September 11, 2015:
Provided courtesy of the Sonoma Index-Tribune website, staff report:
On Tuesday, September 15, the state Department of Developmental Services will release its draft plan for the closure of SDC – the Sonoma Developmental Center – giving the public its first opportunity to see how much its input has affected the state’s plans for closing the extensive and historic Eldridge facility.
It will be followed a few days later – on Monday, September 21 – by a day-long public hearing at The Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma, 1325 Broadway (at Leveroni and Napa Roads). The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a call-in conference line at (866) 261-7147 so people who cannot attend the hearing can listen and contribute.
These comments will be considered in finalizing the closure plan to be submitted by October 1, for Legislative approval. “It will be a quick turnaround for review,” said Nancy Lundgren of the DDS. “Hopefully we will have captured the significant concerns and comments from the first hearing and input that has come in and update the draft for October 1.”
The draft plan will incorporate public sentiment as expressed in testimony from a number of events in Sonoma and elsewhere since Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 82 in June. That bill requires DDS to submit a plan, or plans, to the Legislature by October 1, to close one or more of the state’s three remaining developmental centers.
SDC was proposed for closure in that bill by the end of 2018, a three-year time period many find too accelerated and unworkable.
Public comment over the past three months has focused on the unique level of care the facility offers, its ancillary services, the bucolic nature of the hospital campus and the unusual afflictions its current residents posses, which make their transfer to community health centers problematic.
The draft closure plan will be available for review on the DDS website at www.dds.ca.gov/SonomaNews/ on Wednesday, September 16.