For Immediate Release

Permit Sonoma Releases Three Land-Use Alternatives for Sonoma Development Center

Santa Rosa, CA  –  November 2, 2021  –  Permit Sonoma, Sonoma County's planning and development permitting agency, has released three draft land-use alternatives to guide the redevelopment of the 900-acre Sonoma Developmental Center in Sonoma Valley. Each alternative plan would transform the shuttered campus, bringing significant benefits including affordable housing and diverse living-wage jobs to the community. Permit Sonoma will seek community feedback on the alternatives at three upcoming public meetings beginning with a virtual event on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. A full list of upcoming meetings, locations and times can be found on the Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Planning website at www.sdcspecificplan.com.

“SDC has enormous potential, a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I am so grateful to the state, Planning Advisory Team and all members of the community for all their time and attention to this process,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose district includes Sonoma Developmental Center site. “I look forward to a rigorous, constructive conversation about these visionary ideas for what will ultimately be transformative for our region.”

All alternatives create important community amenities. Plans call for between 990 to 1,290 units of housing, creating a walkable community with an emphasis on affordable housing and active transportation to lessen auto use. Environmental preservation incorporated in the project will protect 700 acres of open space between Jack London State Historic Park and Sonoma Valley Regional Park, add a wildlife corridor and preserve Sonoma Creek and its tributaries. Commercial, recreational and civic spaces will be built for use by residents, employees and the greater Sonoma Valley.

“We are excited for this project to move on to the next phase,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We are being presented with an opportunity to transform this historical campus into one of three options that would benefit our community as a whole.”

Developed after extensive feedback from the community and technical experts, each alternative approach would achieve the goals for the campus differently:

  • Alternative A - Conserve and Enhance: Preserves the most historic buildings while creating low-density housing and the second most jobs of any proposal; 
  • Alternative B - Core and Community: Creates the most housing units and a walkable mixed-use core; 
  • Alternative C- Renew: Creates a regional innovation hub bringing the most jobs of any proposal, neighborhood agriculture, open space preservation and housing units to support these uses.

The Sonoma Developmental Center provided services to people with developmental disabilities for more than 120 years and at one time was the County’s largest employer. The State of California closed the facility in 2018 and relocated clients to smaller, community-based care facilities. The 945-acre property includes a large historic campus, agricultural lands to the east, and vast ecological and open space resources.

The State of California owns the site and has forged a unique partnership with Sonoma County to chart the future of the property. SDC represents the first time the California State Legislature has delegated land use planning responsibility to a local agency for the redevelopment of a State psychiatric facility. Permit Sonoma has worked with stakeholders to develop alternatives that meet state goals and community needs. State law requires the redevelopment to prioritize housing, especially affordable housing and housing for people with developmental disabilities. The legislation also mandates open space dedication, employment and community engagement.

Contact Information:

Bradley Dunn, Policy Manager

Bradley.Dunn@sonoma-county.org

575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

707-321-0502

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