New Housing Development Proposed West of Highway 101

Would include a 3-story hotel, 150 homes, as well as retail and offices

Basin Street Properties, the company that brought Petaluma the Theater District, wants to build a new development complete with a three-story hotel, 150 new homes and an apartment complex off Hopper Street east of Caulfield Lane.

The developer submitted plans to the city last month for the Riverfront project that would include 40 townhouses, a 45-unit apartment and 70,000 square feet of retail and office space. The entire project would be situated on 39 acres of land off Hopper Street on the north bank of the Petaluma River.

Neither Vincent Smith, who is managing the project for Basin Street, or Matt White, president of the company, were immediately available for comment. 

According to plans submitted to the Planning Department, the project would consist of the hotel and office park adjacent to Hopper Street and a central green belt, surrounded by retail spaces. The single family homes would be located around the retail, with some overlooking Highway 101 while others the north side of the Petaluma River. Check out the pictures on the right for more detail.

In a review of the project, Petaluma Fire Marshall raised concerns that in an event of a fire or another emergency, residents of the proposed development would be able to exit only through Hopper Street, because there are no connector roads south of the development.

Another concern is the railroad tracks that run parallel to the planned subdivision that could block traffic, especially if a train gets stalled or derailed. Instead, Fergus suggested the former Pomeroy site, near the Petaluma Animal Shelter, as a better alternative. However, if the southern crossing at Caulfield Lane gets built, as has been proposed, it would provide a second exit out of the subdivision and faster access to Highway 101.

The city has hired a consultant to conduct a fiscal and economic impact analysis of the project which should be completed this month, according to Planning Deputy Director Heather Hines. The project will then be presented to the City Council.

What are your thoughts on the proposed project? Are you excited to see it built?

Kevin King October 12, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Interesting, with so much going on in that area (train, freeway overpass, Shamrock), I wonder how this gets approved. These would have to be townhouses or condos, since the home values would likely always stay low relative to the rest of the community. For approval from fire officials, Basin would either have to build another bridge across the river or pay for a Hopper St. extension to D Street.
Chad M. October 12, 2011 at 09:13 PM
There is so much unused land sitting out there - it would be nice to see it get developed. Too bad there is a sewage plant sitting in the middle of it. Seems to me that a bridge would need to be built across the river to make it viable. That doesn't seem likely though.
Bill Fishman October 13, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Construction of the so-called "Southern Crossing" -- the bridge extending Caulfield Lane over the River to Petaluma Boulevard -- has been in the "Pie-In-The-Sky" file for years. Looks interesting on paper, but it would be a navigation restriction and would have to either be another draw bridge or a huge monstrosity. In any event: very expensive. Is Basin Street going to pay for it? (Don't think so) How about the property owners along First and Second Streets, whose values would probably shoot up? (Doubtful) One interesting observation is that if you extend a line from Caulfield Lane across the River, you run smack dab into property owned by PEP Housing -- purchased with the help of the City of Petaluma.
MCS October 13, 2011 at 05:00 AM
No southern crossing equals a project that is inconsistent with the General Plan. Basin Street must be required to build the southern crossing with its project (pursuant to a pay back agreement for the cost share of other developments and the city) or design its project to preserve the ability to construct the crossing and pay its fair share for future construction. Cumulative development conditions will likely support a nexus to require the project to do its part relative to the southern crossing. To allow Basin Street to do anything less leaves the existing community bag-holders as it is in the case of the Rainier crossing. It is notable that the new round-about at Quarry Heights has a stub-out for the southern crossing, which is well south of PEP.
Paula Moors October 13, 2011 at 02:36 PM
I'm not sure why we need more office spaces to lease when we have so many available now. Also are all the apartments in Petaluma full? Why add more vacancies?
Bill Fishman October 13, 2011 at 03:59 PM
I honestly don't know if the PEP site is even a feasible location for a bridge terminus. But, if I were still on the PEP board, I'd be thinking "swap": the current property in exchange for some affordable housing in the proposed Basin Street Development. As to the issue of why the Basin Street property needs to be developed at all, the policy of "in-fill" development is something that the City endorsed years ago as a means of containing growth of the City's foot-print. If we want no growth, then let's say so. If we want to be able to contain and shape it within the present foot-print, then there are not many choices. Let's do be honest about what we want. (Frankly, I liked Petaluma better 50 years ago; but the chicken has left the coop on that one.)
Revolver October 13, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Isn't there still a question about nearly $500,000 that Basin Street owes the city in the wake of the Theater District development? I think that needs to be reconciled before BSP can approach the city with another project.
Mary Jo Wheeler October 13, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Indeed! And, Revolver, you were the first person here to even mention this very important point! As for this proposed project, I can sum it up in ONE word=NO! or 3 words: NO NO NO !!! Petaluma will start to look like a big city, and a lot of us choose to live here because we want to maintain that ''small town'' feeling. I hate all these huge housing project that are springing up allover the place; to me, they are a blight. I cringe every time I pass those extremely UGLY apartments on Lakeville, I can't bear to even look that way any more when I am drivings past. Apologies if you live there, but they really are horrendous. Just my opinion. Will this Basin St project look like that? UGH!! Sorry for my ramblings...this got me going.
Bill Fishman October 14, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Okay, Mary Jo. I hear what you are saying; but think about what it means: Do we want to reserve Petaluma for those relatively few among us who can afford to live in a single family home? It is a shame when a developer decides to do things "cheap and ugly"; and it is a breach of trust when CIty Officials allow it. But the reality is that PEOPLE live in those apartments. Are you ready to say "NO NO NO" to people who like Petaluma but can't afford to buy a single family home here? Believe me, I don't want to just hand the keys to the Planning and Building departments to developers. But don't say "NO NO NO" to housing that uses less land per resident at lower rent without considering the issue from a larger context. Consider also that the City has an opportunity to require rehabilitation of and/or public access to a previously inaccessible stretch of river frontage as a condition of a project of this sort.
Mary Jo Wheeler October 15, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Hello Bill. Thanks for your input. I do no disagree with the points you make, they are good ones. What is really ironic is that my husband and I are "people who like Petaluma but can't afford to buy a single family home here?" We rent and probably always will. Guess I just don't trust developers, or the City. And as "Revolver" said: Basin Street still owes the city $500,000. In light of that-they should not be allowed to start another project.
Beth Meredith November 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I agree with comments about Basin Street being a less than desirable developer. I love Petaluma and want to see good development that adds to the long term viability of our community. From what I saw of how they conducted themselves with downtown project, I do not think Basin Street is interested in creating good places for people to live, work and visit. Building less than desirable places is not in anyone's interest. We need developers who have a proven ability to make good developments as well as good money.


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