Sara Barz

Sara Barz

Sonoma’s sprawl-busting ballot measures

Sonoma County’s sense of place—and its deserved reputation as a vacation destination—has been preserved in large part by urban growth boundaries. In Sonoma, eight of our nine cities put urban growth boundaries in place between 1996 and 2000. Now, on November 2, voters can renew the lines in Santa Rosa and Petaluma and establish the first one in Cloverdale.

An urban growth boundary is a line drawn on a land-use map around a city. The land inside the line can be developed, while growth is restricted outside the line. This anti-sprawl policy helps protect agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and open space.

Urban growth boundaries, when coupled with transportation policies, contribute to creating livable communities. Santa Rosa is actively planning neighborhoods around its Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) stations, and the passage of its urban growth boundary will help direct growth there. All cities need to get people out of their cars and onto the train to help reduce greenhouse gas pollution, alleviate traffic, and fight global warming.

Yes on Measure O
Santa Rosa recently adopted a new general plan that sets long-term goals and planning priorities for the next 25 years. By renewing the urban growth boundary, Santa Rosa residents will be reaffirming a vision of a vibrant Santa Rosa surrounded by agricultural land.

A coalition of Santa Rosa residents, community leaders, Greenbelt Alliance,  and other local organizations are working to ensure the renewal of the urban growth boundary. Join us! Visit

Yes on Measure T
Petaluma’s urban growth boundary renewal measure will go to the voters in November. The policy has helped Petaluma create a thriving downtown and preserve working farms on its urban edge. The overwhelming support from both the community and elected officials sets an example for other cities. Visit

Yes on Measure Q
Cloverdale, the only city in the county without an urban growth boundary, is asking voters to approve an urban growth boundary. Although it extends south to include the Asti Winery, the council has included strong policies to preserve the surrounding agricultural area and allow only new winery-related uses there.

Establishing these urban growth boundaries in Petaluma, Cloverdale, and Santa Rosa is not assured. And without boundary lines, Sonoma County would lose its beautiful greenbelts.

~Amanda Bornstein
Field Representative, Greenbelt Alliance

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