Coalition persists against new gas station proposals in Sonoma County

Woody Hastings and Jenny Blaker, Sonoma Group

There are now at least three active new gas station proposals in Sonoma County. The Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations is asking Sierra Club Sonoma Group members to help flag newly emerging proposals as the mission is to oppose any new gas stations in the face of the climate crisis. Here is the rundown:

PETALUMA: Corner of Maria Drive & South McDowell Boulevard
The Petaluma Safeway gas station proposal is still in the courts. On Oct. 21 there was a final ruling in Sonoma County Superior Court that:
• Safeway must wait on all demolition and construction until the matter is fully settled by the court.
• Save Petaluma has a case and can move forward to hopefully get an Environmental Impact Report.

This is a favorable ruling and good news. The full ruling is available here.

After this ruling, Safeway filed a writ of petition, claiming the judge’s decision was wrong. Long story short, the judge gave Save Petaluma another month and set a date for Jan. 23 to go over the administrative items and set to a date for another hearing. Safeway continues to try and get the case thrown out.

For the latest check:

UNINCORPORATED SONOMA COUNTY: 5300 Sebastopol Road (Highway 12 & Llano Road)
This proposal for a 12-pump gas station, car wash, mini mart, RV storage yard, with three large, above-ground fuel storage tanks is still slated to be on the agenda at a future Board of Zoning Adjustments meeting. Regularly scheduled meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 1 p.m. every month. Special meetings may also be calendared, but we have been assured of receiving 30 days’ prior notice regardless of the date, as there will be a CEQA hearing (which requires 30 days’ notice) concurrent with the BZA meeting.

The main thing needed right now are letters to the Press Democrat and other local papers. For the PD, email letters of no more than 200 words to Include your full name and home city for publication.

For other local papers—Bohemian, Gazette, Sonoma West Times & News, etc.—please visit their websites for instructions. Important note: we are purposely not providing a template letter. We have reason to believe that planning commissioners and others are discounting letters that appear to be from the same template. All you need to do is write a brief letter in your own words that says you are opposed to the gas station.

SANTA ROSA: Elm Tree Station874 N. Wright Rd.
The Coalition only recently learned of this proposal, thanks to Terri Moon. By the time this edition of the Needles hits the street, a public hearing on the proposal will have taken place on Dec. 12. The notice for that meeting describes the project as a “minor subdivision to create a park site and retail parcel for gasoline, electric charging station, and a neighborhood market.” The application was filed by Dhillon Mangal (File # – CC18-004).

Once again, we have a proposal for a new gas station in the Laguna, adjacent to the Joe Rodota Trail, in this case with a whopping 14 operational gas stations within five miles. This is due to the fact that the site is near the downtown core of Santa Rosa. Also of note in this case, the facility would be constructed on undisturbed land, increasing the urban footprint of the city for a purpose that runs counter to Santa Rosa’s climate action commitments.

The contact person at the city of Santa Rosa is Adam Ross, city planner, 707-543-4705 or Additional information can also be obtained at the Planning & Economic Development Department at Santa Rosa City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave., Room 3 during the following times:
• Mon, Tues, Thur: 8-4:30pm
• Weds: 10:30-4:30pm• Fri: 8-12pm
The staff report and attachments related to this project are available as of Dec. 12 at

Please send comments and questions to woodyhastings [at] The coalition will next meet on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Sebastopol Grange from 6 to 8 p.m.