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Background and Description

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
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

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