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Where Do You Stand on Measure B, the Hotel Limitation Proposal on the Nov. 19 Ballot?

With dueling PACs staking out their respective positions for and against the proposal to limit the size of new hotels in the city to 25 rooms until the current hotel annual occupancy rate significantly increases, has either group won your vote yet?

Sonoma City Hall. Patch photo.
Sonoma City Hall. Patch photo.




With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, voters have about 10 weeks to digest an issue that has dominated debate in the city of Sonoma's hotel and business circles for much of 2013.

Measure B, the so-called Hotel Limitation ballot initiative, is the sole item on the docket for the city's special Nov. 19 election. It proposes to limit the size of new hotels in the city to 25 rooms unless the annual hotel occupancy rate reaches 80 percent for the previous calendar year. The town’s average annual occupancy rate is 62 percent.

And while there's plenty of time for the campaigns for and against the ballot measure to dig in, a pair of groups has staked out firm positions on each side of Measure B and already spent money to do help their cause, according to July 31 campaign filings. 

Preserving Sonoma, the committee that supports limiting new hotel construction, spent more than $42,000 during the filing period of March through June, while Protect Sonoma, the committee that opposes the measure, spent more than $26,000 to oppose the measure. 

Behind votes from Mayor Ken Brown and Councilmembers Tom Rouse and David Cook, the Sonoma City Council voted last month to official oppose Measure B and submit an argument against it in the voter pamphlet. That argument was due Monday.

Here's the ballot summary for Measure B: The Hotel Limitation Measure

If adopted by a majority of the voters voting on it, this initiative measure would amend the Sonoma General Plan and Development Code to require that the establishment of a hotel with more than 25 rooms must receive a use permit approved by the Planning Commission. Similarly, the expansion of an existing hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast inn to more than 25 rooms will have to receive a use permit approved by the Planning Commission. 

The Planning Commission would be prohibited from granting such a use permit unless it found, among other things, that (a) the annualized hotel room occupancy rate for the calendar year (January 1 to December 31) preceding the filing of the hotel application exceeds 80%, and (b) the proposed hotel will not adversely affect the historic, small town character of Sonoma. The measure provides that the annualized hotel room occupancy rate would be calculated by comparing the total number of hotel, motel, bed and breakfast inn and vacation rental room nights rented in the City with the total number of room nights available for rent in the City, during the relevant calendar year. In calculating whether the occupancy rate of 80% has been exceeded, the measure requires inclusion of the rooms available for rental and rented at (i) bed and breakfast inns, which are defined to mean rental facilities possessing 5 or less rooms and (ii) vacation rentals, which are defined to mean rental properties containing one or two residential units. 

If the Planning Commission’s decision concerning a hotel governed by this measure is appealed to the City Council, the hotel could only be approved by a 4/5th’s vote of the City Council. 

The General Plan and Development Code provisions re-adopted and adopted by the measure could not be changed or repealed except by a subsequent vote of City voters. 

The measure would apply to any hotel development proposal subject to its provisions that has not received final approval by the time the measure becomes effective. The measure does not apply to the renovation, maintenance, or repair of an existing hotel unless the renovation, maintenance or repair increases the total number of rooms of the hotel. 

M Cunningham September 06, 2013 at 03:47 PM
For some, this measure is also about the "have's and the have not's" its about the elite 1% (like Darius Anderson) and their dominance of what goes on in the town of Sonoma that's why some choose to speak through others or with fake names. The money in town talks, the business owners (Chamber of Commerce), the Vintners & Growers, and City Council do deals behind closed doors personally profiting at the hands of the people when in fact the people want slower growth, and to enjoy their town. This is why many think the system is broken, are tired of cronyism, and don't trust Council to do what is right for Sonoma on issues like this. It was true in 1999 with Rosewood Hillside Measure A and the same today with Measure B.
GFMSRS September 06, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I do hope you are not referring to me when you talk of fake names. I chose to use the name on here because I used my real name on some sites, got hacked and my address was determined. Some of us have good cause, some of you don't. I have never met a group like this one before, very sad indeed. How old are all of you? Time to delete this profile.
Ralph Hutchinson September 06, 2013 at 04:12 PM
I would say Toronomian is a pseudonym yes you're lumped into that group. Again, sometimes the truth hurts. There are many reasons people use them and they are common on the Patch. There is no need for you to leave or delete your profile.
Chris Scott September 06, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Mr David; Concern is justified. But, we do have proof there is a God after all. The initiative has been designated, Measure B. Imagine the campaign ahead. ........................................................................................ Vote Yes on B. BAN Hotels in Sonoma. ........................................................................................ A marketing campaign gift from heaven. It's sheer poetry. No on B. No Hotel BAN. or B BANs Hotels. No on B. or, NO B. NO BAN. .......................................................................................... What happens if I say to you, do not think of a pink elephant. Now, Do not think Measure B is a BAN. ....................................................................................... I think you can see how important this is to Mr Barnett and Preserving Sonoma. Their task is now, first to explain Measure B, and second defend Measure B. As I wrote above, there is a God after all. Chris Scott :-)
sal nero September 06, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.----Mark Twain
Chris David September 06, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Once again Ralph, you show you have no handle on the facts. The hotel is not a French chateau design. The hotel is a Spanish Mission design. The developer has an open door policy to meet with anyone in Sonoma who has concerns with the proposed boutique hotel. He has made significant design changes based on concerns of members of our community. This new hotel will be barely visible from the square. This hotel is part of the slow growth of Sonoma. It will be the first new hotel in over a decade. Darius Anderson is looking to build a hotel on land he already owns. He needs no variances for this project. The project fits into Sonoma's General Plan... a plan Larry Barnett tentatively approved. This hotel ban is ridiculous. Vote No on Measure B. Bad for Sonoma.
David Eichar September 06, 2013 at 07:06 PM
The 2020 General Plan is not a static document. It gets updated from time to time either because of requirements of state law or because of changing conditions over time . After all, the General Plan is 7 years old. To quote the 2020 General Plan: "This 2020 General Plan is the fifth adopted by the City of Sonoma since its first general plan in 1964. Each of these, adopted in roughly ten-year intervals has had a different scope and focus, but one quality has remained consistent: these plans have represented the collective vision of the community and expressed its desire to preserve and improve upon the essential characteristics that define Sonoma." So, updating it to represent the collective vision of the voters who wish to maintain the small town character of Sonoma is consistent with the General Plan and the purpose of the General Plan.
sal nero September 06, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Some people don't think we can read. Some people call us liars. Some people call us "embalmers" for wanting to "bury Sonoma." Some people send out letters saying the trucks will only come around at night so as not to block traffic. Some people say "my door is always open" until they find out you can't be swayed by the glint of gold. Some people will say anything and everything as the ends justify their means. Some people are about get skunked again !
Chris Scott September 06, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Vote YES on B, BAN Hotels. Vote YES on B, BAN Hotels. Vote YES on B, BAN Hotels. Sing along....... Chris Scott :-))
bob edwards September 07, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Even though Measure B would not ban all hotels (those of 25 rooms or less would still be encouraged) I think the vast majority of voters in Sonoma will do exactly what Chris urges us all to do -- "Vote Yes on B."
Anna Gomez September 07, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Chris David Sipes, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC in Sonoma, Ca. A 30 year old from Ohio... ha ha ha!!!!! Been in Sonoma for 2 years?
Chris Scott September 09, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Exchange Background; Chris Scott September 06, 2013 at 05:13 PM Vote Yes on B. BAN Hotels in Sonoma. ........................................................................................ A marketing campaign gift from heaven. It's sheer poetry. No on B. No Hotel BAN. or B BANs Hotels. No on B. or, NO B. NO BAN. .......................................................................................... What happens if I say to you, do not think of a pink elephant. Now, Do not think Measure B is a BAN. (a reverse psychology messaging). To which Mr Edwards responded: .......................................................................... bob edwards September 07, 2013 at 10:41 AM Even though Measure B would not ban all hotels (those of 25 rooms or less would still be encouraged) I think the vast majority of voters in Sonoma will do exactly what Chris urges us all to do -- "Vote Yes on B." ...................... ........................................................................................ Mr Edwards; "...Measure B would not ban all hotels (those of 25 rooms or less would still be encouraged)" ................... That's pretty straight forward, clearly stated and simple to understand by every voter; Hotels with more than 25 rooms will be banned by MEasure B. And, 25 room or less hotels will also de fact be banned, per the City's Impact Report, they are not viable economically and financially nor are there investors willing. Combined these two factors makes the hotel initiative a de facto ban on all hotels of any size in Sonoma in the future. Given the disappearance or abandonment of the "achievable 80% occupancy" reference from Preserving Sonoma's or its campaign's comments since the City Impact Report release with the report's overwhelming evidence 80% was not achievable, plus Mr Edward's admission, the hotel initiative's entire foundation crumbles. ...................................................................................... Mr Edwards; You as an official Preserving Sonoma Committee (PSC) member who represents and is a spokesperson for PSC have put PSC on record publically, officially and documented (posted on the internet, The Patch website (link below)) have revealed that the Hotel Limitation Measure (HLM) Measure B does in fact BAN all hotels with more than 25 rooms. And by revealing this have revealed Preserving Sonoma's true intention behind the initiative, banning all hotels in Sonoma. Whatever reasons Preserving Sonoma's could possibly be for such a draconian and disastrous action against our small unique City of Sonoma probably we may never know. We hope Mr Barnett will confirm your statement and these facts if for no other reason than to try to end the acrimony begun by himself and Preserving Sonoma in the ill advised action of putting forward this initiative to ban all hotels in Sonoma. ..................................................................................... Thank you for finally being the honest one, belated as it may be, with the voters. It is greatly appreciated by the voters of Sonoma. Now the voters know directly from a Preserving Sonoma Committee member and spokesperson that Measure B is in fact intended to BAN all hotels of any size in Sonoma. We had faith that the truth of this matter would eventually come to light. Truth Will Out. Chris Scott ..................................................................................... Link. Where Do You Stand on Measure B, the Hotel Limitation Proposal on the Nov. 19 Ballot? ..... Posted by Jim Welte (Editor) , September 03, 2013 at 03:46 PM ...... http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/where-do-you-stand-on-measure-b-the-hotel-limitation-proposal-on-the-nov-19-ballot .............. Note: The above original post by MR Edwards is included with this reply due to The Patch allowing the deletion of any post by the author at any time forever.
Ralph Hutchinson September 09, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Wish they had a limit on the number of characters a comment could be.
sal nero September 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM
The above problem could be solved by limiting 1 character.
bob edwards September 10, 2013 at 02:43 PM
;-)
Chris Scott September 11, 2013 at 03:09 PM
“It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” ― Mark Twain Paraphrasing; It takes fewer words to fool people than it does to convince people they have been fooled. Chris Scott
Chris Scott September 11, 2013 at 04:54 PM
You guys do realize here on the Patch you have contributed over 65,000 words on the initiative topic alone as of a couple of months ago. (Well it may be contribution is too strong a word. I apologize if it is.) Chris Scott
sal nero September 11, 2013 at 05:34 PM
You should apologize...but not for that.
Chris Scott September 11, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Mr Edwards; Given the amount of time you and your conspirators :-) spend here, the number of your postings (per min, hour, day, etc.) and it having been nearly 48 hours without any comments from you or them indicates the meaning of your original comment on BANNING hotels in Sonoma is accurate, and you and they stand by them. Let us reiterate, voters appreciate when honesty prevails and they learn the true intent and motivation of any political action. It is all the more refreshing and assured that voters can rely upon your statement when it come from a senior official directly involved in the campaign or the candidate (as the case may be.) The most obvious and immediately analogy that comes to mind is when Romney made his famous 47% comments. Chris Scott
Chris Scott September 11, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Mr Edwards, Mr Barnett; We apologize for not specifically thanking Mr Barnett for validating Mr Edward's statement by his ensuring it remained as the single statement from Preserving Sonoma on the matter, that the true intent and motivation behind the hotel initiative is the BANNING of all hotels in Sonoma. Mr Barnett, Mr Edwards and to all members of Preserving Sonoma, I think I speak for all the voters of Sonoma in thanking you for your (although belated) honesty and integrity in acknowledging your intent and motivation behind the hotel initiative is to BAN all hotels in Sonoma. I'm sure that knowing this and most importantly that the messaege is coming from you, those that signed the intitiative to BAN hotels in Sonoma petitions now feel freed to vote their conscience and in the best interests of Sonoma and vote NO on Measure B. Again, Thank You. Chris Scott
sal nero September 11, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Link it or shut it.
Chris Scott September 11, 2013 at 06:49 PM
sal nero September 11, 2013 at 06:27 PM Link it or shut it. .................................................................................. Mr Nero, per your request; http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/where-do-you-stand-on-measure-b-the-hotel-limitation-proposal-on-the-nov-19-ballot
sal nero September 11, 2013 at 07:35 PM
are you serious? waste of time.
Jim Pacheco September 11, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Chris, I think maybe Mr. Edwards is ignoring your rant, since it was so full of lies and misquotes itself, and generally has a nasty tone. You said "25 room or less hotels will also de fact be banned, per the City's Impact Report" Have you actually read the study? It says "it is likely that new lodging development in Sonoma will continue to be comprised of independently operated small inns and hotels. Examples of these types of properties include: ... the Ledson Hotel in Sonoma. " (Do you need the link to it?) The Inn at Sonoma was 19 rooms when it was first built. So, the last 2 hotels built in Sonoma had less than 25 rooms. You know what? Even, if no hotels are built in the next few years, the occupancy rate will continue to increase from year to year and at some point exceed 80%. Then hotels with more than 25 rooms can be built. I don't mind people who have a difference of opinion on Measure B, but stop the misquotes and snide remarks, and just tell us why you want developers to build whatever it is they want in Sonoma.
bob edwards September 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Thanks, Mr. Pacheco. I've been tied up with clients & short on reply time, but as you indicate, Measure B speaks for itself (www.preservingsonoma.com) & its effect was, as you say, confirmed by the so-called "Impact Report." Voters are more than able to understand the Measure & its impact and if in doubt, I trust them to do the homework & draw their own conclusions. Those of us who support Measure B aren't afraid of what they will conclude. However, given the sophomoric campaign (in this venue and others) to misrepresent and distort the Measure & its effects, the thought of giving voters the facts and trusting them to make up their own minds obviously scares the hell out of the special interests who oppose it.
Ralph Hutchinson September 12, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Chris David is not the young man from the local bank according to my direct first hand research. Anna, please remove the earlier reference. My guess is its Chris David Linnell from Petaluma www.hireastar.net who made regular radio appearances in the past with Ken Brown and does various other acting and comedy as well as some wine tours. He and I traded texts last week and he acknowledged he did have involvement in blogging on Sonoma hotel issues before going dark.
Ralph Hutchinson September 12, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I meant to respond to Chris David's criticism toward me earlier in this thread. I hate to pull a Chris Scott cutting and pasting previous comments. First of all Chris says the hotel plans reflect a Spanish Mission style and I hadn't heard that the only photos I saw in the IT and the Facebook pages for Kenwood Investments show a Jack London style with porch and beams. I have no idea where Chris David gets Spanish Mission style funny thats what us bloggers had been asking for as more appropriate to Sonoma style? Chris David goes on to say Darius has an open door policy to visit with people yet my request went unresponded to for an appointment imagine that? Chris David talks about the hotel being barely viseable I don't follow his points as from what I saw it was on the street except for valet area and the upper floors were right over the sidewalk but frankly since Chateau Sonoma the original French style, we've only seen one photo of the front there have been NO revised plans submitted to the City nor published anywhere I know of because Kenwood Investments and Darius have ran tucktail for cover awaiting the outcome of the ballot initiative and the feedback he is soliciting from the community (we hear) so they purposely held back any details.
sal nero September 12, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Its ironic that those without a financial interest in Measure B's outcome are called liars by surrogates for those who stand to makes millions (potentially) by paving paradise and putting in a 59 room Plaza Hotel. I suspect the Developer, Darius Anderson's backyard/fireside chat dog and pony show continues with plans on which honest citizen to assail next.
Ralph Hutchinson September 12, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I can only imagine what promises of future business and a share of the action the local Chamber of Commerce and tourist affiliates have been promised by the developer. "You help me get this thing built, then we move to the SDC and another casino...anybody got a problem with casinos now?" "I don't want to hear any more about Cows Not Casinos you got it?"
Jim Pacheco September 14, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Chris Scott, since you have not responded to my saying that your post of 9/9 at 6:55pm was "was so full of lies and misquotes", and since more than 57 hours has passed since I wrote that, and since by your own criteria in your post of 9/11 5:36, "having been nearly 48 hours without any comments from you.." means that the my statement is accurate; therefore, you are acknowledging that you indeed lied and misquoted in your post.

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