SALE OF THE
Surplus Property Sale of the Chanate Property
Sonoma County in December 2018 started the process of attempting to sell the Chanate property again. The Board of Supervisors has decided to offer the Chanate property in three parcels this time around. They will NOT be offering Parcel J (the Paulin Creek Preserve) for sale to anyone, which is excellent news. To view a copy of this map, see the link at the bottom of this page.
As required by law, Sonoma County is offering the Chanate property for sale to other governmental agencies and to non-profits in what is called a Surplus Property Offering. This Surplus Property Offering was sent out in February, 2019 and responses are due on May 10, 2019 from those governmental agencies interested in purchasing the property.
Recently the County held three meetings in late March/early April which they called “community conversations.” These meetings were held to explain the current process and hear from concerned citizens. We were pleased to see many Friends of Chanate members in attendance and to hear the excellent questions posed to the County. The County will be posting a listing of questions and answers from the “community conversation” meetings on their website at some point, and we will post them on our website too. The PowerPoint presented at this meeting is available below.
At this point in time it appears that the County is in compliance with the spirit of the law by fully publicizing the offer to a long list of wide-ranging governmental and non-profit agencies. This is in stark contrast to the prior offering which did not receive adequate publicity and, in fact, was only sent to seven (7) public agencies. See links at the bottom of this page for the current Request for Proposals and for the list of recipients of the Surplus Property Offering. We are hopeful that one of these public agencies will choose to pursue a purchase of the property.
Continuing Need for Transparency
Although the County is following the spirit of the law at this point in time, they continue to lack complete transparency. For example, the last appraisals made available to the public for the Chanate Property were done in 2016. We have been informed that Sonoma County has paid for and obtained new appraisals for the whole property and for each of the three parcels however the County is refusing to disclose the updated appraisals. Presumably the appraisals were paid for with taxpayer money; the public is entitled to see this information. We believe the updated appraisals should be disclosed to the public in the interest of transparency. We will continue to encourage the County to be transparent and to release the updated appraisals.
Additionally, as it stands now, after May 10, 2019, the County will make any/all offers they receive public as required, but only for 72 hours prior to their conclusive vote to sell or not sell the property as surplus. This is not an adequate amount of time to engage the public’s participation. We will continue to press the County to release information about the offers sooner in order to allow for public input. If the County decides to reject all public agency offers then the property will be made available for sale to private developers. The public should have a say in such an important aspect of this process.
Friends of Chanate believes that Sonoma County owes it to the taxpayers to get the best possible price when they sell the Chanate property, but we also believe that it is essential that any offers from non-profits to buy the property be seriously considered. The Board of Supervisors can reject all offers they might receive in response to the Surplus Property Offering, and we hope that is not the case. If the Board rejects all offers received from public agencies then it can proceed to sell the property to private developers. Again, we hope this will not be the case. The County has indicated its goal to sell the property by the end of 2019. Hopefully bad decisions will not be made simply for the sake of expediency.
As soon as we learn the identity of any public agencies interested in purchasing the property, Friends of Chanate will reach out to these agencies and schedule a neighborhood meeting inviting the bidders to appear and speak to us about their proposals. Since the County plans to make their decision in August, watch your email to learn the date of our neighborhood meeting (if you would like to sign up for our email notices, send us an email to FriendsOfChanate@sonic.net).
Once a bid is accepted and the property actually sold, the City of Santa Rosa remains responsible for conducting public outreach on any development proposals for the Chanate property and will be ultimately responsible for all project approvals, including the requirement for all California Environmental Quality review.
Friends of Chanate will carefully monitor both the property sale and any proposed development for the Chanate property and will keep everyone informed of the status both through this web site and through our emails. To be added to our email list, please contact us at FriendsOfChanate@sonic.net.
Click on the links below to see documents of interest. All are pdf documents, and will require Acrobat Reader to view.