Sonoma County Community Separators

UPDATE: Measure K passed by an overwhelming majority in the November 2016 election. See the results here.

The most important green measure in Sonoma County this year is Measure K to renew voter protections for community separators–the greenbelt lands in between the county’s cities and towns–for another 20 years. Passing Measure K will protect a total of 53,576 acres of open space and farmlands from subdivision and sprawl.

For more than 20 years, Greenbelt Alliance has helped Sonoma County prevent housing tracts and shopping malls from sprawling onto rural and agricultural lands with voter protections that were passed by more than 70% in a countywide vote. Measure K requires a simple majority vote and will cost the taxpayers absolutely nothing to protect and preserve this beautiful county for the next generation.

These critical voter protections for community separators are set to expire in 2016—so voters will need to renew them or risk opening the door to new sprawl development. Without voter protections, community separators can be reduced and development can be intensified beyond allowable uses with a simple majority vote of the board of supervisors.

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 community separators now cover 53,576 acres of natural and agricultural lands. They complement the cities’ urban growth boundaries by safeguarding adjacent unincorporated lands.

Greenbelt Alliance is leading the way to renew voter protections for community separators with Measure K so that Sonoma County’s natural and agricultural landscapes are protected for years to come.

Goals

  • Ensure the passage of Measure K on the November 2016 ballot measure to keep voter protections for Sonoma County’s community separators in place for another 20 years as a key tool for protecting the county’s natural and agricultural landscapes
  • We added priority lands to existing community separators to cover more natural and agricultural lands through an amendment to Sonoma County’s general plan that will be protected by the voters with the passage of Measure K

Progress

  • December 2015: Board of Supervisors votes to develop ballot measure
  • March – June 2016: Public workshops and meetings to gather input and science on designating community separators
  • May/June 2016: Planning Commission public hearing to review draft ballot measure and general plan amendment
  • Summer 2016: Board of Supervisors public hearing to review draft ballot measure and general plan amendment
  • August 2, 2016: Board of Supervisors approved community separator designations with a General Plan amendment and finalized ballot measure for November election
  • Greenbelt Alliance partners with local allies to launch Keep Our Community Separators – Yes on Measure K campaign committee
  • November 8, 2016: Election Day for Measure K

Resources

  • Sonoma County Community Separator map
  • County website on community separators
  • Keep Our Community Separators, Yes on Measure K website
  • Poll results showing voter support for renewing and expanding community separators

Partners

Sonoma County Conservation Action, Sierra Club

Staff Contact: Teri Shore

 

Photo: harminder dhesi via Flickr

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