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Hotel Petaluma evicts residents, returns to overnight format

The only single-room occupancy housing in Sonoma County soon will be a thing of the past.

Owners of the historic Hotel Petaluma on Kentucky and Washington Streets are returning the building to its original use — a traditional hotel for overnight visitors.

The move was met with criticism by some of the hotel's 104 mostly lower income residents who will be displaced. But it was embraced by those who say Petaluma needs more hotel rooms, especially downtown.

Marin County property owner Terry Andrews bought the 1923 building five months ago after the former owner lost it in foreclosure. Andrews raised rents and soon began a series of improvements to the aging building and its dreary rooms.

Some of the tenants protested the rent hikes and several moved out — most, he said, because he instituted a no-smoking policy throughout the five-story building.

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