Sonoma Valley Sun


State sells Sonoma Developmental Center

Posted on April 4, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The State of California announced on Monday that it has chosen the development team of The Grupe Company and Rogal & Partners to purchase and redevelop the Sonoma Developmental Center.

The sale price and other terms of the deal were not announced in a statement released by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Until its closure in 2018, the Sonoma Developmental Center provided services to people with developmental disabilities for more than 120 years. The state-owned property includes a historic campus, agricultural lands and vast open space resources, but, according to the county, will require an estimated $100 million to for rehabilitation and infrastructure repairs and upgrades. 

State law requires any redevelopment plans for the site to focus on open space preservation, to prioritize housing, especially affordable housing and housing for people with developmental disabilities, and that the plan also must be economically feasible.

The developer will be bound by regulations of the Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan. According to the county, which prepared it, the plan, “permanently protects hundreds of acres of open space, builds hundreds of units of affordable and workforce housing, provides living wage jobs and creates a walkable community with neighborhood-serving businesses.”

The county submitted the plan at the end of 2022. The state then solicited proposals for sale, and chose The Grupe Company and Rogal & Partners. 

“We’re deeply grateful for the state’s work on this and for naming a developer for this vital site in the heart of Sonoma Valley,” said Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose district includes the Sonoma Developmental Center property. “We look forward to helping ensure the developer provides numerous opportunities to outreach and hear from the community to develop a project that reflects the qualities of Sonoma Valley while addressing the needs within the guidelines of the SDC specific plan.”

The sale of the property is an opportunity to help shape the future of a massive piece of Sonoma County land,  said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate all the work that has gone into this plan so far, but there is much work still to do. We look forward to working with this developer.”

The Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan calls for:

  • Open space protection for 700 acres, an enlarged wildlife corridor that removes current development from the northeast corner of the main campus, and an expanded 100-foot setback to preserve Sonoma Creek.
  • A base of 620 units of housing that would be subject to the county’s affordable housing program. The units would be limited to no more than 1,800 square feet in size.
  • The potential for the creation of more than 900 jobs that will provide diverse living-wage jobs in an economy dominated by agriculture and hospitality.
  • A walkable core with transit, pedestrian and bike paths to provide alternatives to automobile use.
  • Institutional uses focusing on research and education driving employment.
  • Commercial, recreational, and civic uses for residents, employees and the greater Sonoma Valley.

“(County planning department) is excited the state has chosen a purchaser,” Permit Sonoma Director Tennis Wick said. “We are ready to implement the state statute and the specific plan’s vision for open space protection, affordable housing – including homes for those with developmental disabilities, and economic development that will benefit Sonoma Valley’s future.”


One thought on “State sells Sonoma Developmental Center

  1. Let’s be absolutely clear: what we think is a “wildlife corridor” cannot ever be that if we continue to allow people to take their dogs *off leash* on this property. No wildlife will go there as a consequence. So don’t even think we have a wildlife corridor until we have enforced some rules about human behavior.

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