Sonoma County Prepares to Kick-Off Reuse Planning for SDC in 2020

December 16, 2019.  After several months of negotiations, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is set to approve an agreement with the California Department of General Services (DGS) that will release $3.5 million in funding to prepare a Specific Plan for the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC).  As the staff report for the December 17, 2019 Board meeting states:

“A Specific Plan is needed to represent the community’s vision and facilitate the site’s redevelopment. The overall goal of the Specific Plan effort is to guide future development to achieve an attractive and sustainable vision, which includes viable mixed uses and economic development, affordable housing opportunities, open space and resource conservation, cultural and historical preservation.The development articulated through the Specific Plan must be compatible in scale with the surrounding community, and consistent with State, County, and community goals”

Sonoma County has selected the urban and regional planning firm Dyett and Bhatia (D&B) to prepare the SDC Specific Plan as part of a $1.476 million contract. The goal is to have the plan prepared for Board consideration by December 2021 after D&B has completed a public process to “inform, engage, and solicit input from all segments of the community…” Their work plan includes:

  • Prepare a market demand analysis that will guide the selection of land use alternatives
  • Identify the infrastructure and public service needs/costs to facilitate future development
  • Explore alternatives for reuse of existing facilities and buildings
  • Establish a land use and policy framework to guide future redevelopment to be compatible and in character with the surrounding community
  • Promote healthy neighborhood design guidelines and enhance opportunities for alternative modes of transportation
  • Create design guidelines that promote an attractive and vibrant, pedestrian and bicycle friendly community
  • Develop a plan to connect to and preserve open space and natural resource areas, including wildlife corridors within the campus area
  • Prepare an Implementation and Financing Plan to facilitate improvements in accordance with the Specific Plan
  • Prepare an Environmental Impact Report in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

In addition to public meetings, workshops, and soliciting comments on the draft Specific Plan, the County has also appointed a 15 member “Planning Advisory Team” (PAT) to work with County staff, consultants, and the public on the SDC Specific Plan. The PAT’s mission is:

to promote a Specific Plan that reflects community needs and goals for the site while recognizing future development opportunities and constraints. The PAT will seek to represent the broad interests of the community, review Specific Plan materials and documents, and serve as ambassadors to the public, sharing information and encouraging participation in the planning process.”

We expect that the County will hold the first meeting of the PAT in early 2020, with public meetings to follow in the 1st quarter of the year. For more information on the process, visit Permit Sonoma’s website at: Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan.

The Transform SDC Blog site was launched in 2014 to provide the Sonoma Valley community — and those interested in the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) — a forum and information source for news related to the closure of SDC.  For more information, please post a response on the blog site, or email John McCaull  at

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