Written by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Land conservation and compact, city-centered growth work together to protect Sonoma County’s working and natural lands from urban sprawl while continuing to maintain the many benefits of these lands such as local food, scenic views, greenbelts and community separators, parks and trails, clean abundant drinking water, and habitat for wildlife.
Sonoma County cities and communities maintain their small-town character because of the open spaces between them. Ensuring the protection of these lands helps maintain compact communities with easy access to natural settings. Over the past, nearly 30 years, Sonoma County Ag + Open Space has worked to preserve the region’s greenbelts and community separators by working with willing sellers to purchase conservation easements over private property.
To date, Ag + Open Space has protected 47 greenbelt properties, totaling over 11,000 acres. Some key protected greenbelt properties include distinctive peaks such as Taylor Mountain, Fitch Mountain, Sonoma Mountain, and Montini, all of which are situated right on the urban edge and provide the backdrop to daily life in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, and Sonoma, respectively. Other significant greenbelt acquisitions include a cluster of easement and fee properties in north Santa Rosa – Dogbane Preserve, Alba Lane, White I/II, St. Luke’s and Schopflin Ballfields – that maintain the buffer between Santa Rosa and Windsor. Further, several protected agricultural properties, including Brown, Young-Armos, Oken, Grossi, and Crane, help to prevent sprawl on the northern edge of Rohnert Park. Lastly, a group of farms owned by the City of Santa Rosa join with the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail, Balletto Ranch, and Carinalli Ranch to form a continuous stretch of easement-protected properties right on the urban edge of Sebastopol.
The County General Plan, local community separators, city urban growth boundaries, and various land-use policies have incentivized compact and smart growth in cities and communities, and these smart growth policies work hand in hand with land conservation efforts to maintain the rural landscape that the Sonoma County community has voted to protect.
You can protect the open spaces that make Sonoma County so special by:
- Signing our petition to renew Rohnert Park’s urban growth boundary here.
- Helping us renew the City of Sonoma’s urban growth boundary by signing this petition.
Photo: Harminder Dhesi via Flickr