Teri Shore

Teri Shore

Green Light for Greenbelts in Sonoma

In a big year-end win for greenbelts, all five Sonoma County supervisors came out strongly in favor of extending voter protections for community separators and adding to them in 2016! Community separators are one of the important tools protecting the greenbelt lands between Sonoma’s cities and towns from sprawl development.

On December 15 in a room filled with about 50 Greenbelt Alliance supporters wearing “Strengthen Community Separators” stickers, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to develop a ballot measure for November 2016 to renew county community separators. See the front page Press Democrat article for more.

All five supervisors also made a commitment to consider adding as many as 22,000 acres of priority greenbelts to community separators in a parallel public process through the General Plan. Hear it in their own words in this short KRCB radio interview.

This is a big win for greenbelts, no doubt about it! Yes, we still have work to do, but now we have a clear path forward to renewing, strengthening, and expanding community separators. So let’s celebrate now and start up fresh in the New Year!


Ballot Measure: The Sonoma County supervisors voted unanimously to develop a ballot measure to extend voter protections to the county’s eight community separators for the November 2016 general election.

  • The supervisors agreed to extend voter protections to existing and future community separators between unincorporated for 30 years.
  • They decided to keep the voter protections linked to urban growth boundaries.
  • They did not agree to add any new designations through the ballot measure. 

General Plan Amendment: They voted to designate priority greenbelts and consider designating other at-risk county lands by amending the General Plan in a parallel public process in 2016 for adoption no later than January 2017.

  • Please note that they will consider adding more than 22,000 acres of Sonoma County lands that qualify as priority greenbelts by the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. The final acreage will be determined through the public process. Lands around Penngrove and Cloverdale will also be considered. (Supervisor Rabbitt said he specifically supported adding community separators around Penngrove.)
  • The supervisors agreed to modify some of the policies including the “commercial development” loophole.

This article was updated on April 15, 2016.
Photo: harminder dhesi via Flickr

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