SonomaMtn

Apr 062019
 

SDC 3-Year Agreement Between County and State

If you are interested in details of the agreement between the State and County regarding the SDC “hybrid” transition plans, the four documents below provide a fairly robust idea of what’s going to be happening.

The State has committed to $11-12 million/year for 3 years of maintenance. The County has committed to making a Specific Plan, changing zoning, doing Design Guidelines (see current Sonoma Mountain Design Guidelines at http://sonomamountain.org/design-guidelines/), and other planning measures. All monies spent by the County on this, up to $3.5 million, will be reimbursed by the State.

Of note is that housing will definitely be part of the developed footprint mix.

Also of note going forward (though not part of the documents), is that SMP has been a part of the SDC Land Committee for several years. There is a strong collaborative vision for what should happen on the 745 acres of open space. On the 200 acres of the developed “footprint,” we have suggested creek setbacks, wildlife corridor protections, and other ecologically sustainable measures.

SDC Summary SDC Summary

Attachment A Budgetary Resolution Attachment A Budgetary Resolution

Attachment B Resolution Regarding Land Use Planning and Disposition of the SDC Site Attachment B Resolution Regarding Land Use Planning and Disposition of the SDC Site

Attachment C SDC Transition Proposal Attachment C SDC Transition Proposal

posted  4.5.19

Apr 022019
 

SDC Agreement—Woo Hoo!

Legislators Announce Tentative Agreement on Sonoma Development Center 4/2/19

ELDRIDGE – Senators Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, announced today a tentative agreement on the Sonoma Development Center that will empower neighbors, the community and the County of Sonoma to conduct a comprehensive community planning process focused on the potential future uses of the Sonoma Developmental Center, while also protecting the sacred open spaces of the undeveloped land.

The framework is the result of a three and a half year collaborative process between the Sonoma County Legislative Delegation, state agencies, and local stakeholders led by the county.

“This plan ensures a community-driven approach to the reuse of the core campus, while preserving undeveloped land as public parkland and open space,” said Sen. Dodd. “I want to thank Senator McGuire, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, the governor’s team and our local partners for all their work to get to this point. We need to leave future generations a vibrant, sustainable world, and this property should come to reflect that vision.”

“We have always committed to an open, transparent and community-driven process on the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center, and this plan will do just that,” Sen. McGuire said. “We are grateful for the partnership of Senator Dodd, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, the County of Sonoma and the Governor’s Office for the collaborative first-of-its-kind approach for the future of this sacred site.”

“I am proud of the many hours that Senator Dodd, Senator McGuire, the Administration, Sonoma County, and the community have put into making sure that the plan for the disposition of the Sonoma Developmental Center results in a safe, respectful, and beautiful property for the long term,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “This agreement takes into account the importance of local engagement and County leadership in the development of the scoping plan.”

“The state, county, and community have worked hard to pull together this agreement, the first of its kind in the State of California.  We extend sincere thank yous to our state elected delegation, state agencies and the county to get us to this point.  But this is just the beginning of the process for the community to work together to develop a vision for the future of the Sonoma Development Center in recognition of its special place in our valley,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a special hearing at 9:30 am this Friday, April 5 to hear from legislators and state agency representatives, including state General Services Director, Daniel Kim. The board is expected to vote at the hearing to direct staff to initiate the local planning process set forth in the agreement.

The deal outlines state funding for a county-managed specific plan land use process, including a robust community engagement process focused on transition and overall vision and related environmental review. During this time, which is expected to take a few years, the state will continue to control and operate the property. That includes all funding needs encompassing on-going maintenance, security, firefighting, landscaping and fire prevention. The agreement, which will be described in detail at Friday’s board meeting, will also outline the tentative plan to preserve the 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.

The Sonoma Developmental Center opened in 1891 as a state-run residential care facility dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities. Located in Eldridge near the community of Glen Ellen, the property is comprised of a developed campus covering approximately 180 acres and approximately 700 acres of open space adjacent to the Sonoma Valley Regional Park and the Jack London State Historic Park.

In the October 2015 plan for the closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center, the Department of Developmental Services recognized the unique natural and historic resources of the property and acknowledged that it was not the intent of the state to follow the traditional state surplus property process. The Department of Developmental Services concluded residential operations at the Sonoma Developmental Center in December 2018 after relocating all residents to homes in the community.

Jan 172019
 

Book Launch at Finley Community Center

March 7th 2019, 6 –8 p.m.

Join us for a celebration of Sonoma Mountain by exploring writings, photographs and maps of this natural treasure. Master storyteller and author Arthur Dawson will read from the newly released Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images and share stories told by many who know and love the mountain well. Pick up your pre-ordered books or purchase on site.

Offered in partnership with Sonoma Land Trust.

Register now: https://slt030719.eventbrite.com

Jan 172019
 

Join TrekSonoma and Sonoma Mountain Preservation

for an overnight weekend wander across our beloved Sonoma Mountain!

(Photo Credit: Ulrich Kolbe)

Saturday, April 13th – Sunday April 14th
Saturday AM to mid-afternoon Sunday

Cost: $290 per person

Wildlife ecologist Meghan Walla-Murphy and historical ecologist Arthur Dawson are joining together to tell a holistic story of our beloved mountain.  Inspired by our cherished community member Pat Eliot, we will walk amongst the spring wildflowers and share meals under the stars.  

Over two days we will walk across varied terrain, from ridge top trails and vistas of the bay to the deep dark shade of redwoods groves. April wildflowers will blanket the hillsides while we track the stories of wildlife, waters, and human history.

On Saturday night we will camp at a local vineyard and enjoy local foods prepared by a slow food gourmet.

(Limited number of work-trade scholarships available)

 

This event is already 3/4 full! Claim your spot today!

Sign-up here: https://landpaths/event

Apr 242018
 

Ten or so intrepid hikers got to spend a fabulous two days on the Mountain in mid-April, sleeping overnight on private land. Sponsored by Landpaths in honor of Pat Eliot, and led by SMP’s own Arthur Dawson and TrekSonoma’s Meghan Walla-Murphy, the trek offered amazing wildflowers, spectacular views, deep learning about plant healing properties, catered meals, and great conversations.

We hiked from North Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail to Jack London State Historic park——Cowan Meadow Trail, Mountain Trail, camping near Vineyard Trail, Coon Trap Trail (steep!!!)——up to East Slope Ridge Trail, and shuttled out through private property.

Highlights: Prolific Canyon Delphinium & Mission Bells, leafing oaks, paths lined with poppies and lupine, a mountain Lion territorial marking along Coon Trap trail.

Here are a few photos to give you a sense of place. This promises to be an annual event, so join us in 2019, marking the end of #YearofSonomaMountain.

 

Oct 252017
 

Sonoma Mountain Preservation is cosponsoring Greg Sarris’ reading from his new book, How a Mountain Was Made, on Nov. 10.

Join us at Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, California 95401, from 6-8 PM.

In How a Mountain Was Made, the creation stories of the Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok peoples come alive for settler ears to hear, and for many of us perhaps, for the first time. Sarris will talk about the importance of these creation stories for those of us dwelling in Sonoma County. There will be books for sale and Sarris will sign books after the talk.

As we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by the cataclysmic Fire in our county and similar events around the world that leave us feeling ungrounded, we turn inwardly in search of a sense of community and belonging. We find ourselves re-discovering the importance of Place and we find ourselves learning about indigenous values and the communities that carry them.

What does it mean to Dwell in Place? What does it mean to be part of indigenous history that now includes settlers like us? What does it mean to know Coyote, Fog, Squirrel, Rain, Waterbug, and Stone as Beings that want to have an ongoing relationship with Sonoma County folks? How can we cultivate that relationship of reciprocity with those beings?

How a Mountain Was Made offers us a gift of entry into this relationship. The stories make us ponder what it means to create a Home we can All call our own. The stories are beautiful, timeless, and wise. Most of all, they are Alive. Let them seep into your body.

Greg Sarris is a renowned author, scholar, teacher, and Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Jan 112017
 

Pat Eliot, one of the founders of Sonoma Mountain Preservation, died at 87 in December 2016. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and grandchildren at home on the Sonoma Mountain she loved so well.

A memorial is scheduled for April 2, 2017.

Those wishing to make a contribution in her memory to Sonoma Mountain Preservation can send it to SMP, PO Box 1772, Glen Ellen, CA. 95442-9321.

Pat (far right) leading a hike on what later became the East Slope Trail on Sonoma Mountain

Pat was born In Portland Oregon on August 2, 1929, lived there and in Seattle, WA. At age seven she moved with her family to Marin County where she attended first Dominican and then the Katherine Branson School.

In the summers when she was 14,15, and 16, she worked on the Jack London Dude Ranch, now a State Historic Park, and fell in love with that countryside.

Pat was married over 65 years to Theodore Eliot, a career Foreign Service Officer, and accompanied him to his posts in Sri Lanka (where they were married), Germany, the Soviet Union, Iran, and Afghanistan (where he was the U.S. Ambassador) and Washington DC. Their four children Sally, Ted, Wendy and Peter, were born in four different countries.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees concurrently in 1969 from the University of Maryland. The latter was in early childhood education, and she subsequently taught in a charter primary school and a special school for emotionally disturbed children in the District of Columbia.

While her husband was Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the 1970s and’80s, she was Executive Director of the Association of (non-profit) Homes for the Aging in Massachusetts and appointed by then Governor Michael Dukakis to two related statewide commissions.

The Eliots moved into a new home in Sonoma in 1988, and she concentrated her time and energies on conservation issues. Along with the late George Ellman, she founded Sonoma Mountain Preservation. It led the effort to transfer 600 acres of the Sonoma Developmental Center to the Jack London Park, and to persuade the Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance strictly protecting the scenic vistas of Sonoma Mountain.

She and her husband donated to Sonoma County a conservation easement on their property and a loop at the southern terminus of the East Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail.

Pat served on the Board of LandPaths, a countywide organization focused primarily on acquainting youths with open spaces. She was an avid reader, mostly of fiction, and belonged to two book groups, one in Santa Rosa and one in San Francisco. She also belonged to a Sonoma women’s organization that entertained monthly expert speakers on important subjects. She thoroughly enjoyed the friendships she made in all of her activities. Pat had many close friends all over the world, some of whom she had known since nursery school.

Pat was an athlete. She was a passionate horseback rider, a member of the State Parks’ Mounted Assistance Unit and of the Sonoma Development Center’s Posse. She was elected to the Sonoma Horse Council’s Hall of Fame. She has ridden across Scotland and on the Iranian Steppe. She was a passionate backpacker and climbed both Whitney and Shasta Mountains. She was also an excellent tennis player and fly fisherwoman.

In addition to her husband Ted and four children, Pat leaves nine grandchildren, Eric, Anna, Caroline, Emily, Victoria, Sam, Margaret, Tom and Katherine, and two great grandchildren Grayson and Alasdair. The family is spread from Turkey to Australia and in California, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

Other stories about Pat: http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/sonoma-county-news-article-6149.html

Big Birder, Bigger Heart

www.sonomanews.com/news/6397811-181/sonoma-mountain-protector-pateliot

Jul 242016
 

 The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors decided to approve the community separator ballot measure and proposed additions of lands with the changes below, which will be finalized at the August 2 2016 supervisors meeting on the Consent Calendar (public hearing closed, no more public comment unless more changes are made).

Thanks to Teri Shore of Greenbelt alliance for this summary. Results:
 
Ballot Measure Sunset Date – 20 years (instead of 30)
 
Shorter term of voter protections supported by all five supervisors.
 
No other significant changes to the ballot measure language or general plan provisions!
 
Community Separator Lands
 
1st District – All Sonoma Valley Lands Included as Proposed – thanks to Sup. Gorin!
 
2nd District – Removal of parcels on Frates Road and large priority greenbelt wetlands south of Petaluma along Lakeville Highway– by Sup. Rabbitt
 
3rd District – No changes by Sup. Zane
 
4th District – Significant reduction in the Cloverdale-Healdsburg Community Separator by about 75 percent – by Sup. Gore
 
5th District – All Santa Rosa-Sebastopol area additions supported as proposed by Sup. Carrillo!
 
Other issues and polices
 
No affordable housing exemption proposed or added!
 
The old policy that allows commercial projects in community separators in exchange for open space protection or “public benefit” was finally removed for good! (Policy ORSC 1 c).
 
As already allowed, farmworker housing in community separators must follow current county code. No change here but clarification added due to last minute request by wine industry.
 
While we didn’t get everything that was proposed by the excellent staff at PRMD and approved by the Planning Commission, we are close to a significant win for our green spaces. We could not have done it without you!
Dec 292015
 

Five of the “community separators” set to expire at the end of 2016 surround Sonoma Mountain. Some of them are linked directly to wildlife corridors that allow travel from the Mayacamas to the mountain and beyond.

Twenty years ago, voters countywide adopted an initiative to preserve these sorts of green places between Sonoma’s towns and cities. The County Board of Supervisors is now developing a ballot measure to renew voter protections.

The community separators have prevented housing tracts and shopping malls from sprawling into these open space buffers, ensuring that significant stretches of natural and working lands between our communities continue to thrive and grow. See Maps of Sonoma County Community Separators.

Sonoma County’s community separator policy prevents county leaders from approving major housing, commercial, and industrial development in designated lands between towns and cities. These popular voter-backed protections passed with more than 70% of the vote. Greenbelt Alliance is leading the way to renew and strengthen the voter mandate that protects community separators from Petaluma and Sonoma to Windsor and Healdsburg.

The purpose of community separators is three-fold—they serve as green buffers between cities and towns, contain urban development, and preserve the rural charm of Sonoma County’s landscape. The county’s eight community separators cover 17,000 acres of natural and farm lands. These policies complement the cities’ urban growth boundaries, which designate where a city can and cannot develop, by safeguarding adjacent unincorporated lands.

In addition to protecting green zones between communities from sprawl, community separators preserve farmlands, waterways, drinking water, groundwater recharge areas, wildlife corridors, water quality, hillsides, woodlands, and much more.

Greenbelt Alliance and other conservation organizations are advocating for enhancement and strengthening of our community separators, reminding us that. urgent needs for housing can be met within the footprint of our towns and cities.

Thanks to Greenbelt Alliance’s blog for sharing this article! If you’d like to get involved in the campaign, contact Teri Shore at tshore@greenbelt.org

May 312015
 

Under the great dome of time

From deep in the slow moving earth

A mountain lifts its crest into the heavens

Sun and frost

Wind and rain

Soil makers

Working their ways

For trees, flowers grass and seeds

Feeder of birds and beasts

Day and night

Watcher of countless seasons

That arise and pass away

And the silent mountain stands

 

Nestled in soft soil

An acorn’s root goes deep

Slowly ever slowly

The promise that was held

Perfectly in the seed

Becomes a mighty oak

A home and pantry for the birds, for insects

And a multitude of tiny lives

A hopping place for squirrels

A place of shade for deer and fox and mice

And the great oak grows

And the beauty mountain stands in silencesonoma mountain oak tree

 

Then came the hunters, acorn gatherers

Sacred Mountain worshipers

For ten thousand years they came

And they were happy

The workers of the land, they came

The cattlemen

The orchard men

The tenders of the vine

Fathers, mothers, children, pioneers

They came in waves

And flourished

And the Valley of the Moon held and fed them all

And the mighty oak was witness

And the mountain called Sonoma

Stood beside them in its beauty

Then came a man called Jack

With Charmain his beloved wife

A Beauty Ranch was born

Their place of happiness, hope and friendships

A cottage built

Books written

Vines planted heavy with fruit

A Big House rose amidst the redwoods

But alas, a great flame took the house away

One day Jack spoke to Charmain

And this is what he said

He said

“If I would beat you to it,

I wouldn’t mined if you laid my ashes on the knoll

where the children of the pioneers are buried.

and roll over me a red boulder

from the ruins of the Big House”

Then he too was taken

And the great oak saw it all

And the mountain called Sonoma stood in silence

 

Three hundred years

Maybe four

The old oak nears its passage

A child of some distant parent

The parent of a child

It now becomes

Passing an ancient linage

On into the future

So be our lives

We dwellers of the Valley

A chain of love and hope

From hand to hand be given

Recalling now and then

To offer up our gratitude

To these, the watchers of our lives

Our sacred guardians

This mighty oak

And this

The silent beauty mountain called Sonoma

 

by Michael Sheffield

copyright 2015

www.mountainandpine.com

Thanks to poet Michael Sheffield for sharing this poem, read by him at both the Jack London State Park oak tree planting and Sonoma Arbor Day, 2015.