Valley Forum: Renew the Urban Growth Boundary

A strong UGB will ensure a healthy Sonoma for the future.|

The Citizens to Renew the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary supports the revised draft of the UGB ballot measure to renew the existing boundary for another 20 years with a vote of the people in November 2020.

We also are urging the City Council to retain key provisions to maintain the 5-acre gross maximum acreage per year for a total of 20 acres over 20 years for affordable housing exemptions made without a vote of the people. A “net footprint” approach as proposed is inconsistent with the city Development Code.

The City Council should also retain provisions that there is no other place to build affordable housing within the UGB before making the exemption. Leaving it out automatically expands the boundary by 20 acres and it allows the City Council to make an exemption for any affordable housing development proposed outside the UGB. That is not the intent of the UGB or the voters. Such an exemption should occur only as a last resort and in-depth analysis.

A vote of four out of five City Council members should be required to make exemptions to the Urban Growth Boundary without a vote of the people.

The Citizens to Renew City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary was formed by Sonoma community residents and business owners. It is registered with the state Fair Political Practices Commission as a 501c(4) organization. The steering committee includes myself, Jack Ding, as treasurer; Vic Conforti, architect; Carol Marcus, architect and former Sonoma Architectural Review Commissioner; Nancy Evers Kirwan, community activist; Johanna Patri, American Institute of Certified Planners; Bill Willers, architect and former Sonoma Planning Commissioner; and Teri Shore, regional director, North Bay, Greenbelt Alliance.

We are grateful to live and work here in Sonoma. Although it is small, the strength of our community is tremendous and unmatched. We must continue to honor and cultivate Sonoma’s legacy to ensure that, when we pass on our city to the next generation, it will be even more beautiful, healthy, and strong, both structurally and economically.

Our detailed comment letter and a matrix of proposed changes to the draft UGB measure can be found on our website We will work hard to pass the UGB ballot measure in November.

Jack Ding is a Sonoma resident and treasurer for the Citizens to Renew the Urban Growth Boundary.

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