Sonoma City Hall, where the future of the City of Sonoma General Plan will be decided.

City of Sonoma Ready to Renew Urban Growth Boundary

The City of Sonoma is moving forward to renew its existing Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) for another 20 years! This is great news for open space, agricultural lands, and climate-wise city-centered growth.

After a robust discussion and hearing from a crowd who care deeply about the community and environment, city leaders agreed unanimously to ask voters to renew the UGB with a ballot measure in the November 2020 election.  

Next steps will be to finalize the ballot measure with public review at upcoming City Council and Planning Commission meetings.

Mayor Logan Harvey and Chair Robert Felder presided over the special joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commissioner on Jan. 27 at Vintage House. The City Manager Cathy Capriola and her staff provided a draft Urban Growth Boundary measure for public review. 

Greenbelt Alliance’s Teri Shore and members of the Citizens to Renew the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary including Bill Willers, Carol Marcus, Jack Ding, Johanna Patri, and Vic Conforti made the case for a 20-year UGB renewal. Tom Conlon of Sierra Club also provided convincing testimony. Sonoma County Conservation Action sent in a letter urging a 20-year renewal. And many community members signed petitions and sent letters urging renewal of the UGB.

For those concerned about affordable homes, the revised Urban Growth Boundary is slated to contain stronger provisions requiring 100 percent affordability to qualify for an exemption from the City Council to go beyond the UGB as a last resort if there is nowhere to build inside the boundary.  

Why Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary is Important

Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary is a line beyond which its city border cannot extend and development cannot occur without majority voter approval by its citizens. The UGB has served the city well for 20 years and now it needs to be renewed before voter protections expire.

The purpose of the Urban Growth Boundary is to:

  • Protect open space and farmland
  • Promote city-centered growth where public services already exist
  • Preserve Sonoma’s rural and small scale character
  • Encourage a diverse, climate-wise and healthy community
  • Keep the voice of voters central in deciding the city’s future

Sonoma’s current Urban Growth Boundary was placed on the ballot through the initiative process, approved by 64% of voters in 1999, and went into effect in 2000 for a period of 20 years. Now the City of Sonoma plans to place a renewal measure on the November 2020 ballot for voters to decide on renewing the UGB for another 20 years.

Learn more and support the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary renewal here.

Contact Teri Shore, North Bay Regional Director for questions about the UGB or other North Bay initiatives.

Photo: Jenn Via Flickr

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