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Sonoma County Gazette
Mustard Fields at General Vallejo’s Property in Sonoma, protected under current UGB. Image:
Mustard Fields at General Vallejo’s Property in Sonoma, protected under current UGB. Image:

City of Sonoma Gets Unanimous Support for
Its Urban Grow Boundary Renewal

Ballot measure coming before voters in November 2020



Feb 25, 2020


By Teri Shore

The City of Sonoma is moving forward to renew its existing Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) for another 20 years by placing a ballot measure before voters in November 2020. This is great news for open space and agricultural lands and climate-wise, city-centered growth for the next generation.

Sonoma City Hall. Image:

After a robust discussion and hearing from a crowd who cared deeply about the community and environment, city leaders agreed unanimously to ask city voters to renew the existing UGB as is. Next steps will be to finalize the ballot measure text with public review at the upcoming City Council and Planning Commission meetings.

For those concerned about affordable housing, the renewed UGB is slated to contain stronger provisions requiring 100 percent

affordable housing if the City Council finds a need to allow an exemption from the UGB under certain conditions.

Mayor Logan Harvey and Chair Robert Felder presided over the special joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission on Jan. 27 at Vintage House where the UGB was discussed. The City Manager Cathy Capriola and her staff provided a draft UGB measure for public review.

Click on Image to view Sonoma County’s Large Map of Sonoma City’s UGB, City Limits, and Sphere of Influence. SOURCE: greenbelt.orgThe UGB is simply a line around the city that protects open space and ag lands. It prevents urbanization and development beyond the boundary without a majority vote of approval by its citizens. The UGB can be revised if needed at any time by going back to the voters.  It gives the community a direct voice in the future of the city.




Sonoma County’s Map of Sonoma City’s UGB, City Limits, and Sphere of Influence Map URL:

Click on Image to view Sonoma County’s Large Map of Sonoma City’s UGB, City Limits, and Sphere of Influence. SOURCE: greenbelt.orgThe city will be updating its General Plan, Housing Element and Zoning Code in the coming years to determine how the community will grow.  The Citizens to Renew the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary were there to make a solid case for the 20-year UGB renewal: Bill Willers, Carol Marcus, Jack Ding, Johanna Patri, Nancy Kirwan, and Vic Conforti.  They recently launched a new website: 

City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary and General Plan Land-Use Map URL

Greenbelt Alliance’s Teri Shore told how a 20-year renewal provides flexibility, certainty and cost savings to the city and community. Read more about Greenbelt Alliance here:

Tom Conlon of Sierra Club provided convincing testimony explaining the importance of the UGB to protect open space while encouraging walkable and bikeable neighborhoods near schools, jobs, and transit.

The Montini Open Space Preserve covered with oak woodland, large rock outcroppings, an historical rock quarry, and open grassland. Beautiful views of Sonoma Valley, San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Protected via the UGB the Montini property maintains the historic character of the ranch that has existed since the time of General Vallejo. Image:

Sonoma County Conservation Action sent in a letter urging a 20-year UGB renewal. In addition, many community members signed petitions and sent letters urging renewal of the UGB.

Housing advocates and local developers also stated support for the 20-year UGB renewal!

If the UGB is not renewed in 2020, its boundary can be modified by the vote of a simple majority on the City Council. This would put the future size of Sonoma on the ballot in every city council election, every two years. 

After a lively and informed discussion, the Council and Commission decided unanimously to place a ballot measure to renew the existing UGB for another 20 years before the voters in November 2020 before it expires.

Purpose of the Urban Growth Boundary

•  Protects open space and farmland

•  Promotes city-centered growth where public services already exist

•  Preserves Sonoma’s rural and small scale character

•  Encourages a diverse, climate-wise and healthy community

•  Keeps the voice of voters central in deciding the city’s future

•  See City Documents and Video Here: Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Id=570



Mar 9, 2020
This article paints a nice picture of the UGB's so that the public remains supportive of them ('Protects open space and farmland', 'Preserves Sonoma’s rural and small scale character'), but leaves the real purpose of UGB's out of the piece. Just like the WUI's (Wildland Urban Interface), everything outside of these boundaries will no longer receive public services. Outside of the UGB, the roads will not be maintained, and instead will be left to degrade until they are undriveable. The water systems will no longer be maintained, nor will the drainage, unless they start to affect those areas inside the UGB. Etc., etc. Same thing with the WUI's, where areas outside of these boundaries will be considered as fire hazards that endanger the rest of the communities that are within the boundaries. Even though these areas have passed fire parcel taxes, the fire-fighting strategy used will not be saving structures, but evacuation only for the residents. Why are they doing this? They want the populations more centrally located, so that they can be more easily controlled. This is not just happening in Sonoma County, but all over the world. For your own sakes, please look into this. There's plenty of info out there, and it's called 'Agenda 21', or agenda for the 21st century. The push for this has been going on for a long time.
- Karin Seritis
Mar 10, 2020
Hi Karin, I think your comments may be off-point as the UGB does not prevent maintenance of roads or services. Outside the city, the lands are within the County of Sonoma which do provide services as needed. And in fact, UGBs actually reduce wildfire risk by containing development to allow better fire protection. But I realize you are part of the Agenda 21 campaign which has different views and values. Teri Shore, Greenbelt Alliance
Mar 19, 2020
Teri~ I'm not part of the 'Agenda 21 campaign'. Far from it, as I am anti-Agenda 21. I'm pointing out that the UGB's will be used to implement Agenda 21. Everything outside of the UGB's will not be receiving services that are paid for via taxation by those that live outside of the high-density areas inside the UGB's. Don't confuse the issue.
- Karin Seritis

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