SDC plan is shallow and unimaginative

Posted on November 13, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The following are my comments about the draft SDC plan. Overall, there seems to be little evidence that the local community’s concerns have been incorporated into the three alternatives.

There have been statements made by some of the Board that the plan takes into consideration the local community’s input, but I do not seem much evidence of this. Permit Sonoma needs to carefully review the State’s requirements and implement a plan that fits these.

As I understand it, the State’s priorities are preserving open space, providing “affordable housing” and generating high paying jobs. How does a hotel/resort fit this (generally low-paying jobs)? How does a small percentage of the housing being “affordable” fit this? This is an opportunity to create a significant amount of housing that would permit people who work here such as teachers to also live in the communities they work. 

There is a great opportunity to create something that is truly innovative and improves the lives of the community. Instead, all three alternative have a hotel/resort; there is a low percentage of “affordable” housing; and all three alternatives essentially more than double the population if the Glen Ellen area without addressing the impacts upon infrastructure (traffic with a LOS of D or F!, etc.)

Also, in an era when we are supposed to be concerned about impacts upon climate change, how do the plans address this? All three alternatives seem to be catering to the development and hospitality interests, not the community. Maybe Permit Sonoma has been so much entwined with these interests it cannot see how blatantly the plans do not support the community’s desires.  

The study’s questionnaire is biased toward not entertaining a 4th or 5th alternative. It is clear that the local community’s needs have not been taken into consideration. What appears to be driving this study is developers’ and the hospitality industry’s needs. It has a very clear bias that has many community members, including myself, wondering how it got this way.

Additionally, we need a much longer comment period to have meaningful input. This seems to being rammed down. Ask the state for an extension. There is way too much at stake.

All of the three alternatives are proposing huge population increases without any regard to their impacts on the environment, infrastructure, traffic, the wildlife corridor.

Speaking of the wildlife corridor, this needs to be greatly expanded and larger buffers between it and any development.

I have heard the SRJC is not open to having a satellite campus at the SDC, but I think some political pressure needs to be put upon the SRJC to change their minds. The benefits to the local community would be great and this could provide leverage for people to move from low-paying jobs to skilled ones that pay much better. This could also provide some income to the county. 

Hotel/Resorts: do we really need more of these!! How did these end up in all 3 alternatives?! Sounds like the hospitality industry had a lot of pull on this. This stinks! All these do is benefit the wealthy hotel owners and tourists, not the local community. If anything, they have adverse impacts on the local community other than some businesses. 

Quality of life and environmental protection should be driving forces for this project, not adding money to the wealthy. Most of the hospitality jobs are low paying, besides. 

It is my understanding that many of the local community stake-holders input has been totally ignored. This really has the appearance of a rammed job. 

What are the state’s requirements pertaining to how much the local community has a say in this project? There is very little evidence that this has happened. The consultant has produced a glossy document with very little substance and a clear bias which is not in the local community’s interest. This is a very unimaginative product. It is my understanding the about $3,000,000 of taxpayers’ money is being paid to the consultant to produce a biased, glossy and shallow document. What a shame! 

Again, too much is at stake to let this go as is. Please take the time to allow real community input.

— Joe Lieber, Sonoma




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