Register for this Saturday, October 17 Transform SDC Community Workshop!

October 15, 2015:

Register Now!

The second Transform SDC Community Workshop is set for this Saturday, October 17 at the Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma, from 9am to around 1pm.

If you haven’t already done so, 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.

In addition, please take a look at the Sonoma Developmental Center: Site Transformation Study available here that will be covered at Saturday’s workshop, along with the SDC Closure Plan submitted by the state provided here.

If you have any pressing concerns or questions, please email Samantha at or call (707) 526-6930 ext. 137.

Thank you and we hope to see you there!

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.


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.

Draft Closure Plan to be released Tuesday, September 15

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 on Wednesday, September 16.

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

Sonoma Land Trust Calls for Land Protection Strategy as Part of SDC Closure Plan

August 31, 2015:

In a formal comment letter to DDS from SLT’s Executive Director Dave Koehler, the Sonoma Land Trust has called on the state to develop a permanent conservation and stewardship strategy for SDC’s open space and natural resource lands. SLT continues to endorse the “Transform SDC” vision of a reinvestment and reuse strategy for the developed portion of the SDC property, with a particular emphasis on providing continuing health care services for people with developmental disabilities. SLT is concerned that the closure/transformation planning cannot outpace conservation planning for the natural lands and habitat resources on the property. This letter augments our August 7th comments submitted in conjunction with other members of the SDC Coalition.

If you have not yet submitted written comments to DDS on the draft closure plan, please use this letter and other information on our blog site to help craft your own comments.

Thank you for caring about SDC!

SLT Comment Letter on SDC Closure Plan