P.O. Box 1045, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, US


Eldridge For All - Save Our Space

SDC Specific Plan - Join the Conversation!

Invitation to Virtual Community Conversation

Working with Sonoma County and the SDC Public Advisory Team, the Public Dialogue Consortium (PDC) is currently organizing and scheduling small group community conversations regarding the SDC Specific Plan to be hosted on Zoom. The PDC continues to focus on groups whose voices have been underrepresented in earlier engagement: Youth, the Latinx community, individuals with disabilities, and stakeholders who are not yet involved in this important work. In order to support community connectors, the PDC has developed an invitational document to disseminate electronically in Spanish and in English. Please see the attached.   For further information, please send an email to: contactus@publicdialogue.org

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Listen to COMMUNITY KICKOFF Webinars and take the survey

Your Participation Is Crucial - Share Your Vision!

Webinars: On April 30 and May 1, 2020, expert panelists provided unique perspectives on the history, opportunities, and challenges of the Sonoma Developmental site and project; the floor was then opened for questions by the public. 

SDC Community Outreach

April 30, 2020 


  • Linda Blong, Senior Consultant, Public Dialogue Consortium 
  • John McCaull, Land Acquisition Program Manager, Sonoma Land Trust

SDC Market Conditions

April 30, 2020 


  • Kevin Feeney, Principal, Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. 
  • Robert Upton,  Principal, Campus Properties; Real estate Development and Consulting 
  • Kelso Barnett, Real Estate Development and Brokerage Consulting 

SDC Site Ecology
May 1, 2020 


  • John Baas, Senior Open Space Planner, WRA, Inc. 
  • Richard Dale, Executive Director, Sonoma Ecology Center  

SDC Historic Preservation 

May 1, 2020


  • Ruth Todd, Principal, Page & Turnbull 
  • Gregg Montgomery, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Glen Ellen Historical Society 
  • Teresa Murphy, Glen Ellen Historical Society, 45-year State of California employee and former Administrator of the Sonoma Developmental Center facility 
  • Charlie Mikulik, Glen Ellen Historical Society Board of Directors and Cultural Resources Specialist 

SDC Specific Plan Webinars and Visioning Survey

Click on the link below to access webinars and visioning survey. 


gates go up and SDC reservoirs are Not off-limits to hikers

CLARIFICATION Re SDC Reservoirs and Public Access to Hiking and Biking Trails


We’ve received confirmation that trails on open space lands in Eldridge (the former Sonoma Developmental Center), including those leading to and around Suttonfield and Fern Lakes, remain accessible to trail users including hikers.

We are blessed to be surrounded by such beautiful wildlands, and must remember to walk in them with respect and care. Leave no trace. Stick to well-established routes; avoid social trails and game trails to minimize your impact on habitat. Pick up after your pooch, and for your safety, your pet's safety, and the safety and comfort of others, keep your dogs on leash. Don’t litter, and pick up other peoples’ litter if you are able. And, of course, have fun!



The following letter from Chief Irigoyen with the California Department of Developmental Services' Office of Protective Services was sent on Jan. 9 to local newspapers and community groups. Numerous pole gates (see map above) are going up in order to restrict vehicle traffic on the SDC campus to prevent trespassing and vandalism. Note in paragraph 3 that both Suttonfield and Fern Lakes are now officially off-limits to hikers. Scores of locals and visitors hike around the reservoirs on a regular basis, so how this latest development will play out is anyone's guess. We, along with numerous interested organizations, are seeking further clarification, and talks with officials are on-going. This is a fluid situation, so check back soon for more details.

To share with the Office of Protective Services your opinion regarding the SDC reservoirs being deemed "off-limits" to hikers, contact SDC Facility Director Charlotte Jones:





1600 NINTH STREET, Room 300, MS 3-20 SACRAMENTO, CA 95814
(916) 654-2054 TTY (For the Hearing Impaired) (916) 654-3338

January 9, 2020

Dear Sonoma County Community Members:

The California Department of Developmental Services’ (DDS) Office of Protective Services (OPS) requests your assistance and support in sharing the following information with family, friends, and neighbors.

The state property of the former Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) continues to be accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists in non-prohibited areas. However, OPS has determined a need to restrict vehicle traffic on campus to prevent trespassing. Vehicles will be prohibited from accessing peripheral areas along Holt, Wilson, Harney, and Railroad roads. The closed roadways will be cordoned off using pole gates. Pedestrians and cyclists will continue to have access; however, vehicles entering these closed areas will be considered trespassing.

As a reminder, there are areas of the campus that remain closed to the public. Specifically, individuals are prohibited from accessing both reservoirs (for hiking, fishing or swimming), areas affected by the recent fires (including the farm area and Sunrise Industries), and all vacant buildings and parking lots.

As with earlier advisements, we greatly appreciate the community’s assistance in sharing this message. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Protective Services at SDC at (707) 938-6100.


Office of Protective Services

“Building Partnerships, Supporting Choices”

Learn More

To learn more, click on the link below to Transform SDC

Eldridge Vision Workshop Report

Eldridge Vision Workshop Summary Report
Prepared by the Consensus Building Institute and the SDC Coalition Workshop Organizers. The SDC Coalition is a group of Sonoma County agencies and nonprofit partners that have worked together since 2013 on issues related to the closure of SDC, and the reuse, planning, and disposition process for the land and developed campus. Since 2015, the SDC Coalition has hosted numerous public meetings to solicit ideas and feedback on different visions and possible futures for SDC.

Eldridge Vision Workshop Summary Report

On June 15, 2019, the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) Coalition convened a public workshop at the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma with three central goals:

  • to share with the public and receive feedback on a draft Eldridge Vision Statement and Guiding Principles prepared by the SDC Coalition Leadership team;
  • to build support for cohesive community engagement;
  • to learn more about the planning framework for the Eldridge Specific Plan.
    This report provides a summary of the feedback provided at the workshop, with the hope that it will help guide the specific planning process for redevelopment of the property and clarify the hopes and wishes articulated by the public to date.

Milan Nevajda, deputy director of Permit Sonoma, offered a detailed overview of the specific planning process. Other speakers from the SDC Coalition included:

  • First District Supervisor Susan Gorin, who offered opening remarks;
  • Richard Dale, executive director of the Sonoma Ecology Center, who provided an
    overview of the SDC’s history and spotlighted key players in its evolution;
  • Tracy Salcedo of the Glen Ellen Forum, who described how the vision statement and
    guiding principles were drafted and their intended purpose;
  • Mickey Cooke of Sonoma Mountain Preservation, who encouraged further public
    participation in the process.
    Tania Carlone of the Consensus Building Institute facilitated the event.

How Feedback Was Gathered
As individuals and working in small groups, the approximately 170 participants offered detailed feedback on the draft vision and principles by taking part in breakout sessions and/or submitting individual forms soliciting feedback. Respondents indicated their approval of, or provided feedback on, each statement on the individual forms using color-coded dots, green indicating the statement accurately reflected their opinions, yellow indicating they would like to see the statement modified or strengthened. Space was provided for comments, additions, or observations, many of which are accounted for in the summary and have been retained for future reference (note: not everyone who attended the meeting submitted a form). Each small group, after discussion and reflection, provided workshop organizers with three statements that summarized their primary areas of concern or focus with regard to the vision statement and guiding principles, or redevelopment of the property in general.

An Overview of Responses

The vision statement and the guiding principles as drafted, which represent a distillation of community visioning that’s taken place over the last five years, were overwhelmingly supported by participants. The preponderance of comments sought to strengthen key themes. Levels of support and key themes reinforced by participant input for each statement are captured below.

Support for preservation of the open spaces surrounding the campus was resounding. On the flip side, the standout concern revolved around density of housing on the campus. Other themes that evoked repeated comment among participants included preserving the SDC’s legacy of care, ensuring redevelopment is environmentally responsible, and exploring the idea of a Presidio-style trust as a governing body for the property.


Demographic information was voluntarily provided by participants as they signed in. About 88% of the participants provided information regarding age, ethnic identity, and place of residence. The vast majority of participants self-identified as White/Caucasian, with a handful identifying as Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Native. Most participants fell into the 41-65 age category or the over-65 age category, with 8 participants falling into the 21-40 category. The majority of participants live in the Sonoma Valley, with representation from other Sonoma County locales (Graton, Petaluma, Santa Rosa), the greater Bay Area (Danville, Berkeley, San Francisco), Sacramento, and as distant as Portland, Oregon.

Despite outreach efforts, organizers noted that the following demographic groups were significantly under-represented among workshop participants: the Latino community; Native Americans; and young people.

How Feedback Is Presented in this Report

Representatives from the Consensus Building Institute collated the data from the workshop. The numbers shown with each item below represent the percentage of participants who agreed with the vision statement or guiding principle as written, as indicated by a green dot. Responses from those who provided comment about a statement as drafted, indicated with a yellow dot, are provided in the summary comments. It should be reiterated that yellow dots didn’t necessarily signal disagreement, but most often indicated the statement or principle needed strengthening or additions.

Considerations are suggestions offered by participants for planners as they generate (or regenerate) a vision and guiding principles for the site.

All worksheets and data used to develop this summary have been provided to the consultants developing the specific plan under the auspices of Sonoma County and is available for review.

Proposed Vision Statement

Summary comments: A substantial majority of workshop participants (83%) supported the vision statement as written or offered comments that strengthened or clarified the themes. Several workshop participants wanted the vision statement to more boldly capture the cultural, historical and ecological context of the site. Some wished for a clear assertion that SDC is the “heart of Sonoma Valley,” and noted that SDC’s legacy of care should be emphasized. Others believed terms in the vision statement could be more clearly defined (e.g., sustainability, resiliency, cultural legacy, compatibility, surrounding communities). It should be noted that these terms are expanded upon in the Guiding Principles.

Proposed Guiding Principles
1. Protection of open space on the Eldridge property

Summary comments: This principle received overwhelming support (92%). Workshop participants urged not only protection but also improvement of the property’s open space and wildlife corridor, while supporting public access. Many suggested a holistic, integrated approach to development to protect open space and steward water resources. Participants encouraged consideration for complimentary interaction between the site’s developed footprint and open space, such as ensuring creek setbacks are sufficient to protect water quality and habitat, making sure recreation (trail use) does not impact habitat and the wildlife corridor, and keeping open spaces in a natural state, not developed (e.g. no soccer complex or golf course).

Eldridge is a place where people of diverse backgrounds and interests live and work together,
where natural resources are conserved and enhanced, concepts of sustainability and resiliency are put into practice, cultural legacies are honored, and compatibility with surrounding communities is preserved.

Eldridge’s open space and wildlife corridor lands will be permanently protected and managed to ensure environmental stewardship and continued public recreational use.

2. Principle of sustainability for the future use of Eldridge

Summary comments: Seventy-five percent of participants supported this principle as written, while others specified that sustainability and regenerative design should be central to all facets of the project, including housing, landscape, transportation, and finances. Eldridge redevelopment should account for and respond to projected climate change; in fact, participants recognize SDC’s potential to serve as a model for climate adaptation. Some participants highlighted the opportunity to create a self-sufficient site designed for net-zero energy consumption, local sourcing of resources, and sustainable, on-site production of food crops. Participants spoke to an opportunity to design for a sustainable lifestyle. Supporting groundwater recharge was also mentioned. Other themes included preserving the character of the site’s overall ambience, scale, and character while ensuring its financial foundations are sustainable. Provision of public transportation was stressed, both to ensure sustainability and to address many participants’ concern about how development will increase traffic congestion (particularly on Arnold Drive and CA 12).


  • Specify optimal site density
  • Clearly define sustainability

3. A community-led specific plan for Eldridge

Summary comments: This statement garnered 77% support. Some participants noted that community input should drive the specific plan, not the county or the consultants who will develop it. Others noted the “community” should encompass the greater Sonoma Valley and specifically mention the Springs. Some noted the planning process should actively engage local tribes and other Sonoma Valley residents who were not well represented at the workshop (youths and Latinos).

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 and Sonoma Valley’s constrained water resources and transportation system, and all development must be supported by sound infrastructure and appropriate public services.

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. The planning process will have financial support from the state, and Sonoma County will exercise oversight and management in coordination with a Technical Advisory Committee and a Citizens Advisory Committee.

4. Development of housing options

Summary comments: This principle generated the most divergent feedback from participants, with 54% indicating their approval as written. In general, participants backed the concepts of affordable, diverse, supportive housing options compatible with the surrounding aesthetics and sensitive to the wildlife corridor. Many expressed nervousness about density, and felt housing should be on an appropriate scale to maintain the “small town” feel of Eldridge and Glen Ellen. Participants stated housing should be designed and constructed with sustainable principles. Participants spoke to the need for a range of housing options accessible to underserved populations, including workforce, low-income, homeless (some people suggested construction of tiny homes), middle-income, elders, former SDC clients, and people with disabilities. One person spoke to the value of offering affordable rental options, while another suggested a co- housing model.


  • Clearly define affordable housing
  • Offer support services to underserved populations
  • Emphasize appropriately scaled housing for underserved populations
  • Emphasize appropriate scale for compatibility with the surrounding community
  • Develop an interim housing plan

5. Development of new educational and employment opportunities for Sonoma Valley

Summary comments: While 80% of participants supported this statement as written, many would like to see opportunities for professional jobs on site, and accommodations for small, local, sustainable businesses. Participants shared a range of creative potential uses, including an arts center that could serve as a national model, and a school setting with teachers residing in affordable housing.

Sonoma County faces an acute housing crisis and the SDC site presents an opportunity to accommodate reasonable housing solutions for the area. An appropriate housing footprint on the Eldridge property should be a priority for the specific plan. Housing should be based on the needs of Sonoma Valley with a workforce housing emphasis, inclusion of an affordable housing component (very low, low, and moderate Income), and housing for vulnerable populations.

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. Important themes include providing green jobs and honoring SDC’s legacy as an institution caring for people with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable populations.

6. Preservation of historic and cultural sites

Summary comments: Many participants see value in embracing the site’s rich cultural history, with 82% supporting the statement as written. This includes ongoing support of the developmentally disabled community, active engagement with local Native American communities, preservation of Native American cultural history, and on-site agricultural production. Participants also asserted the importance of SDC’s the legacy of caring, and would like the principle to more strongly emphasize this value. Some participants asserted that these legacies should be foundational to each of the guiding principles.

7. Implementation

Summary comments: Sixty-nine percent of participants supported this principle as written. Nine participants specifically recommended a public trust be created to oversee redevelopment, citing the Presidio Trust as a model. Others suggested that the three-year specific planning timeline was unrealistic and that opportunities for interim use should be considered. Most participants agreed the project should serve and benefit the community, and avoid corporate drivers and uses based on tourism. Some suggested that project design and implementation include nonprofit and educational institutions. Others noted the importance for community understanding of the trade-offs among different redevelopment options. Additionally, participants advised transparency throughout the redevelopment process; this should take the form of clear dissemination of information and simple ways to stay informed, such as an e-mail list sign-up.

Other recommendations

  • Some participants recommended broadening the spectrum of engaged parties to include tribes, nonprofits, service organizations, educational entities, and SDC clients and their families.
  • Many participants emphasized concern about how high-density development and an increase in traffic would affect quality of life.
  • Some people advised adding a principle of long-term financial sustainability.
  • One person suggested adding a principle for public services (to address site
    infrastructure, transportation and traffic, and public safety).

The site’s numerous historic, cultural, and Native American resources will be protected following state and local historic preservation guidelines.

A governance entity will be considered for implementing the community's vision for Eldridge, embracing the concepts of environmental and economic sustainability and designed to represent state and local interests for the redevelopment process and ongoing operations.

  • Others suggested recognizing non-monetary benefits of the project, such as stewardship of groundwater water resources.
  • Some noted that while redevelopment of Eldridge should be compatible with surrounding communities, should also remain unique.

SDC Planning Advisory Team

The SDC Planning Advisory Team has been selected.  Follow the link below to read  member bios.

Valley of the Moon Water District worried about closure of SDC water treatment plant

Click on the link below to read in the Sonoma Index-Tribune how water security throughout Sonoma Valley could be compromised by the recent closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center water treatment plant.

August 29, 2019: Letter from DDS re Security Concerns on SDC



1600 NINTH STREET, Room 300, MS 3-20 SACRAMENTO, CA 95814
(916) 654-2054 TTY (For the Hearing Impaired) (916) 654-3338

August 29, 2019

Dear Sonoma County Community Members:

The California Department of Developmental Services' (DDS) Office of Protective Services requests your assistance and support in sharing the following information with family, friends, and neighbors.

The state property of the former Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) remains open and accessible to the public, specifically pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles in non-prohibited areas. However, there are areas of the campus that remain closed to the public. Specifically, individuals are prohibited from accessing both reservoirs (for fishing or swimming), areas affected by the recent fires (including the farm area and Sunrise Industries), and all vacant buildings and parking lots. For the public's safety, and for the safety of staff members who remain on campus, these closed areas are marked with barricades, yellow tape, and signs. Entering these closed areas is considered trespassing. 

We greatly appreciate your assistance in sharing this message with the community. We are confidant that through public awareness and voluntary compliance, there will be no need for enforcement action. If voluntary compliance is not successful, officers will take the appropriate enforcement action to curtail trespassing.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Protective Services at SDC during normal business hours at (707) 938-6100.


J. Irigoyen, Chief

Office of Protective Services


Connect With Permit Sonoma

Follow the link below and  request that Permit Sonoma add you to their email list for communications regarding the SDC transition process.

$700,000 Grant to Help Protect SDC Open Space


Sonoma Land Trust has just announced receipt of a $700,000 grant from Community Foundation Sonoma County to help protect SDC open space. Click here to read the article.