Almost without exception, the plan for the Sonoma Developmental Center is opposed by individuals and organizations. This should be a sign that something is wrong. The County keeps pointing to the State as the one who is controlling the direction of the planning. Our State legislators chose not to do anything to improve the situation. This will have a massive impact upon our valley and it is wasting a great opportunity to make things better if it were not solely driven by what a developer would want.
Let’s think out of the box, please. With the understanding that we should not be confined to the boundaries of the present plan here are some of my comments:
Look at this as a wonderful opportunity to do something great rather than sticking to the general formula of developing a plan that would be appealing to a developer. Perhaps set up a non-profit that would handle the project similar to what was done at the San Francisco Presidio. If we had spent the last three years developing such an entity, we would not be in the present situation.
All new housing should be “affordable” as there is such a huge need for this not only in the Valley but in the entire state. The number of units should be dictated by what the area can broadly comfortably absorb (water capacity, sewer capacity, road capacity, fire safety, and so on).
This should be seen as an opportunity to solve other problems such as training people for good-paying jobs. Perhaps the SRJC or some other educational organization could set up a satellite campus for this purpose?
Perhaps there could be some high-tech businesses set up to bring in good paying jobs?
Some of the state’s huge budget surplus should be used to make the SDC responsive to the community’s needs and the needs of average people who cannot afford to live here. This can also be a means of addressing homelessness as it is caused by the lack of affordable housing in this area. Let’s take a bigger picture approach and, again, the SDC is a gift in this regard.
— Joe Lieber, Sonoma