Board Walk ~ Susan Gorin

Susan Gorin Susan Gorin represents the First District as a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, an area that includes the entire Sonoma Valley.


First District year in review 

Posted on December 30, 2022 by Susan Gorin

It’s possible that I say this every year, but it’s never untrue – 2022 flew by! More clichés from your county Supervisor: it was busy, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, humbling, rewarding; I could go on and on. While our period of extreme drought continues, I am thankful that we did not experience a major fire this fall as we solemnly commemorated the five-year anniversary of the 2017 Tubbs and Nuns Fires.

I am so grateful to have the support of residents of the First District to complete another year as your Supervisor, and want to spend some time here in this column reflecting on the major themes of the last year.

Springs Community Plaza

This is another topic that has been the source of much conversation. The Springs community has long desired a communal space, accessible to people of all ages, to gather, stroll through, and to cultivate a sense of belonging. Getting there is not without its challenges.

In November, I co-hosted two community meetings with KS Mattson Partners, meant as a workshop and discussion session on the potential for a Springs Community Plaza located adjacent to the Post Office building at 22 Boyes Blvd. I want to emphasize that there has been no discussion yet about a project or future collaboration with Ken Mattson. 

We are at the beginning of community engagement, and we don’t yet know if there is enough support from the community to move forward. What I am interested in hearing from the community, and what I did hear from many of the hundreds of folks at those two meetings, is their vision: what would like to see in a potential community plaza? What features and amenities are most important to you?

The site we discussed at the November meetings is undoubtedly complex. Nevertheless, I hope we will be able to come to a shared goal and vision.

Sonoma Developmental Center

I would not be able to reflect on 2022 without mentioning the Sonoma Developmental Center. Around this time last year, Permit Sonoma had released three draft alternatives of the Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan. Now a year later, and in reality after many, many years of planning and community involvement, Permit Sonoma brought a Specific Plan and Final Environmental Impact Report before the Board of Supervisors on December 16.

This follows several meetings at the Planning Commission, who made a number of recommendations and changes to suggest to the Board. These include: expanding the Sonoma Creek riparian setback from 50 ft to 100 ft, increasing the number of county-driven affordable housing units, limiting 90% of units to 1,800 square feet or less, and several other recommended changes. 

Thank you to the Planning Commission for all their work diving into these documents, and all the time dedicated to discussing this very important plan.

Additionally, I want to acknowledge the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee (SVCAC), North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council (NSV MAC), and the Springs Municipal Advisory Council (Springs MAC), who have participated in joint meetings, written letters and, in general, served as a space for the community to voice their thoughts throughout the specific planning process

 Charla Comunitaria

Over the course of 2022, the First District’s all-Spanish language monthly conversation series, Charla Comunitaria, has continued to blossom into a vital source of information for our Spanish-speaking community. Launched initially in 2020 to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic response via an all-Spanish program available on multiple platforms, Charla started taking on broader topic areas as suggested by the community, including mental health, farmworker rights, and emergency response.

In the fall, Charla took a short break to reflect and reorganize for a relaunch in 2023, and will be back on Thursday, January 12 at 6pm. A huge shoutout and thank you to District 1 Field Representative Karina Garcia, for her tireless work and advocacy in creating and hosting Charla Comunitaria.

Looking Ahead to 2023

In addition to the topics I explored above, 2022 was full of the many other facets of life as a county Supervisor: calls about potholes, permits, and parks; meetings with community groups and constituents; county and regional board meetings tackling weighty topics.

I thank my incredible D1 Team members for their work in staffing the SVCAC, Springs MAC, North Sonoma Valley MAC and answering many of your questions and comments throughout the year. I absolutely cannot work effectively as your 1st District Supervisor without their amazing efforts. And, soon our team will add part-time Administrative Aid Zaira Enriquez, who begins working with us this week. Welcome Zaira! 

We look forward to working with all of you on important issues in the County and District 1 as we enter the new year. My responsibilities will change slightly, with more emphasis on senior issues, as well as continuing focus on the issues above.

The D1 Team wishes all of you and a safe and joyful holiday season. See you in 2023!


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA