Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Families, including Pete Parkinson’s, rebuilding in Sonoma County

Sonoma Index-Tribune, February 23, 2019

Christiane Kallen • “Like most of the rest of Sonoma County, the Bennett Ridge neighborhood is beginning to recover. The October 2017 wildfires incinerated 92 homes on Bennett Ridge, destroying more than two-thirds of the neighborhood of 129 homes.

“The Parkinson family— Pete, his wife, Celia, and 10-year-old son Henry — fled their ridgetop home overlooking Trione-Annadel State Park in the early hours of Oct. 9, thinking at first they would go to Celia’s mother at Journey’s End Mobile Home Park for safety. But flames had destroyed much of the Santa Rosa mobile home park.

“ ‘From my perspective, that is emblematic of how overwhelming the whole situation was, because even the firefighting agencies did not in those early hours have a very good handle on the scope of the fires.’

“Parkinson knew to jump right away into permit applications, researching architects and contractors for his rebuilding project. The quick start paid off: The framing is up, the roof is on, the windows installed. Getting incentives from Sonoma Clean Power to build 20 percent over code, energy-saving insulation will reduce heating and cooling costs long-term.

“The new house will include a great view of Hood Mountain to the east. On a clear day the 2,733-foot peak looks almost close enough to touch. That view alone was incentive to stay on Bennett Ridge.” Read more here.