Plan proposes tribal elder housing, general commercial zone
During the last Cloverdale City Council meeting, the council passed a resolution allowing the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians to submit a pre-zoning and annexation application to the city. The application is for two parcels, a 26.5-acre parcel at 235 Kelly Road and a 19.5-acre parcel with no assigned address. Both are located in the unincorporated, south end of town within the urban growth boundary.
“Really the intent here is to annex in and start building the housing project first, construct the infrastructure to serve that project and, because of the rules of LAFCO and that you have to be contiguous to the city, the parcel to the east is coming along with us,” said Kevin Doble, senior project manager for LACO Associates, which is handling the projects.
The larger 26.5-acre property is being proposed to be used to house a 25-lot subdivision for the band’s elders and the 19.5-acre parcel is being proposed as split light industrial and general commercial use, with around nine acres allotted for each. As it stands, the group’s pre-zoning request doesn’t outline a zoning change for the larger property.
“We would like to have the ability to have a little bit of general commercial — essentially they’re really similar to light industrial — but it allows some retail and it allows some hospitality,” Doble said when presenting to the city council.
During the meeting, Vice Mayor Gus Wolter expressed concern at the “hospitality” implication of the proposed zoning change, specifically regarding if the band intends to put the land into a trust and develop a casino.
Doble responded, saying that the tribe doesn’t intend to put either property into a trust, and that the plan of what will be placed in the general commercial zone hasn’t been made.
“We’re talking quite a few years out on that lower parcel now, anyway,” he said. “The goal right now for the tribe is to get housing for their elders. It’s affordable housing, it’s housing that will remain under the tribe’s ownership, they’re going to be doing all the maintenance, they’re going to be doing all of the upkeep.”
“That’s nothing we would want to do,” Tribal Chairman Christ Wright said in response to Wolter’s inquiry, echoing Doble. “None of that land would even go into trust. It just wouldn’t be good for us to move a casino north when you have casinos south. It doesn’t benefit us to do any of that, and putting it in a trust doesn’t benefit us.”
Of the 25 units included in the subdivision, 24 of them will be two-bedroom units, with one being for a property manager. The development will also be age-restricted to those 55 and older, and designated as low-income housing.
According to Wright, about 80% of the 74 people on the tribe’s housing waiting list are age 62 or above. While this housing project won’t be able to house all of the elders on the list, Wright said that he anticipates it housing around half of them.
Since there’s a need for housing within the tribe, the development of the larger swath of land is coming first. Included in the 25-house development is also an area of land set aside to be an open space for those living on the property.
“We manage it for them, we do the landscaping for them, we do everything — we want it to be top notch for our elders,” Wright said about the proposed development.
This is one of the first development steps for the group, since Cloverdale requires all annexation applicants with more than 10 acres to submit a pre-application review and report to the city regarding fiscal and land use impacts. Because this is one of the first steps on a fairly long path to annexation and development, the group doesn’t have an anticipated groundbreaking date.
However, according to Doble, they do want to have gone through the land entitlement process by the end of the year. From there, they can apply to a low-income tax credit program that will assist in funding the development of the project.
In the immediate future, Doble said that they’re planning on organizing a community meeting in the coming weeks to help lay out their plans and get public feedback. An official date and time for the meeting has yet to be set.