City of Sonora officials have apparently resolved a dispute with Doug and Tracie Kennedy’s Trado Restaurant Corp. over the proposed locations for bus stops on each side of Stockton Road near Green Street.

At a public meeting on Tuesday, the Sonora City Council is scheduled to review revised designs for the nearly $2 million project. Doug Kennedy said he met privately with city officials on Wednesday and was pleased with the changes made since the original layout was unveiled in August.

“They made a full effort to compromise with the concerns we had,” Kennedy said. “I view it as being more of a positive impact for our building than a negative impact as we previously perceived.”

Kennedy and his team were mainly concerned about the previously proposed location for the bus stop on the south side of Stockton Road.

The original designs in August made it appear as though the stop would have essentially eliminated parking spaces in the lot to the Trado Restaurant Corp. building near the southwest corner of Stockton Road and Green Street.

However, the revised plans produced by the national engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates would place the stop to the west of Kennedy’s building.

There would also be a sidewalk and landscaping constructed along the south side of Stockton Road from the bus stop to Green Street, while preserving the driveways into Kennedy’s building.
“The bus stop in our parking lot was something we wouldn’t support,” Kennedy said. “The changes they made address that issue and added some value to our building with how they are going to put in the sidewalk and landscaping.”

The bus stop on the north side of Stockton Road would be constructed along the sidewalk in front of the Rodeway Inn up to the northwest corner of Stockton Road and Green Street.

Kennedy had threatened to sue the city over the project in August after the council approved the originally proposed locations of the bus stops on Stockton Road, as opposed to the other option of along South Washington Street between Stockton Road and Church Street.

However, the lawsuit was never filed.

“The lawsuit was more to get them to the table with us and come to a compromise, and we didn’t need to go down that path,” Kennedy said on Friday.

The council’s approval of the project was also cited by Kennedy as one of the deciding factors in his decision to sell the Sonora Armory entertainment complex and keep it closed until he finds a buyer, despite having completed construction.

Another reason Kennedy said he decided to sell the complex was because he has since moved to Florida, where he works as chief executive officer of video game developer Studio Wildcard.

Kennedy flew from Florida to Sonora for the meeting with city officials on Wednesday and will stay until Sunday for his son’s birthday and to meet with three potential buyers of the Armory. He said he’s had ongoing dialogue with several other prospects since putting the complex on the market in October.

The sprawling, custom-built, 14,400-square-foot facility includes a bar, restaurant, live-entertainment venue, gift shop and outdoor beer garden. Many residents and downtown merchants have expressed hope for it attracting more commerce to the area.

“I want to find the right buyer who can come in and run this the right way,” Kennedy said. “It’s not just about who comes in with the biggest check.”

Rachelle Kellogg, community development director for the city, said the purpose of bringing the revised plans to the council on Tuesday is get any other direction members might have on further changes or modifications before they are submitted to Caltrans.

Kellogg said estimated the final or near final plans and specifications should be close to completion by April, which will also be brought to the council at a public meeting for approval. She expected to get approval from Caltrans to proceed with the construction phase sometime over the next year.

Other changes from the original plans for the project include proposed crosswalks from the stop to the south side of Stockton Road and across the north and south sides of Green Street.

There were also adjustments made to bulb-outs on the northwest and southwest corners of Stockton Road and South Washington Street.

The council has also approved the placement of a sign welcoming visitors to historic downtown Sonora on the east side of South Washington Street facing Stockton Road.

Kellogg said that meeting with stakeholders and adjoining property owners to address their concerns is a typical part of the city’s process as it works through projects.

“We listen to comments and concerns and incorporate them into the project to hopefully make the project work as best as we can for everybody,” she said. “We do a lot of work behind the scenes with consultants to get the plans ready to go back to the council.”

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.




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