Cotati (pronounced /koʊˈtɑːtiː/) is an incorporated city in Sonoma County, California, U.S.A., located about 45 mi (70 km) north of San Francisco in the 101 corridor between Rohnert Park and Petaluma.
Cotati's estimated 2006 population was 7,170, making it the smallest incorporated community in Sonoma County.
Like all of Sonoma County, Cotati is included in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Redwood Empire. Located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, Cotati can also be considered part of the Wine Country. E & J Gallo Winery operates a 400-acre (160 ha) vineyard called Two Rock Vineyard in the hills west of town.
Cotati's hexagonal downtown plaza, one of only two hexagonal town layouts in the United States, is California Historical Landmark number 879. The other U.S. city with a hexagonal layout is Detroit, Michigan.
Cotati is located at(38.328247, -122.706713). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.89 sq mi (4.9 km2), 0.53% of which is water.
The city is about 17 mi (27 km) from the Pacific Ocean. It lies entirely in the drainage basin of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The Petaluma River watershed begins just south of town. To the west is the Stemple Creek watershed. The sources of all three watercourses lie in the hilly area between Stony Point Road and U.S. 101, just west of town.
A gap in the coastal ridges near Petaluma often allows coastal fog to reach Cotati in the summer, giving it a marine climate that is noticeably cooler and less sunny than the "coastal" climates of nearby Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Cotati averages fewer than 800 hours per growing season in the 70-90 °F (21-32 °C) range.
The soils of the Cotati area are characterized by Quaternary (recent) alluvial materials, explicitly those areas bordering Laguna de Santa Rosa and its tributary Washoe Creek. This material consists largely of stream and valley alluvium as well as artificial fill in certain areas.
Active earthquake faults near Cotati include the Rodgers Creek Fault (5 mi/8 km east) and the Tolay Fault (2 mi/3 km west).
To the west of Cotati are wetland habitat for Sebastopol meadowfoam, Pitkin Marsh lily, Showy Indian clover and several other endangered species.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,471 people, 2,532 households, and 1,607 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,444/sq mi (1,329/km²). There were 2,585 housing units at an average density of 1,376/sq mi (531/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.56% White, 2.33% African American, 0.90% Native American, 3.60% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 4.40% from other races, and 4.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.52% of the population.
There were 2,532 households out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.
The population was distributed with 25.7% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 35.6% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males. The median income for a household was $52,808, and the median income for a family was $62,419. Males had a median income of $44,771 versus $35,779 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,206. About 5.3% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those over age 64.
In the 2000 Census, 89% of the residents reported that English was their primary spoken language. 11% reported languages other than English, including Spanish (8%), Italian (1%), French (1%), Russian (1%), and Portuguese (less than 1%).
The Coast Miwok civilization thrived in the Cotati area since at least 2000 BC, with principal villages built near major streams. Documented villages in the area included Lumen-takala (northeast of present-day Cotati), Payinecha (west of present-day Cotati), and Kotati.
In 1827, an Irishman named John Thomas Reed ventured into Miwok territory and built a cabin near Crane Creek. After the natives burned it, he retreated south to Mill Valley.
In July 1844, the Mexican government granted Rancho Cotate (encompassing present-day towns of Cotati, Penngrove and Rohnert Park, and home to Coast Miwok people) to Captain Juan Castenada, a Mexican military commander from Texas, in payment for his service as a soldier under General Vallejo. The grant took its name from the Coast Miwok village of Kotati. However, a legend arose that Rancho Cotate was named after a Pomo chief named Cotati, and in 1973 the state perpetuated this legend on the historical marker it placed in the plaza.
Rancho Cotate consisted of 17,238.6 acres (6,976.2 ha). Captain Castenada moved to San Francisco and never developed Rancho Cotate. Because he failed to fulfill the legal requirements of the grant, he lost control of the rancho, which passed to Thomas Larkin and then to Joseph Ruckle. In 1849, Ruckle sold the land to Dr. Thomas Stokes Page, a former resident of Valparaíso, Chile, for $1600.