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Final results show Sonoma hotel measure narrowly defeated

  • Sonoma resident Chris Blunk walks with his dog and young son past his neighbor's signs supporting and opposing the Sonoma hotel limitation Measure B along Brockman Lane on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (PD FILE, 2013)

A controversial ballot measure that would have limited hotel growth in Sonoma has narrowly failed, according to final election results released Thursday.

Measure B, which would have greatly restricted the construction of new hotels with more than 25 rooms, or expansion of existing ones beyond that threshold, got 2,032 “no” votes, accounting for 51.6 percent of ballots cast. About 48.4 percent of voters, or 1,908 people, voted for the measure.

The initiative, which went before voters in a special election held Tuesday, was likely one of the most expensive in the city's history, with campaign spending exceeding $150,000.

Those on both sides said the outcome of the measure would impact the small city's future. Proponents argued the initiative would have preserved Sonoma's small-town feel, while opponents said it would suppress growth.

The debate over Sonoma's hotel growth was sparked by developer Darius Anderson's proposal to build a 59-room luxury hotel on West Napa Street, a half-block from the town's plaza. Anderson is a principal in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat.

Anderson plans to resubmit hotel plans to the city after meeting with project opponents to discuss their concerns, he said Tuesday.

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