Sonoma Valley Sun


Why we filed the SDC lawsuit

Posted on January 28, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Mountain lions and now black bears pad their way across Sonoma Valley via an ancient wildlife corridor that threads through the lands of the former Sonoma Developmental Center. Endangered salmon swim and spawn in Sonoma Creek that runs through the middle of the historic old campus. Families from Sonoma and the Springs explore the open trails and access nature close to home. The oak woodlands and grasslands of the SDC lands serve as a greenbelt buffer as wildfires rage down from the hills above. 

These are the reasons that we filed a lawsuit against the County of Sonoma.

The county and its consultants failed to fully study or provide measures to prevent the significant environmental and human harms that will result from building a new town in the middle of rural Sonoma Valley at SDC. In fact the SDC Environmental Impact Report (EIR) contains zero enforceable measures to address the harms to the environment, climate and community from the giant new development.

Instead the county claims that there will be few if any negative environmental or wildfire safety impacts and that the SDC Specific Plan will be “self-mitigating,” even with up to 1,000 homes (per the EIR), 2,500 residents and cars, a hotel, 400,000 square feet of commercial space, restaurants, retail and visitor events. That approach fails to meet even the most fundamental requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It cannot stand.

Allowing SDC development to go forward at this scale with a flawed EIR undermines decades of open space protection, city-centered growth and sprawl prevention – the very policies that make Sonoma County so popular. A lawsuit is our last resort to protect these lands from overdevelopment, and stop the county from skirting CEQA.

Our lawsuit ( will force the county and the state to do the studies and revise the EIR and Specific Plan to meet mandates of state environmental law. In the process we hope to protect the SDC’s history, natural resources and waterways forever for mountain lions, bears, salmon and the people of Sonoma Valley and the State of California. 

— Teri Shore, Sonoma,

 Teri Shore is part of the Sonoma County Tomorrow legal team working with the CEQA attorney

3 thoughts on “Why we filed the SDC lawsuit

  1. This CEQA challenge will 1000% FAIL in superior court. It’s a waste of time and only helps the CEQA-chasing lawyers who get paid 3 times their expenses and normal charges if the win. The CEQA lawyers watch for a contentious issue and then offer to do the case for virtually free unless they win. Because if the win they get to recover 3 times their normal fees from the developer.

    This system not benefits the lawyers. What’s new?

    Sonoma valley is filled with silver-haired know-it-alls who waste everyone time and money with lawsuits like this. We will be fortunate when this latest “boom” generation passed on the reigns to the next generations of they ever plan to do that.

    We don’t have to be ruled by idiots. Younger generations stand up and claim the reigns of this country that’s half-dead because of the fleecing and manipulation of the silver-hair boomers and they (((friends))) at the federal money press.

    Is there any reason why we cannot call them the worst generation ever?

    This paper blocks all comments that’s don’t kiss peoples behinds. This paper is a boomer echo chamber.

    1. Let me remind you, that I a “Boomer” was tear gassed, hauled to jail, smashed over the head when fighting for equal rights and to end an unjust war. Let me remind you that I have witnessed first hand the degradation of this planet, because people will not understand that this is one big system and if the earth does not make it, neither do we. Just how old are you and what have you done in your life time for our earth or even other people? You and others continue this litany of how much privilege we so called “Boomers” have. I suggest you get off your behind and start doing something, instead of trashing people you know nothing about.

  2. I agree with the decision to file a lawsuit. The environmental impacts to the natural habit include the health of the community. As a longtime and now former resident of Sonoma Valley, I know the beauty of the area and believe that it needs to be green space.

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