Haystack mixed use project cleared for construction

The Petaluma Planning commission signed off on the design of the downtown development.|

A 182-unit downtown housing project that will also feature several ground floor retail spaces passed its final approval hurdle this week, joining a handful of incoming projects that will transform a barren and largely untouched section of Petaluma.

The Haystack Pacifica project sits on four acres near the Petaluma River Turning Basin and is bounded on each side by East Washington, Weller, Copeland and East D streets. The incoming three- to four-story mixed use development is just one of a string of changes residents will see along the downtown stretch next to the Turning Basin this year.

Adobe Road Winery has broken ground on its tasting room and entertainment space recently, which will face the Petaluma River at the corner of C and First streets and is touted to become a regional tour destination.

Within the turning basin itself is the slowly expanding floathouse project, aiming to complete construction of its floating docks for boat and river recreation this summer, dependent on community donations. Even more transformative will be the river’s long-awaited dredging expected to begin early June, which will remove 17 years of silt buildup and is promising to dramatically improve Petaluma’s river-based recreation and tourism economies.

The Haystack Pacifica development will also soon by joined by a neighbor opposite Copeland Street, following city council’s decision this week to allow a 405-unit apartment complex behind the downtown SMART station as part of the overall Corona Station decision.

A specific construction date has not yet been finalized but was previously estimated to begin in two to three years. Developer Pacifica Companies will apply for permits and improvement plans this summer, according to a city staff report.

Pacifica Companies committed to pricing 27 of the units at a low and very-low rate, as required by the city’s inclusionary housing policy. The Petaluma ordinance requires housing developers to set aside 15% of their units for low-income renters or pay a fee toward a city-?controlled housing fund.

Very low-income in Sonoma County refers to those earning $54,000 and less, and low-income caps at $86,000, as outlined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Its mixed-use concept has more recently been invoked in development and environmental activist circles in town, some pointing to the project as a desired example of high-density housing that discourages additional car trips to access commercial centers.

An intersecting road will be constructed to bisect the development, connecting Copeland Street to Weller Street, and a Class IV bike lane will line East D Street. Additionally, the development will include two courtyards, two open space areas and three public pocket parks. More than 250 parking spaces are to be included, in both garages and on street perimeters.

Council members approved the project October 2019, sending it back to planning commissioners for this week’s rubber stamp on design elements of the project.

(Contact Kathryn Palmer at kathryn.palmer@arguscourier.com, on Twitter @KathrynPlmr.)

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