On December 16, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will vote, for the last time, on the disposition of the Sonoma Developmental Center. It’s been a long, frustrating haul – a three-year planning process demanded of the County by the property owner, the State of California.
Along the way: countless public meetings, false transparency, insincere efforts to gather public input, PR spin, ignored and rebuffed suggestions… and in the end, the inevitable: a way clear to build up to 1,000 units of housing, commercial elements, and a luxury resort.
Pre-approvals in hand, the CA Department of General Services (DGS) will next year issue a request for proposals by developers, a process not open to the public.
Is it too late to make a difference? A group of locals, under the auspices of the Glen Ellen Historical Society, thinks not.
The SDC Next 100 proposal reflects many of the concerns of the people of the Valley. The six authors, headed by Bean Anderson and Norman Gilroy, have articulated, on a scale that seems appropriate, a vision for this public property that would keep all the land in public ownership in perpetuity.
New sewer and water mains will not be necessary for the scale of this plan, so the anticipated cost of $115 million in infrastructure is reduced to $14 million.
There are precedents for all that is being proposed, including a community trust working in tandem with a governing District such as LAFCO. The innovative construction solutions that avoid demolition of many buildings have been proven in Europe and are being implemented on the East Coast. Gilroy has a long history of working successfully for community causes.
Visit SDCnext100.org to read the proposal and a summary.
Letters have made a difference on other local issues, most recently in stopping the proposed Amazon warehouse in Schellville. Learn where and how to write effective support letters to many local government representatives and the decision makers staff in the DGS.
–The Sun Editorial Board