Working to Bring More Housing to Sonoma County

As the North Bay continues to rebuild following the devastating 2017 fires, the Bay Area Council recently led a group of real estate developers and investors on a tour of potential development sites in the Santa Rosa area. The Council partnered with Bay Area Housing Advocacy Coalition on the tour, which attracted almost 60 developers and investors. Cynthia Murray, CEO, North Bay Leadership Council, provided an economic snapshot of Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, in particular, to the attendees and participated in the tour.

The tour included meetings with Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm, Council member Chris Rogers, Supervisor David Rabbitt, Director of Planning and Economic Development David Guhin and other city planning and economic development officials. The group visited sites that would be eligible for various incentives as part of Santa Rosa’s strategy to promote more fire resilient patterns of growth by encouraging development of prime sites in transit-served urban centers in the downtown Opportunity Zone. The Council led a similar tour in Oakland several years ago that helped spark a wave of new investment and building that has continued to expand.

The North Bay tour also comes as the Bay Area Council Economic Institute works with leaders to provide policy analysis and recommendations to help guide rebuilding efforts. A key part of the work is ensuring that these counties maintain a vibrant economic environment, especially for small locally-owned businesses. A Profile of Sonoma County: Building a Resilient and Inclusive Economy will be released in October on the second anniversary of the fires. The report will highlight various policy goals and indicators for tracking progress on fire safety, emergency response, housing affordability, economic and ethnic inclusion, and public health.

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