The April 5, 2019 agreement between the State of California and Sonoma County outlines a tentative plan to preserve the SDC's open space and woodlands as public parkland and wildlife habitat. This preservation of open space could include a future collaboration with state parks, regional parks, or a combination. We want to ensure that public access will continue through the next three years and urge the community to be mindful when using the property. The community should partner with other groups to create a volunteer plan to help the state maintain public access and patrol the lands.
As for redevelopment of the SDC core campus, the community must be closely integrated into the land use planning process, starting at the very first stages and continuing throughout the three years it will take to successfully complete the Specific Plan.
Some important points to keep in mind:
1. Economically viable land uses must be included on the Eldridge site, but at the same time we need to ensure that uses are compatible with the wildlife corridor, Sonoma Valley, and our community, which surrounds the property.
2. This is not the time to be pushing special interests for the site. Further along in the planning process, specific land use alternatives can be suggested.
3. Warm shutdown is the state’s responsibility. As the property transfers from the Department of Developmental Services to the Department of General Services, long-time employees with institutional knowledge are being replaced by staff who are not familiar with the site. What will warm shutdown look like when DGS takes over in July 2019?
4. Interim use of viable buildings and facilities should be considered once the property is transferred to DGS.
5. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work - three years is not that long!