President’s Message

President’s Message, February 2023

The letter below is the FPA Board’s Response to Sonoma County Planning Commission’s Regarding the Affordable Housing in Forestville.

Sent to Eric Gage of the Planning Commission.

Seven locations in Forestville for the 635+ new dwelling units proposed for Forestville:

  1. 6555 Covey Road
  2. 6898 Nolan Road
  3. 6220 Highway 116 N
  4. 6090 Van Keppel Road
  5. 6475 Packing House Road
  6. 6250 Forestville Street
  7. Mirabel Road and Highway 116

Date: February 12, 2023
From: Lucy Hardcastle
President of the Forestville Planning Association (FPA) Board of Directors

History: The FPA was founded as a 501c3 in 2002 to help address land use issues after Empire Storage paved over a meadow to put up storage units. Since then, we’ve helped educate the community on projects that would affect the quality of life in this small town.

Adding an additional 1,652 people to the town’s population of 3,788 without widening the highway and every other traffic corridor translates into gridlock and pollution. Our question is, how would it be possible to do this massive buildout without strangling everyone who is here?

We recognize three things:

  • You have numbers you need to allocate.
  • This is a mandate from the State.
  • You do not wish to destroy a town or culture in the process.

We’d like you to recognize three things:

  • Forestville welcomes more workforce housing.
  • Forestville hopes and prays to get more affordable housing for families.
  • Forestville would like to see affordable housing for seniors close to town.

With those hopes however we do have legitimate concerns on how to accommodate very large numbers of new people without jeopardizing the health and safety of our current residents.

Obstacles to this ambitious plan concern lack of sufficient infrastructure such as roads and the ability to have swift egress when evacuations are called. Highway 116 may sound like a Highway due to its name, but it remains a two-lane country road, busy with lumbering quarry trucks competing with parents dropping their kids off at school in the middle of town. Adding large or very large apartment complexes along these roads is a sure-fire way to destroy our town’s capacity to adapt. Businesses needing to take advantage of the tourist trade for survival would be devastated if and when traffic and parking becoming a nightmare.

Having said that, here is what we feel could work…

FOR-1 Electro Vector Site
We consider this a good location for multiple housing units. It does have a contamination issue which makes it hard to sell to an independent developer however if the land could be paved over with parking on the lower level and two stories of housing units over that perhaps that blighted parcel could find some redemption. Note it will present a traffic problem with the school next door. If it were senior housing perhaps that wouldn’t be such an issue.

For- 2 Between Nolan Road and Gusti
This lot is allocated for 170 units, which would be a huge apartment complex. This project would create health and safety concerns. The roadway simply cannot handle these numbers.

For-3, 5 and 6
Affordable housing from Burbank Housing is close by. Their 6 units per acre works well in that area. It’s possible that this location could host a Skatepark, a long-held dream of many community members.

For- 4
Adding more than nominal housing units to the end of Van Kepple has health and safety concerns about evacuations. The scale is totally out of whack.

This lot is next door to the local gas station. It could hold a multiple story unit without disrupting the nature of the neighborhood but would cause traffic issues.

Along with our local MAC representatives we are planning a Town Hall April 20th to address our concerns over this rezoning allocation. Pushing extreme numbers on a small town seems not only unreasonable but punishing. You must find alternatives for your numbers. Our future is at stake. At this Town Hall we hope to address not just what we DON’T want but what we DO! We will be inviting affordable housing advocates to come and teach us what could work well for our community.

We are grateful for the opportunity to pull our community together; learn how to attract the kinds of housing we feel will fit well into our needs and sense of place. This has been a catalyst for our town and for that we are grateful.


This is past the deadline date for comments but we are keeping this here in case you still wish to follow up. No guarantee PermitSonoma will enter it into the record.
Written comments can be sent by February 13 to:
Eric Gage, 2550 Ventura Ave, Santa Rosa 95403

Contact the FPA President

This is expected to be an ongoing issue. Currently there is a Town Hall planned in April for Forestville to address this. Stay tuned for more info. Sign up to receive notifications for the Town Hall as well as other news for Forestville HERE.

Chart of what the county has deemed “appropriate” for adding affordable housing to 11 communities in Sonoma County. Click on chart to view larger.


Monday, February 13, 2023
Dear Lucy,

I own Parcel FOR-4, which is understandably generating controversy due to its possible rezoning by the County. Below is a letter I wrote to the project planner. I would appreciate it, if you would post it on the Forestville Planning Association website. If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you, Paul Paddock

Dear Mr. Gage,
I own APN 083-073-010, referred to as Parcel FOR-4 in the EIR the County is doing for its Housing Element update of the General Plan. During the Planning Commission’s last meeting regarding the EIR, I indicated that the maximum density proposed for my property seemed clearly inappropriate. It would be inconsistent with surrounding parcel densities, and create the potential for significant traffic, and neighborhood changing impacts. Site specific challenges include access via a long, narrow easement, and possible issues regarding underlying soil conditions.

My neighbors have expressed serious concerns about the proposed density increase, and the type of housing proposed. They don’t support it, and neither do I. It is unfortunate, that my willingness to consider some increase in density, would trigger consideration of such a dramatic step-up in density.

If I misunderstood the original outreach from the County, I apologize. With that said, I am sensitive to the County’s need to demonstrate its commitment to increase housing opportunities throughout the County.

I may be supportive of a density increase that would be more compatible with my immediate neighborhood, community, and site conditions. As I recall, it was indicated that public comments would be accepted until February 13th. I would be grateful, if you would enter this letter into the record. If you, or any of the commissioners have questions about my parcel, or wish to discuss my position, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,
Paul Paddock

Board Meetings

• 1st Tuesday of mo.
• 5:30 – 7:30 PM
• In-Person at:
6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville
• Via Zoom: Get Link
• For more info, contact:
Board President,
Lucy Hardcastle
Everyone welcome.