155 Dry Creek Road

Affordable housing — A 3-acre parcel at 155 Dry Creek Road will be the future site of a 57-unit affordable housing project that’s being developed by Burbank Housing.

Image courtesy city of Healdsburg

A 57-unit affordable housing rental project at 155 Dry Creek Road is in the early stages of being developed following a unanimous city council decision to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with Burbank Housing for the development of the 3.53-acre site.

The future housing site will provide affordable housing options across the income spectrum from 30 to 60% Area Median Income (AMI), and 10% of the units will be dedicated to Reach for Home.

“We invited them (Reach for Home) to be a part of this project because we recognize the tremendous need for housing for the city’s most vulnerable,” said Karen Massey, lead project director with Burbank Housing. “Approximately 10% of the units, about 5, will be set aside for Reach for Home to utilize and occupy on a first priority basis. We will also be offering them square footage within the ground floor of one of the buildings to offer their core support services to those residents in need.”

Massey and the development team attended the April 19 Healdsburg City Council meeting in order to present their vision for the project prior to the council ENA approval.      

The preliminary design approach for the project will be to maximize unit yield, protect Foss Creek and the seasonal surrounding wetlands, provide public access with trails and educational opportunities, improve fire and life safety and emphasize sustainability.

Reach for Home, West Development Ventures, Van Meter Williams Pollack design and architect, BKF Engineers, Quadriga landscape architect and Jane Valerius Environmental Consulting make up the project’s development team.

The all-electric development will feature a mix of one-to three-bedroom units among a cluster of one to two-story buildings with solar panels and ample emergency vehicle access and a pedestrian pathway along Foss Creek and the adjacent wetlands.

The future housing site sits between Big John’s Market and Plank Coffee along the Dry Creek corridor. The site, which contains seasonal wetland areas, was purchased in 2003 by the city’s former redevelopment agency with tax increment funding with the intent of creating low to moderate-income housing.

“It is important that we protect the Foss Creek corridor and the existing seasonal wetlands on the property and provide pedestrian access into the site, making the site publicly accessible and offering educational opportunities to the important watershed,” Massey said. 

The ENA with Burbank Housing and the city will establish procedures and standards for the negotiation of a future development agreement between the city and Burbank for the project.

The ENA period is 24 months, with the option to extend the agreement for an additional 12 months, during which the following activities will take place:

●    Determine the scope of the project and land use approvals

●    Complete property due diligence

●    Conduct community outreach

●    Complete schematic designs

●    Secure entitlements and any required environmental reviews

●    Refine financing plan

As part of the ENA, Burbank will despot $25,000 in good faith and for initial third-party consultant costs associated with the development of the ENA according to Stephen Sotomayor, the city’s housing administrator.  

In terms of the design of the project, Councilmember Skylaer Palacios echoed a public comment from architect Kenneth Munson, that it might be good to implement some sort of mixed-use element into the project.

Councilmember Ariel Kelley liked the idea of the pedestrian path, but wondered where the path would go. The Burbank development team said that would be something that’s determined during the detailed design phase of development.

Project bid

Burbank was chosen for the 155 Dry Creek project following a request for qualifications (RFQ) and a review of proposals by Sotomayor, Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay, the city’s interim planning and building director, Luke Sims and a senior planner.

“We were looking for developers that presented a vision that demonstrated the knowledge of the site, demonstrated the knowledge of the community and also identified affordable housing that would be in sync with the community’s goals and would meet the needs of our residents,” Sotomayor said.

The city received five statements of qualifications, however, after candidate interviews and a review of the RFQs Burbank Housing was determined to be the best fit for the project.

“The evaluation team concluded that the proposal submitted by Burbank Housing best responded to the RFQ and especially understood the constraints of the site, which there are numerous considerations to factor in, including off-site improvements, emergency vehicle access and wetlands mitigation as well as noise abatement,” Sotomayor said.    

Next steps

The next steps in the project include executing the development agreement and launching a robust community outreach campaign.

“We’re hopeful the outreach process can occur in-person as well as virtually through a series of open houses and community workshops. We also anticipate a direct outreach process to our immediate neighbors, our community partners and Corazon and other nonprofit organizations to ensure that we solicit their input as well. Project updates will be shared with a hard copy and in an electronic format and we’ll certainly do our best to reach out to the bilingual community sharing materials in both English and Spanish,” Massey said.

This year Burbank will also work on the planning and environmental review as well as securing the environmental permits for the project. In 2022, work will include design development, construction document development and the issuance of permits. The goal is to start construction some time in 2023.

Vice Mayor Ozzy Jimenez said he’s excited to see the project come forward with a developer that has a strong expertise in affordable housing. Burbank Housing previously developed the Canyon Run apartments in Healdsburg as well as the Monte Vina apartments in town.

Mayor Evelyn Mitchell echoed Jimenez’s sentiments. “Thank you to Burbank Housing. I think it is exciting that we can continue to partner with you in this endeavor,” Mitchell said.

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