Sunday, July 25, 2004


Councilman Martini to move Taft Street to SR developer's vineyard

Santa Rosa Councilman Mike Martini plans to build a $4 million, 40,000-square foot, 200,000-case winery near Windsor, in partnership with Santa Rosa developer Joe Keith. Martini is a partner in Taft Street Winery in Sebastopol. Taft Street will relocate to an acre and a half of Keith's 28-acre vineyard on Jensen Lane northeast of Windsor. Keith is President of developer/builder Cobblestone Homes in Santa Rosa.

The North Bay Business Journal said (7/24, "Taft Street's grand plans"),

"The arrangement would give Mr. Keith a winery tenant to supplement income from winegrape sales to Taft Street and others, and Taft Street would get access to municipal water and sewer and be closer to a grape supplier, according to Mr. Martini."

It's not clear whether Taft Street already buys grapes from Keith's vineyard, or just that it might do so when the winery relocates there.

Martini and Keith also are associates through their membership in the Sonoma County Alliance. Cobblestone/Keith and Taft Street/Martini are both current members. Martini has been a member since 1991, and the countywide developer's lobby hired him to be its paid Executive Director two years ago, while he was Santa Rosa's Mayor. Current Mayor Sharon Wright was SCA Director 1986--2001.

Announcement of Taft Street's proposed relocation raises the question of how long Martini and Keith have been working together to plan the project, and whether Martini might have participated in any Council actions related to Cobblestone/Keith during that period. Martini may also have to consider whether he should abstain from any Council actions affecting Windsor's water and sewer, such as its access to Santa Rosa's pipeline to The Geysers.

Taft Street has applied to Windsor, and the Town is hiring a consultant to do an environmental impact report on the winery project. Keith's vineyard is not in Windsor now, but is slated for annexation and ultimate residential development in 15--25 years. It appears the new winery might preempt or delay that proposed future housing. The NBBJ said,

"Before the relocation could happen, Windsor would need to insert language in its General Plan and zoning ordinance about continued agricultural use on the property, approve a winery use permit, then pursue annexation through the county's Local Agency Formation Commission."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?