Started by a group of nature-loving Glen Ellen residents hoping to permanently preserve a large portion of the Sonoma Developmental Center property as open space, Eldridge For All - Save Our Space began as a grassroots fundraising campaign to benefit the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC), a nonprofit dedicated to achieving and sustaining ecological health in Sonoma Valley. Eldridge For All - Save Our Space applauds the work of numerous local nonprofits working together to preserve the environmental, historical, and cultural resources that make the SDC such a unique and priceless asset. Eldridge For All - Save Our Space serves as a platform for sharing information regarding development of the SDC Specific Plan and related redevelopment issues.
To keep the public apprised of current developments, we have broadened our scope to include information about the land-use planning process as well as links to other organizations working toward the goals of:
1) protecting SDC wild lands in perpetuity
2) advocating for mindful redevelopment of the core campus
3) envisioning a future for the property that best serves the interests of communities adjacent to the site, Sonoma Valley, and Sonoma County as a whole.
The SDC planning team has begun its process of drawing up an Alternatives Report for development of the 180-acre SDC campus. Consultants Dyett and Bhatia will use information from 1) a multitude of reports (click on the SDC image in the sidebar to access documents), primarily existing conditions, opportunities, and constraints identified; and 2) agency and community feedback to develop and evaluate 3 distinct (though with a certain degree of overlap) alternatives/design options for the planning area. These 3 alternatives will illustrate a range of land use mixes, building sizes and heights, reuse/demolition of existing structures, new streets, and parking strategies, etc. The purpose of the alternatives is to inform discussion on the future use of the site and to understand the broader implications of the 3 different scenarios. The report will assess the relative pros and cons of each alternative concept, considering transportation, infrastructure components/capacity, public service delivery, open space, environmental impacts, community health, and ability to achieve project objectives.
Once a draft report is published, it will be open to the community for feedback. The Alternatives Report should not reach conclusions or suggest a preferred alternative. Rather, it is intended to stimulate discussion and to assist decision-makers and community members in selecting a Preferred Alternative. The Preferred Alternative will ultimately provide the basis of a Draft Specific Plan, which will then be circulated for public review. Finally, the environmental impacts of the Draft Specific Plan will be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
According to the timeline recently published by Dyett and Bhatia, the Plan Alternatives Report will be published sometime in early April. NOW IS THE TIME TO LET PLANNERS AND DECISION-MAKERS KNOW IN MORE DETAIL WHAT IT IS YOU THINK SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT HAPPEN ON THE 180-ACRE SDC CAMPUS! Submit your ideas to Consultants Dyett and Bhatia by sending an email to email@example.com and to Supervisor Susan Gorin at firstname.lastname@example.org. IMPORTANT: Also submit to Eldridge For All - Save Our Space through our Contact page, and we will post them for everyone to read. You can request that your comments be posted as "anonymous" if you prefer.
To jump start your ideas, we have provided a list of suggestions below. Also, here are just a few, among many, questions to consider:
IMPORTANT: READ DYETT AND BHATIA'S MARKET DEMAND ANALYSIS!!! (Chapter 9 of the Profile and Background Report; access by clicking on the SDC image above in the sidebar)
TO READ GLEN ELLEN FORUM SDC COMMITTEE ALTERNATIVES IDEAS, SCROLL DOWN TO THE PDF BELOW OR LOOK FOR IT ON OUR PUBLIC RECORD PAGE.
For a downloadable map of the core campus, SCROLL DOWN. Dyett and Bhatia's Profile and Background Report (September 2020) contains numerous maps as well.
For an example of a Plan Alternatives Report, click on this link https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Long-Range-Plans/Springs-Specific-Plan/Project-Documents/ where you will find a Land Use and Circulation Alternatives Report pdf for the Springs Specific Plan.
If you'd like to learn more about residential density concepts, check out the link below to a very useful tool. This Residential Density Guide was published in Australia where the unit of land measurement is the hectare as opposed to the acre. Our focus should be on the number of units per acre, and this density issue will vary at different locations on the site. 1 hectare = about 2.5 acres. https://www.landcom.com.au/assets/Publications/Statement-of-Corporate-Intent/8477325cc1/Density-Guide-Book.pdf
1. Provide more affordable housing than merely required by State law
2. Provide housing for disabled population
3. Provide some work force housing
4. Ensure that the size, scale, and density does not compromise the wildlife corridor and open space resources and preserves Glen Ellen's community character and quality of life
5. Provide limited commercial uses to serve the site and nearby community
6. Allow some smaller scale institutional uses like SEC and other non-profits
7. Reuse existing buildings to the maximum extent feasible, reducing demolition/construction impacts
8. Create a phased development approach to minimize impacts
9. Maintain the open feel of the property by clustering buildings and avoiding new fencing (similar to the Presidio)
10. Maintain the open spaces along Arnold Drive
11. Use architecture that fits in with the community and historic resources
Investigate potential relocation of Dunbar School to the site to better serve the community and reduce traffic
12. Be mindful of the existing adjacent neighborhoods and rural Glen Ellen Village and the existing G.E. Development/Design Guidelines; ensure continued viability of downtown Glen Ellen
SHOULD NOT INCLUDE:
1. Large lot single family residential
2. Tourism, exclusive resort uses
3. High density development that is not in character with the surrounding area and would impact wildlife corridor
4. Large scale commercial activities
5. Substantially increased vehicle trips on Arnold Drive
6. Close off campus
The Vision Statement and Guiding Principles for the SDC Specific Plan are subject to revision. Follow their evolution by reading the entries below. Check back here for updates.
The Draft Vision Statement and Guiding Principles were updated on Jan. 11, 2021 to include Guiding Principle # 4:
Balance Redevelopment with Existing Land Uses. Use recognized principles of land use planning and sustainability to gauge how well proposed land uses protect public trust resources and fit the character and values of the site and surrounding area, as well as benefit local communities and residents.
Read the latest version updated on Jan. 11, 2021
Click here for the 2020 version of the Draft Vision Statement and Guiding Principles drawn up by Dyett and Bhatia, the land use consultant hired to help craft the SDC Specific Plan.
The 2019 Proposed Vision Statement and Guiding Principles were developed by a coalition of community organizations.
This Proposed Vision Statement and Guiding Principles for Eldridge (former site of the Sonoma Developmental Center) was composed by the leadership team of the SDC Coalition, chaired by Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin. The document was distilled from input gathered over the past five years and is intended to help guide Sonoma County and California officials throughout transition and into the future.
November 14 Workshop participants were able to put their comments on the vision/principles via virtual sticky notes. This exercise was followed by small group discussions creating group vision statement/headline for the SDC site in 2040, with discussion about priorities to achieve the vision. Priorities and tradeoffs could include: Housing: What kind, where, how much? Other uses § Historic preservation: Yes/no, how much? Infrastructure § Natural resources conservation.
Here are some questions/comments on the vision/principles that the Glen Ellen Forum SDC/Eldridge Committee compiled for people to consider during the workshop. These issues were intended to help in forming a vision and setting priorities in the small group discussions. Note: included at the bottom of this email are several key components of the June 2019 vision statement developed by community organizations and reviewed by the public in the June 2019 workshop. These components are missing from the current proposed vision.
Missing from Vision/Principles:
· Ensuring compatibility (e.g., scale, appearance, traffic generation, etc.) with surrounding Glen Ellen, which is adjacent to the site on both the north and south sides.
· Minimizing impacts on the viability of downtown Glen Ellen (by not creating a new downtown area that competes with Glen Ellen village)
· Acknowledging the rural character of the site and area (not within an urban growth area)
· Ensuring consistency with the County General Plan policies regarding protection of the rural village of Glen Ellen
· Creating land uses with designs that are consistent with Glen Ellen Development and Design Guidelines - new buildings should respect village architecture and historic buildings onsite (not urban style housing).
· Shrink the building footprint area to better protect riparian areas and wildlife movement within the campus, which is part of wildlife corridor
· Maintain open unfenced areas for wildlife movement through campus
· Integrate with neighborhoods north and south
· Minimize traffic on Arnold Drive through Glen Ellen (the village and SDC site are currently walkable due to low traffic levels on Arnold Drive)
· Be mindful of fire hazard area, moderating development in the Wildland Urban Interface area, evacuation routes, etc. (using fire-resistant building materials is not sufficient to mitigate the hazard)
· Land uses should also benefit the community.
· Focus on workforce housing demand in the valley.
· Density should be moderate to avoid over-concentration impacts on wildlife corridor and adjacent open spaces that have important biological resources.
Corrections/comments on Vision/Principles:
· The site is not surrounded completely by open space; it is part of Glen Ellen and is adjacent to homes and businesses on the north and south. The vision statement is written as if the site is isolated from the rest of the community.
· Too much emphasis on urban uses and urban design, as if the site is an existing urban area. The existing campus design does not have an urban feel.
· References to the site being a standalone community rather than a neighborhood within an existing community
· What does the reference to “visitation” uses mean? Are these tourism uses? Resorts, hotels, wineries?
KEY COMPONENTS OF JUNE 2019 VISION/PRINCIPLES THAT ARE MISSING FROM CURRENT PROPOSED VISION
• Planners and decision-makers will use recognized principles of land use planning sustainability to gauge how well proposed land uses protect public trust resources and fit the character and values of the site and surrounding area, as well as benefit local communities and residents. The density, scale, and design for new development or redevelopment at Eldridge must be compatible with surrounding communities.
• Stakeholders will create a specific plan for the Eldridge site that factors in the needs and land use priorities of the surrounding communities of Glen Ellen and Sonoma to ensure that future development will be compatible with existing land uses in Sonoma Valley.
• Housing should be based on the needs of Sonoma Valley with a workforce housing emphasis.
• Redevelopment will include replacement of economic and social benefits lost with the closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center. New institutional partners may include universities, colleges, government agencies, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations, with the goal of expanding educational options, providing job training, and creating economic opportunities close to home.
Click below for a pdf of this list of crucial issues.
The SDC Specific Plan alternatives process has begun! Now is the time to let planners and decision-makers know in more detail what you want to see happen on the site. Please submit your ideas to Consultants Dyett and Bhatia by clicking on the button below and to email@example.com. IMPORTANT: Submit to Eldridge For All on our Contact page, and we will post for everyone to read.