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Permit Sonoma Announces Center for Climate Action and Innovation
On January 5, 2024, Permit Sonoma, in partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy, announced its Center for Climate Action and Innovation Business Plan (Business Plan) at the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC). The California State Coastal Conservancy has approved a grant of up to $250,000 to the County of Sonoma to fund this opportunity.
As a core occupant of the site, the Center for Climate Action and Innovation (Center) could act as a future hub for collaboration and innovation, providing an area where key stakeholders, leaders, institutions, and private enterprise can work together to find new responses to the ongoing climate crisis. The center could provide valuable economic contributions in the form of research and development activity that would add new jobs and diversity to the county economy while confirming Sonoma County’s place at the forefront of climate resilience and adaptation research.
The proposed center would work in conjunction with any proposed housing or commercial opportunities that might be built at the SDC site in the future. This might include research into innovation in water reuse, microgrid and alternative energy production, low-carbon mobility, vegetation management, fire safety technology, regenerative agriculture, vermiculture technology, equitable farm starts and their contribution to climate adaptation. This center would be a hub for climate leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, institutions, and the public to come together to find and demonstrate novel solutions and mitigations to address the climate crisis using the beautiful SDC campus as a backdrop.
Visit the webpage for the business plan announcement and read the business plan document itself at Permit Sonoma's website: Business Plan for a Center for Climate Action and Innovation at SDC (permitsonoma.org)
Sonoma Mountain Preservation Observes that Area Designated for Open Space Instead will be Developed for CalFire's Use
The group Sonoma Mountain Preservation recently submitted a letter to Senator Dodd, Senator McGuire, and Assemblymember Connolly to express concern that a 50-acre parcel in the southeastern corner of the former Sonoma Developmental Center property, originally intended for preservation as public parkland, will be transferred to CalFire to construct offices. The offices are to be built on what is presently and was intended to remain as open space. The area designated for CalFire's use lies within the voter-approved community separator, encompasses a seasonal stream and pristine oak savanna, an abuts both the Eldridge Marsh and the western outlet of a Highway 12 underpass that has been identified as one of the ways wildlife safely traverse the highway to access the Mayacamas Mountains, part of the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor.
Read the letter by going to the Sonoma Development Center section of the Files page of this website.
ELDRIDGE, Calif.— California State Parks today announced the transfer of jurisdiction of approximately 650 acres of Sonoma Developmental Center’s (SDC) open space property to State Parks. SDC’s open space area is connected to Jack London State Historic Park (SHP). Sharing a common boundary, watershed, critical wildlife corridor, connecting trails, and view shed, the property is an integral part of the region’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities.
The transfer of SDC lands to State Parks is the largest addition to state park lands in Sonoma County since 2010. These lands will provide a connection from Jack London SHP to Sonoma County Regional Park, maintaining a critical regional wildlife linkage connecting the Marin Coast to Blue Ridge and Lake Berryessa. The property includes high-quality oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, coast redwood and riparian forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
“California State Parks looks forward to stewarding this property, working through the planning process with the public, and advancing public outdoor access to more Californians,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “By transferring these open space lands to the State Park System, we are conserving California’s critical biodiversity and helping ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy these protected lands.”
“Bringing this land into State Parks is a big win for the environment, outdoor recreation and local communities,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “It protects an important wildlife corridor, safeguards diverse local ecosystems, and will expand opportunities for local residents and visitors to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Expanding the state park in this way is one more creative step toward meeting our 30x30 commitment to conserve 30 percent of our lands across California by 2030. I’m very excited to see this milestone reached.”
“We made a promise to the community at the beginning of the transition process that the vast majority of Developmental Center land would be protected forever. And, today, Senator Dodd and I are keeping this promise with this historic transfer of land,” said Senate President Designee Mike McGuire. “80% of the former SDC campus will now be protected forever and it’s a big win for the Valley and our County. We’re grateful for the partnership with the team from State Parks and are excited to see this milestone achieved.”
“This is a huge win for preserving and stewarding this incredible open space, and it’s a milestone Senator McGuire and I have been working to make a reality for years,” said Senator Bill Dodd. “I’m grateful for State Parks for stepping up, and I couldn’t be more excited to see local partnerships develop and all the benefits that will come for our environment and outdoor recreation in the Valley.”
“Transitioning this land to State Parks as protected open space has been a longtime goal of Sonoma Valley residents and will expand access to the outdoors while simultaneously protecting our local ecosystems,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly. “Through increasing public access to the open space and investing in trail maintenance and wildfire management, this is a major win for our community.”
State Parks will operate the open space lands in an interim state until a general plan amendment process is conducted with public input. During this interim state, the public may expect the following:
State Parks will proceed with the transition by developing and initiating public messaging, developing service agreements, and engaging and planning with partners and the community.
A general plan amendment process will be conducted to formally add and incorporate the open space lands into Jack London SHP. This comprehensive public process will involve the following:
State Parks will keep the public apprised of public engagement opportunities.
Sonoma Development Center’s open space is connected to Jack London State Historic Park. Photos from California State Parks.
Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at NewsRoom@parks.ca.gov
California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.
There are some ideas floating around regarding having an independent evacuation study done for Sonoma Valley focusing on Glen Ellen, Kenwood and the Springs. It would be used in relation to developing evacuation plans primarily for wildfires. It would also be beneficial to see the capacity of our main roads before SDC and Hanna come to life. There are several groups interested in this kind of study, but more exploration as how to accomplish this goal is needed. If you have any expertise or just want to help, please let us know. Thank you, and please check back soon for more information.
An evacuation study was recently conducted for Oakmont Village. Read the report by going to the Evacuation Studies section on the Files page of this website.
Here at last!!! We are very excited to go public with our revitalized website. It's taken some time, but we are pleased with new features that allow for more streamlined communication with our members and those interested in learning more about VOTMA's many projects. Check it all out and let us know what you think. Your feedback will help us to further improve our community outreach efforts. Thank you.
File #:2023-1400 Type: Regular Calendar Item. Status: Agenda Ready File created:11/3/2023. In control: Permit and Resource Management. On agenda:12/12/2023. Final action: Title: 2:00 PM - Sonoma County General Plan Kick-Off Department or Agency Name(s): Permit and Resource Management Attachments:1. Summary Report.pdf, 2. Attachment 1 2022-General-Plan-Annual-Implementation-Progess-Report.pdf, 3. Attachment 2 FY2022_23_BOS_Budget_BIR-02.pdf, 4. Attachment 3 Staff Presentation_GPWorkshop_20231212.pdf
To: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Department or Agency Name(s): Permit Sonoma Staff Name and Phone Number: Tennis Wick (707) 565-1925; Scott Orr (707) 565-1754; Ross Markey (707) 565-2543. Vote Requirement: Majority Supervisorial District(s): Countywide
Title: Title 2:00 PM - Sonoma County General Plan Kick-Off
Recommended Action: Review and provide comments to Permit Sonoma staff on the Department’s proposed initial work plan to scope the General Plan update and plan to solicit a consultant to commence the update.
Executive Summary: The General Plan is a shared community vision that reflects community priorities and values while shaping our future growth, encourages housing and job development, fosters healthy and resilient communities, guides the protection and management of natural resources, and promotes social and economic equity. The State General Plan Guidelines recommend that General Plans be updated every five to ten years to ensure that they remain relevant and reflect local physical and demographic changes and broader changes in culture and technology. The Sonoma County General Plan 2020, that has served our community since 2008, needs a comprehensive update to address State law requirements and more closely reflect shifts in community values that have been shaped by recent events such as including recent flooding and wildfire recovery.
This item presents a preliminary work plan to scope the General Plan update which includes the following components:
• Recruit and hire a consultant to begin scoping for the larger project and planning work with an initial phase to:
o Perform a detailed audit of General Plan 2020, including specific and area plans, and its consistency with current State guidance for General Plans;
o Market the planning effort, conduct community outreach, and establish a reliable engagement platform that will carry through the entire planning process;
o Establish a timeline and budget for the General Plan update and associated Environmental Impact Report. This includes evaluating any grant or other funding that may be available to support plan development.
• Permit Sonoma reported to the Board on 5/17/22 that the expected cost for the project will be $7.8 million (Attachment 2) and the Board set aside $2.8 million as part of the FY22-23 budget to supplement existing general fund allocations and the general plan administration fee balance; and return to the Board with a final project scope including a review of potential options for the project scale from least-to-most comprehensive along with staff recommendations.
The Sonoma County Conservation Council is proud to present awards to five Sonoma County leaders in recognition of their dedication, focus and effective action in protecting the local environment.
The Ernestine I. Smith Environmentalist of the Year award goes to Kathy Pons, Valley of the Moon Alliance, and Sonia Taylor, affordable housing and sustainable development advocate.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Margaret Briare, Bodega Bay Concerned Citizens, and Norman Gilroy, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, and many other groups.
The Youth Environmental Award will be presented to Galen Freed-Wilhelm for his work with the Sonoma Ecology Center.
Read more about the awardees:
Sonoma County Conservation Council invites you to our annual Environmental Awards Presentation
Zoom Webinar: Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 7 – 8:30 pm
Register for the webinar
The 2023 Awardees will be honored in person at the Holiday Networking Party & Environmental Awards Celebration
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Development pressure has brought Sonoma Valley to a critical juncture, and important decisions about our future must be made. Click on the button below to learn more about where VOTMA stands in relation to various development proposals and our efforts to help fashion thoughtful land-use planning.