DDS: Plan for the Closure of Sonoma Developmental Center

October 2, 2015:

The Department of Developmental Services’ Plan for the Closure of Sonoma Developmental Center and a transmittal letter can be found at

Also online: Attachments 3A includes Comments from Organizations and Associations submitted via email and U.S. Mail;  and Attachment 3-B includes Comments from Individuals, Families and Online submissions.  Hard copies of the Plan and all attachments were delivered to legislative offices yesterday afternoon, October 1.

There is also a PDF version of the Closure Plan provided below for your convenience.

Plan for the Closure of Sonoma Developmental Center

Timeline of the Sonoma Developmental Center

October 1, 2015:

If you’ve ever wondered how the Sonoma Developmental Center has progressed since its establishment in 1891, take a look at this rather information timeline provided courtesy of the Press Democrat.

TIMELINE: Sonoma Developmental Center, 1891-2018

Slated to close in 2018 after 124 years of service, SDC is the oldest facility in California established specifically for serving the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Gliding through this timeline, the Sonoma Developmental Center’s history stops at 2018, but it doesn’t have to end up this way.

With governance and collaborative decision-making, we can find a way to work with the state as a community to identify how the property can best be utilized, with possibilities demonstrated in the Sonoma Developmental Center: Site Transformation Study from the Potrero Group provided here.

Sonoma Developmental Center: Site Transformation Study

September 30, 2015:

Sonoma Land Trust took on the task of hiring a firm called the Potrero Group to study transformation stories of other large institutions and to identify key principles and lessons learned that could inform the process at SDC. The Potrero Group have released their final report, and we are sharing it with you!

This report isn’t so much focused on exactly what uses should occur at a “transformed” SDC, but more “to examine existing partnership models and frameworks that can support a collaborative transformation process, as well as strategies to ensure that future site uses are financially self-sustaining.”  In other words, it’s about governance and collaborative decision-making.

With the news from the state that they do not intend to declare the property surplus, but instead that they will “work with the community to identify how the property can best be utilized,” the Potrero recommendations are going to be very relevant.

Please take a look at the final report below and let us know what your thoughts and comments are!

SDC Site Transformation Study – Final Report
Prepared for Transform SDC, by Potrero Group.

And don’t forget to RSVP here for the next Transform SDC Community Workshop set for Saturday, October 17 at the Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma, from 9am to 1pm. Space is limited, so please RSVP to ensure you have a spot at the workshop.

Hope to see you there!

Stories aired of SDC residents and their families

September 28, 2015:

For those who were unable to view the Brian Heap interview that aired last Thursday, please click on the link below to view it on KCRA’s website.

NorCal families fight closure of developmental centers

In addition, there was also a taping done of Kathleen Miller and Brien Farrell by KPIX with their children, seen below.

Caregivers For Disabled Fight Proposed Shutdown Of Sonoma Developmental Center

Provided courtesy of KCRA news and KPIX, Channel 5 SF Bay Area news.


Documentary on SDC Closure, Tonight – KCRA News

September 24, 2015:

There will be a video presentation of a documentary by Brian Heap, Anchor/Investigative Reporter of KCRA News, Sacramento, on the closure of SDC airing tonight, Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 and 10:00pm.

The 10:00pm version is the full documentary, and the 6:00pm is a short version.

For those out of the viewing area, the complete documentary will be live streamed on at 10:00pm.

Please pass this information along to all concerned with the planned SDC closure.

Media Coverage on the SDC Closure Plan

September 23, 2015:

Stated by John McCaull of the Sonoma Land Trust at the 2nd DDS Public Hearing, September 21st:

“The Draft Plan stops far short of our vision,” he said in a statement. “We appreciate the State’s recognition that they do not intend to sell or transfer SDC as surplus property because of its natural resources and historical importance, but we need to start planning for the future now… and not waiting until all the residents have been moved to begin developing a reuse strategy.” 

Senator McGuire, Assemblymember Dodd respond to SDC closure plan
Provided courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Sun website.

State’s plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center blasted by families, advocates
Provided courtesy of the Press Democrat website, by Derek Moore.

Stakeholders slam SDC closure plan
Provided courtesy of the Sonoma Index-Tribune website, by Christian Kallen.

SDC closure plan released
Provided courtesy of the Sonoma Index-Tribune website, by Christian Kallen.

Thoughts before the hearing on closure of Sonoma Developmental Center
Provided courtesy of the Press Democrat website, by Clark Mason.

Under the Sun: Anita Torres, home care worker interview
Provided courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Sun website, by Larry Barnett.

DDS Announces Second Public Hearing on SDC Closure, September 21 in Sonoma

September 8, 2015:

The Department of Developmental Services has published the following public notice for A Public Hearing on the Transformation of Sonoma Developmental Center.


Senate Bill 82, signed by the Governor June 24, 2015, requires the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to submit a plan, or plans, to the Legislature by October 1, 2015, to close one or more of the state’s three remaining developmental centers. Efforts are underway to submit a plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) in Eldridge, CA by the end of 2018. A draft closure plan specific to SDC will be available for review at on September 15, 2015. DDS is seeking public comment on the draft plan at a public hearing. These comments will be considered in finalizing the closure plan to be submitted by October 1, 2015, for Legislative approval.

A Second Public Hearing on the Transformation of
Sonoma Developmental Center
Will be conducted by the Department of Developmental Services
Monday, September 21, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Conference Call Line: (866) 261-7147
The Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma — Sonoma Ballroom
1325 Broadway (Leveroni & Napa Roads)
Sonoma, CA. 95476

(Additional copies of this agenda may be obtained at:
Introduction — 9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Public Testimony — 9:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To assure that each person has an opportunity to speak, each speaker is requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 5 minutes.

Please click here to view the rest of the agenda for the day, along with information pertaining to accessibility, accommodations, the written comment submittal process, and the available conference line.

Thank you and hope to see you there!

Provided courtesy of the Department of Developmental Services.

DRAFT Site Transformation Study – Transform SDC

September 3, 2015:

The following report is intended to create a common language for discussing models for SDC’s future, envisioning a planning process, and navigating a path forward that is informed by lessons from other site transformations. This study is, by necessity of the closure plan timeline, preliminary and intended to inform a more comprehensive process.

Keep in mind that the report is still in draft form, and that it will be polished and put into a professional design before the October 1st submittal  deadline to the Legislature.

We’re excited to be able to share this with the community and hope that these examples and frameworks will enrich the conversation moving forward.

Please share your feedback with us and enjoy!

DRAFT SDC Site Transformation Study

Save the Date! Next Transform SDC Community Workshop, October 17

Save the Date!

Our next Transform SDC Community Workshop is set for October 17 at the Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma, from 9am to 1pm.

Please mark this date on your calendar and RSVP here as we hope all concerned with the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center can make it to this workshop.

Stay tuned for additional information, and if you have any pressing concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to email Samantha at or call (707) 526-6930 ext. 137.

Thank you and we hope to see you there!