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Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan

The Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) was one of the oldest state-run developmental centers in California and has served individuals with developmental disabilities since 1891. In May 2015, the State of California announced its plan to close all Developmental Centers; the SDC closed in late 2018.

The State and Sonoma County have been working towards an alternative approach to the surplus process for this unique facility given its significance and the degree of community interest. A Specific Plan is a document that outlines a how defined areas will evolve over time. Sonoma County, led by Permit Sonoma, is preparing a Specific Plan to guide development at the SDC site after its closure (read more below). 

Find Out: What is a Specific Plan?

Apply for SDC's Planning Advisory Team!

Permit Sonoma is forming a Planning Advisory Team (PAT) of community members to help guide the planning process. The PAT will:

  • Advise County Staff and Consultants
  • Review Specific Plan Materials
  • Serve as Ambassadors to the Public

PAT Mission Statement (PDF 161 kB)

Declaración de la misión PAT (PDF 165 kB)

PAT Application

Aplicación PAT

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Sonoma Developmental Center

Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) is the oldest facility in California established specifically for serving the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. The facility opened its doors to 148 residents on November 24, 1891, culminating a ten-year effort led by two prominent Northern California women who had children with developmental disabilities. In 2015 the State of California decided to close the site due to a national shift in how and where people with developmental disabilities are cared for. The SDC was permanently closed in 2018 which created a unique generational opportunity to shape a new vision for this almost 1,000-acre site.

On April 5, 2019 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of a land use planning process and considerations for disposition of the Sonoma Developmental Center. State representatives participated in the meeting in support of a $3.5 million state budget request to fund the land use process. The planning process will occur over three years.

The priorities for the Specific Plan and future use of the property are to:

  • Create a vision for future land use with extensive community involvement
  • Realize the property’s potential for positive countywide economic and environmental benefits
  • Preserve open space and protect natural resources
  • Respect and honor the history of the property including preserving historic and cultural resources
  • Provide affordable housing opportunities
  • Assess and adequately address infrastructure and service needs on the property in line with the vision and future land uses identified for the site
  • Demonstrate methods to build a sustainable community that provides a housing/jobs balance, enhances groundwater supplies, provides renewable energy, and substantially reduces carbon.

The County is currently managing Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement activities for the planning process. It is estimated that the RFP process will be completed in early September at which time the planning process can start.

Please refer to the  Sonoma Developmental Center Existing Conditions Assessment for more information on the current technical evaluation of the site.

Contact Information

Contact Planning by Phone
Monday – Friday
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Address
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

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