County's SDC proposal would bring 2,400 residents, 1,000 homes to shuttered campus property
Written by Marc Albert
A vibrant, new walkable town that's a refuge from modernity will rise between Glen Ellen and Eldridge over the next two decades if all goes according to plan.
The new town would replace the shuttered Sonoma Developmental Center, a century plus residential treatment center for the developmentally disabled. The plans---officially a 'specific plan' and accompanying environmental documents were released Wednesday, capping a months long process as a preferred alternative took shape.
Bradley Dunn with Permit Sonoma laid out the main points in a press conference Wednesday.
"We are looking at up to a thousand units of housing with two hundred and eighty three affordable," Dunn said. "More than nine hundred jobs, which would provide diverse, living wage employment in an economy that is dominated by agriculture and hospitality. The plan includes open space protection for more than seven hundred fifty acres between Jack London Park and Sonoma Valley Regional Park and the preservation of Sonoma Creek and its tributaries."
A wildlife corridor, a main concern of local environmentalists, would also be preserved.
Environmental studies found adequate water supplies on-site and no major added risks during a wildfire evacuation. The plan calls for a road connecting the site with State Route 12.
Additional bicycle paths and sidewalks, along with frequent bus service to Sonoma and Santa Rosa---with bus shelters and real time arrival information, is supposed to reduce traffic impacts.
Adding 2,400 residents, along with businesses and a hotel raised concerted opposition from locals earlier. County officials say they are walking a tightrope. While many seek a less ambitious project, Sacramento listed housing a key goal in agreeing to redevelop the property. Local officials say if plans are too modest Sacramento could renege, offer it directly to a developer, bypassing local oversite.
Up to 10 historic buildings would be seismically strengthened and reused, others, with expensive challenges, including asbestos, would be demolished.
The proposal goes before the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council on the 24th and the county planning commission September 15.
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