Petaluma group rejects $10,000 negotiated from shopping center developer

A Petaluma nonprofit group has rejected a $10,000 donation an anti-big box organization negotiated for it from a shopping center developer, saying it wants to avoid potential backlash from the deal.

Heritage Homes of Petaluma board members voted 7-1 to turn down the donation from the Petaluma Neighborhood Association because it "wasn't in alignment" with the group's mission of protecting historic structures.

The PNA reached a settlement last month with Merlone Geier Partners, developers of the Friedman's-based Deer Creek Village shopping center, in which the PNA would drop its legal challenges to the project in exchange for $191,000 in concessions.

PNA leader and west Petaluma resident Paul Francis successfully negotiated contributions from Merlone Geier for three interests: $30,000 to a city tree planting fund, $25,000 to the Petaluma River Heritage Center and $10,000 to Heritage Homes.

The agreement also obligates Merlone Geier to pay $36,000 to the PNA's lawfirm and fund $110,000 in improvements to the Lynch Creek bike and pedestrian trail, traffic calming measures on Rushmore Avenue and crosswalks and pedestrian signals at Rainier Avenue and Maria Drive near the project.

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