Kenwood Press

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News: 09/15/2020

SDC community outreach meeting set for Sept. 30

First of a series seeks input on future of former Developmental Centerg

The pandemic-induced delay in seeking required community input on the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), canceled earlier this summer, will be addressed with a series of virtual meetings starting on Sept. 30. Community outreach is a mandated, integral part of developing a Specific Plan for the now-surplus 200-acre building campus and 745 acres of wild lands that formerly housed and treated people with developmental disabilities, autism, and other difficult mental and physical conditions.

“Please join us for a conversation about the SDC Specific Plan, including a short presentation of big takeaways from the Background Report and small group discussions about the vision for the future of the SDC site,” Emmanuel Ursu said.

Ursu, a consultant who is leading the day-to-day Specific Plan development efforts, seeks the engagement of everyone concerned about the future of the property, situated just south of Glen Ellen, including some of Sonoma Valley’s most beautiful lands. While most of the SDC’s wild lands have already been promised to remain as parks and open space, the remaining buildings and infrastructure have proved problematic. Many are over 50 years old and some were built over a century ago.

The Background Report is an analysis of the SDC campus structures, similar to a preliminary evaluation made by a former consultant on the project in 2017, Ursu noted. A draft of the Background Report is being reviewed by an advisory body and is expected to be released in a week or so. It addresses land use, public services, socio-economic profile, transportation, infrastructure, open spaces and natural resources, natural and man-made hazards, a market demand analysis, and an architectural background survey. The 2017 report is available at the SDC Specific Plan website,

A total of five community outreach meetings are planned, Ursu said, though whether they will all be online remains to be determined. Two workshops are scheduled for next January, and two more in late March and April. A community open house is scheduled for early August, 2021.

A separate Market Demand Analysis and an Architectural Historic and Cultural Resource Analysis will be released with the Background Report by the end of the month. The architectural report will evaluate costs of renovation, rehabilitation and/or removal of existing structures.

A series of public events scheduled for late May and June were cancelled due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, replaced with a series of virtual meetings. A virtual walkthrough of the campus is also available online.

All the reports will be posted on the SDC Specific Plan website.

The Sept. 30 community outreach event will be a Zoom meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. You can register to attend the workshop here. You can also find the registration link at

Spanish translation and accessibility accommodations, including closed captioning, will be made available for this workshop upon request.


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Community Calendar

VOMWD hazard mitigation virtual meeting
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SDC community outreach
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GE Fair Quilt drawing