The ballot measure to renew the city of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary for 20 years was a resounding winner in the November 3 election with 80% of the vote. Such overwhelming support, proponents say, clearly shows that the city of Sonoma continues to strongly endorse the protection of open space, preventing sprawl, and focusing on climate-smart, city-centered growth.
“Honestly, the 80 percent result exceeded our expectations,” said Teri Shore, advocacy director for Greenbelt Alliance. “It is among the highest approval rate of any measure in Sonoma County and up there with the countywide community separators vote in 2016 that also reached 80 percent approval.”
The original Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) passed with 64 percent in 1999 and went into effect in 2000 for a period of 20. All nine cities in Sonoma County have passed voter-protected Urban Growth Boundaries, most of which have been renewed.
The Urban Growth Boundary is a line beyond which its city border cannot extend and development cannot occur without majority voter approval by its citizens, except in particular and well-defined cases, including for 100 percent affordable housing.
Shore was a member of the Yes on W committee, which raised about $20,000, primarily for signage, advertising, and direct mail.
There was no organized opposition to Measure W, though a few critics emerged on social media to complain that the measure would make the construction of new affordable housing nearly impossible. Their often inflammatory posts suggested that the Yes campaign was elitist, and effectively racist.
But Shore maintains that Measure W contains the strongest land use mandate for affordable housing in city history. It requires that 100 percent of any land added to the UGB must be used for affordable housing, and that 51 percent of that land must be used to provide housing for low and very low-income residents.
The Yes on W committee also announced that it has donated its remaining excess campaign funds to the City of Sonoma’s Housing Trust Fund, and is encouraging other members of the community to also make donations to support the creation of affordable housing. Donations to the trust fund are tax deductible.