Regarding the lawsuit challenging the Sonoma Developmental Center plan: the Board of Supervisors actually reduced the amount of affordable housing by nearly 50% of the amount recommended by the Planning Commission — to 124 on 750 potential units, despite their talk about affordable housing needs. Many mistakenly believe that there is a lot of affordable housing planned, but in reality, the overwhelming majority of the housing currently planned will be market rate.
The lawsuit co-plaintiffs support more affordable and workforce housing with a smaller amount of market rate housing, but at a scale appropriate to the surrounding community. The County’s plan to increase the population of Glen Ellen by 300% is out of scale and would have severe environmental consequences.
A newly formed community coalition, SCALE (scaledownsdc.org), one of the lawsuit’s co-plaintiffs, advocates for Housing First!; prioritizing residential housing over commercial development by maximizing the amount of affordable housing on the site, with a focus on housing for people with low incomes, essential workers, and individuals with developmental disabilities.
Currently, there is no requirement in the Specific Plan to build housing first. A developer could come in and build a hotel or other commercial buildings (400,000 square feet) and not even construct housing. Yet, a market study demonstrated that there is little demand for commercial development on the site other than a hotel.
Community groups had no choice but to sue the County to prevent a short sighted plan from becoming an unsustainable reality.
— Alice Horowitz, Glen Ellen, Eldridge For All