Sonoma Valley Sun


SDC plan deserves legal challenge

Posted on January 23, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

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 (, 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

4 thoughts on “SDC plan deserves legal challenge

  1. The public should realize that SDC opinions are riven with spin that, depending on position for or against, or somewhere inbetween, information and “facts” will be partially presented so as to only back up the preferred view. This is the case with citations about the potential number of housing units at SDC. Who is funding this lawsuit and why do CEQA lawsuit groups always seek to hide the prime-mover people behind a newly created name, like Friends of the Broadway Corridor or SCALE? If this is “community” and transparent, let’s see who is paying and who the core movers are, and not hide them.

  2. I do hope that all of those working on SCALE and supporting this lawsuit do stand up and publish who they are. I support them and they should be proud of standing up to big development and environmental degradation. This will silence those that somehow feel that we do not need to care for our planet, those that lie and state that tiny percentages of so called “affordable” housing will some how magically provide housing for our low wage workers. SDC should have 100% real affordable housing, be state of the art “green” and protect our only viable wildlife corridor in the valley. A plan has been submitted to the state that will do this: Next 100 Years, let us hope the state can see logic and reality for our future, and not just big bucks backward thinking development.

  3. SCALE organizing partners are:
    The Glen Ellen Historical Society
    Sonoma Mountain Preservation
    The Valley of the Moon Association
    Eldridge For All

    This information is clearly stated on the SCALE website homepage:
    Each of these groups has its own website.

    I founded Eldridge For All and curate the website (, as clearly stated on every EFA newsletter I’ve ever sent out.

    I also signed the Jan. 23 letter to the editor, and I’m signing this post,
    Alice Horowitz

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