Sonoma County Supes put Community Separator measure on ballot
Posted on August 2, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to renew longstanding protections for green buffers between towns and cities for another 20 years with a ballot measure requiring a countywide majority vote in the November General Election.
The Community Separator Protection Ordinance would extend existing protections for rural open space and agricultural lands designated as community separators by preventing conversion to shopping malls, housing tracts or resort hotels without a vote of the people.
No taxes or fees are part of the ballot measure nor does it change existing land use or property taxes.
The supervisors also added lands to the existing eight community separators and established a new community separator between Healdsburg and Cloverdale.
“This is the most important greenbelt policy measure in Sonoma County in decades,” said Teri Shore, Regional Director for Greenbelt Alliance in Santa Rosa. “It will preserve what we have and hold back sprawl for the next generation.”
Community separators have protected Sonoma County from the sprawl seen elsewhere, Shore said, and combined with Urban Growth Boundaries, “they form the backbone of city-centered growth policies dating back more than two decades.”
The Community Separator Protection Ordinance will protect a total of 53,576 acres of rural open space and farmlands from subdivision and sprawl. The community separators remain in place whether or not the ballot measure passes.
Proponents say community separators have three prime functions: they serve as green buffers between cities and towns, contain urban development, and preserve the rural charm undeveloped landscape. These policies complement the cities’ urban growth boundaries by safeguarding adjacent unincorporated lands, Shore said.