Healdsburg City Hall

The Growth Management Ordinance (GMO) and possible changes were discussed at the Healdsburg City Council meeting Sept. 3 at city hall.

Council decided to pursue proposing changes the GMO to include for sale, income restricted units in the cap.

The GMO and its adjustment in Measure P caps new rental units at 150 over three years with 50 on average per year. Any changes to the GMO have to pass a public vote at a regular election.

Ballot language would be complete by Dec. 6 for the March 3 primary. The first draft of ballot language should be “pretty darn close” to the final and would be presented Oct. 7, City Manager David Mickaelian said.

Housing Administrator Stephen Sotomayor presented a variety of options to change the GMO, which were noted to not have any staff recommendation attached. They included making for sale units subject to the GMO, using a percentage to split for sale and for rent units, eliminating the GMO or keeping as is. These could possibly increase the amount of income restricted units, he said.

“There’s definitely more than one way to skin this cat,” Sotomayor said.

Councilmember Shaun McCaffery said that he saw potential for more middle income units at new developments like the Mill District if changes came.

At first, setting a percentage of for sale homes vs. rentals was favored. Mayor David Hagele said the percentage may not be needed, as the market could determine the ratio.

Vice Mayor Leah Gold agreed. She also said she didn’t see enough time to survey voters to make sure changes were palatable. Mickaelian said the schedule would be tight, but for $27,000, a survey could be done through a third party. The survey was ultimately nixed.

Public comment was supportive of learning more — especially to increase affordable housing — but concerns were shared by a couple on the timeline. Other creative options for housing such as raising the height limit on buildings were pitched, too. Concerns were also shared on limiting market rate homes to limit second home purchases in town.


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