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Vulnerable to earthquakes, SDC's main building requires a multi-million dollar retrofit.
photo credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
With details of the county's re-use plan for the Sonoma Development Center still reverberating, the area's representative board of supervisors remains hopeful there's still room for compromise.  
 
Released earlier this week, redevelopment plans for the Sonoma Developmental Center are still being digested. A thousand residences and space for 900 jobs clustered on a small portion of the Eldridge campus, with the balance remaining open space. Many in the vicinity opposed the scale in scoping sessions.
  
Supervisor Susan Gorin, who represents the area, told KRCB News the actual number of homes could be substantially higher. And that's a problem. 
 
"If you add in density bonuses and ADUs, potentially could get up to twelve hundred to thirteen hundred units. That's not sustainable."
  
She said while a county study determined a certain scale is necessary to shoulder infrastructure repairs....business commercial tenants, and perhaps a proposed climate research center could cover more of those costs, reducing the need for as many homes. 
 
"I would like to see somewhere between four hundred and fifty and seven hundred units." 
 
Fewer than that is untenable, she said. 
 
"I know many people would rather not have any housing placed here, but housing, housing, housing is the number one need for Sonoma Valley, so I'm supportive of housing, and as much affordable housing as we can possibly squeeze on the campus."
  
The county plan identifies 283 affordable units.
  
John McCaull, of the Sonoma Land Trust, a local environmental group that spearheaded efforts to preserve much of the site, urged the county to hold off on decisions until a state agency chooses a developer.
  
Traffic and emergency evacuations are another flashpoint. Opponents cite potential harm to wildlife and a more 'urban' feel to the rural area. Gorin also said she's open to the possibility of a new road connecting with State Route 12.
  
"If we do need an emergency evacuation route, than that needs to happen."
  
Opposition to the road in some quarters however, is fierce.
  
One option under consideration---blocking it to motor vehicles except during an evacuation. Gorin said she sees merit in the concept.
  
"I think that is the compromise that might be achievable."
 
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