedroom units to 16
eliminated 3rd floor from inn buildings and reduced room count from 48 to 30
eliminated the short-term residential rental management program
added driveway and parking access on 2nd St. East
eliminated the stand alone caf
The distance from face of curb at First St. E to building has been increased to approximately 25 and ~33 where
there are front porches. Actual dimensions will be confirmed when city provides input and approval of final civil
design and location of curbs and sidewalks is finalized
The distance from face of curb as Second St. E to building has been increased to approximately 28 and to ~32
where there is a front porch. Actual dimensions will be confirmed when city provides input and approval of
final civil design and location of curbs and sidewalks is finalized.
increased number of deed restricted affordable inclusionary units to 5
eliminated second dwelling units
added private courtyards at the multifamily units adjacent to a new elevated outdoor area to facilitate a more
communal space while concealing a parking lot below
included a pedestrian oriented, small coffee/sundry shop on First Street East at the request of the Planning
relocated of multiple specimen trees that currently exist on the property to conceal building facades and
enhance pedestrian, motorist experience on First Street East
substantially reduced the massing on First Street East by reducing buildings widths and heights from three
down to two levels

addressed the ingress & egress issue raised by the Planning Commission by adding a horseshoe driveway
through the property off of First Street East
continued to preserve the large heritage oak trees that exist on the property in lieu of adding housing units or

There are few mixed-use sites in the City of Sonoma greater than 1 acre in size. It is in the best interest of our
community to wisely use such sites to further the broad objectives of the General Plan. FSE Project does so by creating
additional housing with a diversity of unit types, including housing aimed at seniors, small families and starter units.
While adding to the affordable housing stock, the project promotes the local economy and year-round tourism with
the added value of in-fill-driven residential and pedestrian presence in commercial centers - all while mitigating traffic
impact by virtue of a mix of planned uses and its pedestrian-friendly location. Importantly, the project presents the
City with an opportunity to create a meaningful annuity revenue stream to add to the General Fund from which it can
pursue a wide variety of goals. At the same time, FSE Project respects the Development Code Standards for the City and
the Northeast Planning Area by contributing to the long-established character of the area with nearby commercial and
medium-density residential uses of a substantially similar scale.
The development will accompany a significant beautification effort of sidewalks, streetscapes, and parks, benefitting
neighbors, community institutions, and other users of nearby public spaces.
The site currently has 22,500 sq. ft. of commercial use, and 6 residential units. It has been a mixed-use property,
featuring high-traffic usage commercial, light-industrial, and residential uses for over 60 years. On First St. E, Acme
Leather Products built the existing industrial structures and operated a factory there until the Petersons bought it and
ran an industrial sheet metal, plumbing, and piping company on the site from 1963 until close to 2000. Since 2000, the
site has featured a catering company, a glass blowing company, and now a sign manufacturer, a vending machine
operator, a flag distributor and a taxi cab service dispatch center. Two 1950s era-homes have been owned by the various
commercial business owners. On Second St E., there are two duplexes tucked in the back which share a parking lot with
a 1950s era commercial building that originally housed a light industrial flag production operation and has been used
primarily as office and professional services space for many years. Current uses include three financial services firms
which receive daily visits from clients and document delivery services.
The site is neighbored by 6 medium-density, multi-family residential buildings approximating 6,000 sf at a height of 30,
a carport and parking area, the Vintage House, a high-use senior programming and event center, and just 1 single family
home. Across from the site are two County-owned fields under lease by Sonoma Little League with a fence of height of
+/-30 on First St. E and the Patch, operated as farmland on Second St. E. Other nearby buildings/developments include
commercial operations at Vela Cheese Factory with a height of 32 set back just 10 from Second St. and Sebastiani
Winery, and medium-density and multi-family residential developments around Blue Wing Drive, including several with
3 stories. Between the site and the Plaza on First St. East are a mix of single and multi-family homes, a bed and
breakfast, a compound of vacation rentals, the bike path, and Depot Park. The Mixed Use designation and the proposed
uses of this project, which are allowed under it, are consistent with other uses in the area and the sites history.
The residential portion of the project features approximately 55,000 square feet across 32 new residential units, 5 of
which are rent/price-controlled, 13 additional units are small format affordably-designed units, across a diversity of
formats serving a diversity of household types:
1-bedroom condominium (1)
2-bedroom condominium (15)
3-bedroom condominium (11)
3-bedroom single family homes (5)
A total 79 new bedrooms to Sonomas housing stock

These 32 units are all on located on roughly 2.6 acres, giving the project a density of 12.3 units / acre on the
housing opportunity portion of the site at 216, 226, and 254 First Street East.

We are primarily designing and marketing the residential units for active seniors, small families and entry level buyers.
16 of the 32 (50%) residential units feature a master bedroom on the main floor while many provide sufficient space for
a larger or extended family if/when needed. Our fully managed HOA, with services provided by the inn, will provide
residents with landscaping, trash removal and maintenance services and other amenities including health and wellness
pursuits. In addition, we have offered to allow the Vintage House members to participate in our planned water aerobics
courses. The Vintage Houses board voted unanimously to support this project.
The multifamily buildings A, B, C & G which contain 84% of the residences are broken up into pods, across eleven
buildings to break up massing as requested by the Planning Commission. Weve substantially increased distances from
the curb to the face of buildings on First Street E. We have also paid attention to the request of members of the
Planning Commission by using the First Street East parcels, which are identified as housing opportunities, to increase
housing stock. As you study the plans youll note that 70% of the buildings on these parcels are residential use. It is
important to point out that the most aggressive development of housing that realistically could be achieved, would be
42 units on the First St. East parcels; as was demonstrated by one Planning Commissioner. This design would require
massive facades in a crowded excessively dense layout. Our 32-unit design is much more open, inviting and attractive
while providing a significant amount of additional housing. Therefore, we believe it to be more appropriate in scale and
mass for the neighborhood.
The Inn
It is important to note that the 2nd Street East Parcels are not identified as housing opportunities. The Inn is located
principally on these lots, and access to the inn has been provided off of 2nd Street East.
The Inn creates a unique opportunity to provide a mix of uses while maintaining the residential feel of the development.
The 30 units are spread out to reduce massing between 3 buildings and 2 casitas, and the square footage used for the
Inn and related commercial operations account for only 30% of the total project. Unlike most any other potential
commercial use, an Inn provides a broad set of neighborhood and community benefits. Benefits include lodging for
neighbors and community guests, a pool club, a caf, a gathering place, and meeting space. Furthermore, the Inn
creates an annuity revenue stream to the Citys General Fund while also creating significant local economic impact
through added jobs and the multiplier effect of tourist spending. By giving Inn guests an option to stay within walking
distance of the plaza, the Inn reduces day tripping and subsequent traffic and parking impact on the plaza and adjacent
areas. As importantly, an Inn produces the least amount of traffic, compared to all other approved uses in mixed-use
(MX). It is the most traffic friendly option in MX.
Each structure has patios and decks that connect them to the street and the neighborhood in a pedestrian-oriented
format. This format coupled with the substantial distance of around 28 from face of curb to face of building, the Inn will
look feel like another residential building along 2nd St East.
Inn Structures and Units:

Building E Clubhouse/Lobby Building

o Max height of 30 with a building footprint of ~3390 sf and no street frontage
o 400 sf break out room on 2nd Floor
o 1260 sf fitness center
o 1569 sf for inn administration on 1st floor. Includes small conference room, reception, office and lounge.
Building F Two 882 sf 2-story Casitas with 30 max height, no street frontage
Building H Guestroom building with 30 max height, no street frontage, less than 4,600 sf foot print
Building J Guestroom building with 30 max height, ~3800 sf foot print, ~28 from face of curb to face of
building (actual dimension to be finalized with city-approval of civil plans).
Building K Caf, Support Space, and Guestroom Building


Max height of 30 with a building footprint of ~4100 sf and no street frontage

1261 sf, 32 seat caf with 8 allotted outdoor seats

Guests will arrive to the inn via the entrance on 1st St. E for valet check in, or thru 2nd St. East for self-check-in. Selfcheck-in guests will be given smart phone enabled access to their 2nd St. E units and will directly drive to and park near
their rooms. All inn guests will be parked on-site. Guests will receive a parking pass and will be prohibited from parking
on the street. Innovative programming including free parking for guests will have inn staff park the car and keep it onsite for the duration of their stay, free bike usage, partnership with local transportation operators, and free
electric/bike-cart shuttles, will minimize parking and congestion impact on the neighborhood and the plaza.
The overall massing of the largest commercial building will be less than our neighbor Vela Cheese factory, and
significantly less square footage than the Vintage House. The inn buildings have reduced FAR than the surrounding
buildings at Meadow Gardens. As such it is designed appropriately compared to existing buildings in the area and fits
well with the character of the surrounding buildings.
Commercial Services for Neighborhood and Community
The Inn & Pool Club, with a Poolside caf will be a neighborhood gathering spot. It will be a place to grab a drink with a
friend, or a coffee with a neighbor in a nice setting. Parents and spectators of Little League will patronize the caf. There
will be several small format-meeting rooms that can be used by local groups, including Vintage House.
The Inn & Pool Club will have a fitness facility and treatment rooms, which will be particularly attractive to those who
live close by. We are designing the Pool Club to be family friendly, and envision kids riding their bikes to their Pool from
the local neighborhoods. Vintage House patrons have also been offered programmatic use of these services.
Whats more, the Inn will provide a much-needed lodging option for guests of local residents, which further promotes
smaller format housing. Within the FSE Project site in particular, having Inn rooms on premise allows us to
accommodate the Planning Commissions request that we look for ways to build smaller format housing. When a
residents guest bedrooms (Inn rooms) are on premise, you can purchase a 2-bedroom unit that can easily
accommodate your visiting family and friends. It really is a smarter way to connect affordable housing to a broader
community shared use, where the ultimate cost of ownership is dramatically reduced because there is no need to buy
extra rooms that only get used occasionally. This further helps to reduce the human footprint in the community.
Another key benefit all tourist lodging provides (Hotels, Inns & B&Bs) is it is the first line of defense for our housing
stock. It is no secret that in a community that has a broad offering of all lodging options from low price point to 5 star
accommodations, tourists are a lot less inclined to buy a vacation home, because their vacation needs are met. Ask any
top realtor, and they will tell you that the lack of high-end lodging in Sonoma drives a lot of vacation home purchases.
Because we have a severe shortage of lodging stock, tourists with ample discretionary income realize it is just better to
buy a vacation home than worry about finding accommodations when so little are available.
It is clear the Code considers hotels and inns to provide neighborhood commercial services. An Inn on its own
provides overnight accommodations to neighbors guests. There is no additional benefit beyond simply overnight
accommodations (which, by the way, is the limit of a B&Bs commercial neighborhood benefit) needed in order to be
approved for mixed-use. Even so, our Inn & Pool Club offers significantly more benefits to the adjacent neighbors,
providing an open and embracing asset to the surrounding neighborhoods and community as a whole. Thus, according
to planning documents, an Inn clearly is a commercial use servicing adjacent neighborhoods and is allowed in
Northeast Planning district and encouraged on mixed-use properties. When you add it all up, our proposed Inn & Pool
Club offers a long list of benefits; far more than a single purpose commercial use such as an office building, standalone caf or B&B.

Garbage Collection
Each single family unit has a side yard next to the garage for utility meters and garbage cans with common collection
happening by the HOA. Garbage for the multi-family units will be stored in a common trash enclosure adjacent to
covered parking concealed under the courtyard until pickup.
Phase 1 and 2 environmental reports have been done as recently as 2014. Key findings include a section of undeveloped
soil with elevated arsenic concentrations which must be mitigated. Additional information will be shared at a future
As designed, FSE Project has 99 provided parking spots with 38 covered. This does not count the 16 street parking spots
bordering the property lines (4 of which are new ones which will be created by reducing current curb cuts), though these
should be considered when evaluating the overall parking impact. The total required stalls equal 91 spots with the
following programming:
All residential requirements fully met, including guest parking
All inn requirements fully met, including staff for the for the entire development
Additional parking provided for 32 seat caf. Using 1 stall for every 4 seats as required
Per March 23 Staff Report, there is no additional parking requirement for fitness facility
If planning commission approves of coffee / sundries shop, there will be a 7 parking stall variance that will need
to be approved to facilitate that occupancy. If the Planning Commission does not approve variance, this instead
be built as a two BR unit which requires no additional parking
Tandem and Valet Parking
The FSE Project makes use of innovative parking strategies to satisfy parking while maximizing open space. Traditional
parking is a poor utilization of land in town center such as Sonoma. According to the Transit Authority of Marin (TAM) in
their case for tandem parking, Parking comprises a substantial portion of development costs, the price of which is
rarely separated from other uses, increasing the price of housing and commercial rents and incentivizing driving. The
TAM further states that Tandem parking, parking lifts and valet parking allow more spaces to be accommodated on the
same area of land. The City of Santa Rosa states that alternative methods of providing required parking is encouraged
within the Downtown and North Santa Rosa Station Area Specific Plan boundaries. Examples of alternative parking
methods include: a. Tandem parking; b. Garage/parking lifts. According to King County, the use of a valet attendant to
park and retrieve cars can increase parking capacity by 20-40% on-site. In all of these cases, these jurisdictions have
acknowledged the significant benefits of tandem and valet parking.
Our project is not new ground for the City of Sonoma. The City of Sonoma has approved tandem parking in other
projects such as the Freiberg Commercial Building at 10 Maple Street. Tandem parking is not uncommon in multi-family
covered garages, such as the one designed into the FSE project. Tandem parking is an ideal solution for valet parking to
minimize the parking footprint. In our project all hotel guests and health club users who drive to the facility will be valet
parked. These cars are kept in a tight configuration directly adjacent to the hotel facilities, and away from the public
Preliminary traffic analyses have been conducted and a full traffic study is being discussed with the City. The preliminary
analysis suggests a net REDUCTION in peak hour trips with the proposed uses versus existing uses. This is due to the fact

that according to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and common sense, hotels are among the LOWEST traffic
generators of ANY use, commercial or residential.

These are standard peak hour trip rates. No reduction for in-fill, walkability, occupancy, seasonality, demographic of
residents, or the type of commercial activities at the inn.
Important studies and common sense suggest walkable properties generate far fewer vehicle trips (average 2.5x less). A
residential scale inn, without banquet facilities, events or other commercial activities, will generate less traffic.
In 2013 a Determination of Historic Significance was done by Arthur Dawson (Baseline Consulting) finding the properties
and structures at 216, 230, and 254 First St. E do not meet any of the criteria for historical significance, either
architectural or archaeological. A similar study will be conducted on the buildings on Second St. E. The study will be
shared in full at a future date.
FSE Project represents a unique opportunity as a smart new mixed-use, in-fill development. Without projects like this
which add to the housing stock while facilitating reduced additional strain on our resources, housing will become more
expensive and Sonoma will be less livable. Smart new development encourages a mix of housing types for a mix of
people, is pedestrian and transit friendly, creates density where possible, protects our outlying agricultural and scenic
lands, and supports the key drivers of our local economy which allow people to work and live here. FSE project is
designed to take advantage of key public amenities, spaces, and uses and thus is invested in supporting the long-term
and sustainable enjoyment of these community assets by all. These design features include:

Upgraded sidewalks, landscaping and streetscapes along the property lines on First and Second St. E
Donated upgrades to the landscaping and hardscaping of Hughes and Teeter fields while ensuring Little Leagues
long-term right to play in what will be upgraded facilities
Programming and facility use for Vintage House patrons

Economic Impact Analysis

An economic impact analysis has been completed and attached as an appendix. Key findings include:
over $5.8 million in direct revenues to local taxing authorities in the first 5 years

over $3.1 million in direct revenues to the City of Sonoma in the first 5 years
over $1.0 million in direct contributions to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District in the first 5 years
68%+ of these revenues are attributed to the proposed inn use
Estimated economic multiplier effect from the proposed inn use of $54.4 million over the first 5 years


We propose utilizing the Planned Development as a tool to provide greater flexibility in the site planning to allow for a
more innovative project and efficient use of the land than may be possible through the strict application of the
conventional zoning regulation. We believe that providing single family detached market rate workforce housing within
close vicinity of Sonomas downtown square is both responsive to the objectives of the Development Code and adheres
to Smart Growth development principles. Used of the Planned Development would allow this project to offer single
family detached housing as part of the project mix.
Our property is unique in its shape, its smart growth infill qualities given its proximity to downtown, and its
proximity to nearby parks and bike lanes. The Development Code acknowledges the desire to have a mix of
housing types available in the North East Planning Area. Our design acknowledges the adjacent densities, and
the intent of the MX zone, while achieving the design and amenity qualities available in single family residences.
The residences acknowledge the farmhouse roots and an emphasis on detail and quality materials. This will offer
variety in the features and the architectural character of the area.
The design of FSE Project achieves a balance that includes the positive attributes of private single family
ownership of homes while maintaining affordability through distributing land, infrastructure, and Affordable
Housing costs over a greater number of market rate units. Through relief from setback requirements, lot size,
and lot coverage the project offers the City a higher quality and greater variety of housing stock. Without the
planned development, these units would likely be multi story apartments.
1. Reduced Setbacks: The majority of units maintain a setback from the adjacent neighboring parcels that meets
the city standards. The design requests relief from setbacks internal to the project.
2. Reduced Open Spaces: The project exceeds the minimum requirements for individual residential unit private
space. Our focus was to provide private lots with private space for families as well. The project is close to the
Sonoma Bike Path and the Sonoma downtown square for common recreation.
3. Reduced Lot Area, FAR, and Dimensions: The project requests relief from the minimum lot area, FAR, and
dimensions through the PD zone for Unit D properties.
The Mixed Use Density designation in the City of Sonomas North East Planning Area allows 20 units/acre
maximum on these parcels. The project proposes 5 single family detached residential units within a mix of the
other housing types. This will create a total of 32 units which is consistent with the General Plan and the
Applicable Specific Plan.

The project helps the City achieve the objectives of providing a variety of infill residential development near
downtown core services. This supports a pedestrian oriented environment and saves the City infrastructure
costs through efficiencies towards the geographic consolidation of its support services.
The applicable regulations of the Development Code have designated a density through MX zoning that is similar
to the density of some adjacent parcels. We believe this desired density is due to proximity to the downtown
center. The design of the homes is consistent with the maximum height requirements. Screening and buffering
will be provided, as intended by the Development Code, to the adjacent neighbors through the design of a
perimeter fence and the increased perimeter landscaping.
The design approaches the residential density in a manner consistent with or better than other planned
developments within the City of Sonoma. We believe this variety of housing is more desirable to the current
market demand and achieves a middle ground between the denser adjacent apartments and the single family
residential to the east.
The strongest natural features of the site are the trees around the perimeter of the property. The setbacks
around the perimeter of the property allow the majority of perimeter trees to be preserved.
The property is unique in its size, shape, and proximity to the central downtown core. The Mixed Use zoning for
the site can be achieved without variances or PD zoning through multi-level apartments or condominiums.
Based on the neighborhood meeting, a variety of building types is desired. We believe that the neighborhood
and downtown residential housing stock would benefit from variety that is catered to families. These families
would benefit from having individual yards, three bedrooms, two baths, and pedestrian access to the downtown
businesses and services. These amenities are the most sought after in the residential real estate market. The
reduced lot size allows the developer to increase the quality level of construction, while maintaining an
affordable price point in the market. The development saves the majority of the perimeter trees and proposes
to supplement these with additional screening. Collectively, we believe that the Planned Development allows us
to provide superior design quality with an innovative housing stock to benefit the downtown core of the City of