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

City of Sonoma UGB Renewal in Final Stretch

The renewal measure for the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is nearly ready to go to a vote of the people for the November 3, 2020 ballot. If passed, it will renew the existing UGB for another 20 years with stronger provisions for affordable housing exemptions. For more background information on this, click here.

The Urban Growth Boundary renewal measure was fine-tuned at a recent City Council meeting when several recommendations were added at the request of Greenbelt Alliance and the Citizens to Renew the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary. See our opinion piece in the Sonoma Index Tribune.

The official reading of the final measure is set for June 29 to meet the deadline for submission to the Registrar of Voters for the General Election. The final version of the UGB ballot measure as proposed is posted here.

Unless the City staff or Council make last-minute changes, the stronger provisions would allow for land outside the UGB to be added to the city without a vote of the people for 100 percent affordable housing, but only if the following conditions must be met:

  • Land is adjacent to the existing Urban Growth Boundary
  • Five acres per year gross maximum
  • 20 acres gross over 20 years maximum
  • 100% affordable housing – of which 51% must be designated for Low – Very Low income households
  • Four out of five City Council members must approve the exemption

At the same time, the City Council removed several other provisions we supported that would make it harder to make exemptions to build outside the Urban Growth Boundary without a vote of the people, such as only allowing the exemption if needed to meet state housing law or if there was nowhere else to build in the UGB. While we did not support the removals of these provisions because they tend to favor sprawl over climate-smart infill development, we believe that the stronger provisions above will ensure that the intent and implementation of the UGB is maintained for the next generation.

Greenbelt Alliance worked with the community, City Council and City staff for more than two years to bring the renewal measure back for a vote of the people. We will keep you in the loop as the measure is finalized and we launch a campaign later this summer.

Take Action!

Tell Sonoma’s City Council you support the renewal of the Urban Growth Boundary ahead of their June 29 meeting by signing our petition and sending them an email here!

Contact North Bay Regional Director, Teri Shore, with any questions you have on Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary.

Photo: Jenn via Flickr

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