Sonoma Mountain Preservation group weighs in on SDC

Posted on January 17, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

(The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors) has an opportunity to think big with SDC on January 25 by focusing on climate-resilient and democracy-supporting decisions. Rather than proceeding with a Specific Plan and EIR for urban housing infill and hotel, designed to pay for the State’s $100 million burden of neglect, we ask you to step up. These times call for imagination, not more of the same.

Specifically, we ask you to:

  1. Direct County agencies to negotiate a two-year extension of the 2019 SDC planning agreement with the State’s Department of General Services. It does not make sense to develop a Specific Plan and EIR based on faulty economics.
  2. Add very low- and low-income housing to the County’s legislative platform to support up to 75% of total units in this category.
  3. Direct Permit Sonoma to continue working with the Planning Advisory Team and the Sonoma Valley community to develop a Project Description that more closely reflects community input by:
  • Using scientifically-based parameters for measuring building footprint and location in relation to wildlife corridor and stream protection;
  • Revisiting new building v. demolition in relation to climate impact, specifically carbon output during demolition; 
  • Specifically looking at Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), emergency planning, and dark sky requirements in relation to proposed population expansion;
  • Explore the establishment of a community trust to oversee development, implementation of Specific Plan and EIR standards, and long-term use of SDC. 

  An excellent starting point is the January 6, 2022 letter from the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council; please read it carefully before your January 25 meeting.

The vision and guiding principles established for the SDC Specific Plan include several essential principles integral to the redevelopment’s long-term success; these are not reflected in Permit Sonoma’s Project Description Framework released January 14, 2022:

  • Balancing redevelopment with existing land uses by conforming to the rural character and values of the existing site. 
  • Protecting public trust resources by protecting 150-year old water rights. 
  • Integrating development with open space conservation, choosing a sustainable, climate-resilient development that enhances the permeability of the wildlife corridor that reaches across the County and connects Mendocino to Marin.

   The unique cultural, historical, and ecological identity of SDC, along with the opportunity to get redevelopment right for this cherished community resource, are why so many citizens are passionately urging you to make space for a sustainable, community-driven transformation that enhances the future of the Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma County. Sonoma Mountain Preservation, which has been speaking for the mountain for 25 years, joins the chorus. 

— Meg Beeler, for the Board of Sonoma Mountain Preservation
Kim Batchelder, Bob Bowler, Arthur Dawson, Avery Hellman, Nancy Kirwan, Larry Modell, Tracy Salcedo, Teri Shore, Helen Bates, Mickey Cooke, Marilyn Goode, David Hansen, and Lucy Kortum


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA