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Indybay Feature
Real Estate Development Takeover of Sonoma County
by Tai Lam
Monday Apr 19th, 2021 9:25 PM
The North bay area of Sonoma County has become the victims of recent wildfires dating back to 2017. Since the fires, many Sonoma County residents have suffered by losing their homes, belongs and loved ones. While residences are unable to find affordable housing the real estate development industry has benefited, by purchasing the property of people who are unable to rebuild their homes. This Real estate companies convert the property they purchase into luxury homes and communities that people are unable to buy.
Real estate developers in Sonoma county benefit from the wildfires while residents are suffering and being forced to leave due to a lack of affordable housing. Over the past couple of years, Sonoma County has been a victim of wildfires in California, such as the LNU lighting fire, Walbridge fire, and Tubbs fires. According to the article Glass Fire, 50% contained after destroying 600 homes in Napa-Sonoma area, written by Michael McGough of The Sacramento, the fires have swept through Sonoma county and destroyed nearly 600 homes and communities in the Sonoma, Napa, and Lake County areas. While at the same time taking the lives of 34 people who were, unfortunately, unable to escape the fires.

The Press Democrat article, More Wildfires Pushing many Residents to Say Goodbye to Sonoma County, written by Austin Murphy, talked about how the wildfires have forced many residents to leave Sonoma County due to the lack of affordable housing and disaster/problems the wildfires have brought to residents. Murphy also talks about how people a Sonoma County couple decided to sell their home because the wildfires ruined their lives and took everything they had. Many property owners and landlords have sold their properties to real estate developers who have converted these properties, homes, rental properties, and complexes into expensive luxury homes.

Developers are forcing current residents of these rental properties and complexes to relocate to different areas because they are developing the tenants’ property into a more high-end luxury community; current tenants of these complexes will unlikely be able to afford the newly developed homes. According to the article, More than 220 apartments Slated for a site of Burned Fountain Grove Inn in Santa Rosa by Will Schmitt of The Northbay Business Journal, 220 Apartment Complex named the Fountain Grove Inn, and the Fountain Grove Round Barn was an area that real estate and land developers have recently convinced the owner to sell is being formed into a 750 house gated community. Schmitt also talks about how businesses around Sonoma county struggle after the fire season to fill vacant jobs because people are leaving the area. The author states that one of the reasons this is happening is because of the lack of affordable housing.

Real estate developers have benefited the most from all of the destruction and chaos these recent California wildfires have brought to Sonoma County. While these developers are doing whatever they can to make a quick buck, Sonoma County residents have been forced out of a county that they have called home. These developers are turning Sonoma County into a play zone for the rich and wealthy many from outside of the county. Actual Sonoma County residents, who have lived here for most of their lives, are being forced out of the county because of the lack of affordable housing.



Work Cited
McGough, Michael. “Glass Fire 50% contained after destroying 600 homes in Napa-Sonoma
area”. The Sacramento Bee. October 06, 2020.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article246253720.html

Murphy, Austin. “More Wildfires Pushing many Residents to Say Goodbye to Sonoma County”.
The Press Democrat. September 12, 2020.
https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/more-wildfires-pushing-many-residents-to-
ay-goodbye-to-sonoma-county/

Schmitt, Will. “More than 220 apartments Slated for a site of Burned Fountain Grove Inn in
Santa Rosa”.The North Bay Business Journal. June 12, 2020. https://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/article/article/more-than-220-apartments-slated-for-site-of-burned-fountaingrove-inn-in-san/
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