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In January 2023, two community groups filed a lawsuit against an environment impact report (EIR) that allows large scale redevelopment at the former Sonoma Developmental Center. The lawsuit seeks to protect wildlife from out-of-scale development and humans from a flawed report on wildfire evacuation.

Here is a summary of some key issues.Adjacent to extensive wildland and parks, SDC is a pinch-point in a critical wildlife corridor that supports the movement of mountain lions, bears, bobcats and many other animals within the Sonoma Valley and as far as Marin and Lake Counties. Lions regularly use the area in and around the SDC. Because lions select tree cover and dense vegetation, Sonoma Creek running through the SDC is of utmost importance for movement of lions as well as other mammal species. Sonoma and Mill Creeks both have salmonid and other special species.The SDC plan proposes 420,000 sq. ft. of commercial including hotel, and 1,000 residential units. This means about 2,400 people will overlap with wildlife on the site.

Unfortunately, the EIR failed to do baseline studies on the wildlife and failed to provide long term protections for the wildlife corridor or ecology of the area. The wildfire evacuation report is also flawed. Evacuation to congested Highway 12 is the plan. The report declared that adding 2,400 residents and about 1,000 jobs to the site would have virtually no impact on travel time. That defies logic as well as the real-life experience of thousands of Sonoma Valley residents     desperately attempting to evacuate during the 2017 Fires and the 2020 Glass Fire. While efforts have been made to improve the evacuation process, minimizing the possibility of lengthy evacuation times is not safe or acceptable.Find more information about the  SCALE lawsuit at SCALE (, and please consider making a tax deductible donation to the lawsuit.