In its official Specific Plan, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors are advocating to build 1,000 houses, plus a hotel, plus an indeterminate number of businesses at the former Sonoma Developmental Center. This means anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people living there. All these people will be using cars. All these people will be needing goods and services.
How many of these commercial businesses will also be on the SDC land or traveled to by homeowners daily. I’d like to know how all these fine folks and their adorable animals will safely evacuate their homes at SDC? In the 2017 wildfire in the City of Sonoma and its environs it took an hour-and-a-half to two hours to go a few miles on Hwy. 12 and Arnold Drive (the only roads going south in and out of Sonoma Valley). That’s not anecdotal, that’s a plain fact. In this same Specific Plan, it boldly states that these additional 3,000 folks and their cars will add one two minutes travel time in that evacuation from a raging wildfire.
The county’s fire evacuation plan. and its projected traffic in and out of the new town is a joke, and not a funny one. Not when so many lives are in the balance. The county states in its Specific Plan that these issues regarding fire evacuation, and the additional daily traffic of these newly added 3,000 people in the Sonoma Valley require no mitigation because … the county’s planners say so.
Permit Sonoma, the county planning agency, cites that its numbers and conclusions are all based on statistics they’ve compiled, regardless of the reality we have all experienced. So how does one logically argue with this? This begs the question, why should we, the public, accept at face value anything stated in this Specific Plan, including their data regarding environmental impacts on the wildlife corridor, the traffic studies, the re-use of many buildings and the preservation of 750 acres of open space from future development? In addition, how are our schools going to absorb another thousand or so students? If you’re expecting logical, reasonable answers to these questions, good luck with that.
–Will Shonbrun, Boyes Springs