File #: 2019-1544   
Type: Consent Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 10/4/2019 In control: Permit and Resource Management
On agenda: 12/17/2019 Final action:
Title: Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan State Agreement and Planning Services Contract
Department or Agency Name(s): Permit and Resource Management
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. ATT 1 Draft Resolution of the Board of Supervisors DGS Agreement.pdf, 3. ATT 2 Draft Resolution of the Board of Supervisors Consultant Contract for Specific Plan.pdf, 4. ATT 2 EX A SDC Dyett and Bhatia Agreement.pdf
Related files: 2023-0830, 2022-0911

To: Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): Permit Sonoma

Staff Name and Phone Number: Milan Nevajda, 707-565-2336

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): First




Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan State Agreement and Planning Services Contract



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

A)                     Authorize the Director Permit Sonoma to execute an agreement with the State of California Department of General Services (DGS) per Government Code Section 14670.10.5 and accept $3.5 million from DGS to prepare a Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report for the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC); and

B)                     Authorize the Director of Permit Sonoma to execute an agreement with Dyett & Bhatia to prepare the Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in the amount of $1,475,949.

(First District)



Executive Summary:


On April 5, 2019 the Board of Supervisors adopted resolutions directing staff to initiate and manage a comprehensive and expedited land use planning process for the SDC, and authorizing a budget adjustment for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 for up to $150,000 to be utilized at the discretion of the Permit Sonoma Director for the associated planning work. The Board’s approval was contingent upon securing requisite funding from the State to prepare a Specific Plan and EIR for the SDC.


This item presents a proposed Agreement (Att. 1) between the County and DGS, consistent with Government Code Section 14670.10.5, wherein the County agrees to provide planning services to prepare a Specific Plan for the SDC, and DGS agrees to transfer $3.5 million to the County for the preparation of the plan and all related services, including work completed prior to the commencement of the Agreement related to the Specific Plan.


With the Board’s approval in April 2019 to commence with planning services for the SDC, Permit Sonoma prepared and released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to prepare a Specific Plan and EIR for the SDC. Three firms submitted a proposal in response to the solicitation. This Board item presents a contract agreement (Att. 2) between Permit Sonoma and the preferred consultant, Dyett & Bhatia (D&B), totaling $1,475,949 over three years.


On April 5, 2019 the Board of Supervisors authorized the preparation of the Specific Plan effort contingent upon receiving funding through the California Department of General Services. The Board, in the same action, authorized $150,000 in the 2019-2020 budget to authorize funds for Permit Sonoma to continue planning efforts towards a Specific Plan-specifically, the prepare a Request for Proposal and secure a consultant to assist the County in preparing the Specific Plan. Since April, the State passed a budget trailer bill to enact Government Code Section 14670.10.5, which established the joint state-county partnership towards the preparation of a Specific Plan for the SDC wherein the State shall fund the County’s effort to prepare a Specific Plan for the site. Pursuant to Government Code Section 14670.10.5, the State 2019-2020 budget provides a $3.5 million one-time General Fund appropriation of $3.5 million allocated to Sonoma County for the Specific Plan.  Attachment 1 provides the contract with the Department of General Services for the lump sum transfer of $3.5 million up front to backfill the Board’s $150,000 appropriation in July and fund the 3 year Specific Plan process through Permit Sonoma.




The County of Sonoma is embarking on a major planning effort involving the development of a Specific Plan to facilitate the transformation of the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) property in Sonoma Valley. The SDC was one of the oldest state-run developmental centers in California and has served individuals with developmental disabilities since 1891. At one time, SDC was the largest employer in Sonoma County, employing approximately 1,300 nursing, professional and administrative staff.


The 945 acre SDC site is located in central Sonoma Valley adjacent to Jack London State Park and the Sonoma Valley Regional Park in the community of Glen Ellen. The SDC project area is bisected by Arnold Drive, which is a major arterial that serves as an alternate route to Highway 12 in Sonoma Valley.


In May 2015, the State of California announced its plan to close all Developmental Centers. The plan included the closure of the SDC by the end of 2018, including finding community homes for over 300 residents. Patient care terminated at the end of 2018, and the State initiated the formal transfer of the site from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to the California Department of General Services (DGS). With the transfer to DGS, the site entered into a “warm shut down” mode to transition the workspace, surplus personal property, and move equipment and patient files.


The State and Sonoma County have been working towards an alternative approach to the surplus process for this unique facility given its significance and the degree of community interest. During the closure process, the State hired a professional planning consulting team to prepare a site assessment and outline a disposition process. A coalition of interested stakeholders was formed that have been actively engaged in the planning process and continue to meet regularly to identify goals for the transition of the site, and to assess the potential impact on the local community, and share community concerns.


Following years of planning and coordination, on April 5, 2019, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize preparation of a Specific Plan for the SDC contingent on financial support from the State. On April 19, 2019 the Department of Finance submitted a proposed trailer bill amendment to the State budget for funding that includes decommissioning and warm shutdown costs for the SDC, as well as costs for a Sonoma County-led Specific Plan effort.


A Specific Plan is needed to represent the community’s vision and facilitate the site’s redevelopment. The overall goal of the Specific Plan effort is to guide future development to achieve an attractive and sustainable vision, which includes viable mixed uses and economic development, affordable housing opportunities, open space and resource conservation, cultural and historical preservation. The development articulated through the Specific Plan must be compatible in scale with the surrounding community, and consistent with State, County, and community goals.


County-DGS Agreement

County and DGS staff and counsel have finalized an agreement implementing Government Code Section 14670.10.5 (Att. 1), securing the funding that is necessary to enter into the planning contract for preparation of the Specific Plan.


Agreement for Consultant Services

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released May 24, 2019 and Permit Sonoma staff included extensive marketing to prospective consultants. The RFP highlighted the following goals and objectives for the SDC Specific Plan:

1.                     Prepare a proposal not to exceed $1.45 million

2.                     Prepare a work plan allowing County to complete environmental review and a proposed Specific Plan for Board of Supervisors consideration by December, 2021.

3.                     Inform, engage, and solicit input from all segments of the community in the process.

4.                     Prepare a market demand analysis that will guide the selection of the land use alternatives toward a realistic development scenario.

5.                     Identify the infrastructure and public service needs, and associated costs, to facilitate future development under the Specific Plan.

6.                     Explore alternatives for reuse of existing facilities and buildings.

7.                     Establish a land use and policy framework to guide future redevelopment of the area that is compatible and in character with the surrounding community.

8.                     Ensure that the plan is designed to promote a healthy neighborhood and enhance opportunities for alternative modes of transportation.

9.                     Develop design guidelines that promote an attractive and vibrant, pedestrian and bicycle friendly community.

10.                     Develop a plan to connect to and preserve open space and natural resource areas, including wildlife corridors within the campus area.

11.                     Prepare an Implementation and Financing Plan to facilitate improvements in accordance with the Specific Plan.

12.                     Prepare a Program Environmental Impact Report in compliance with CEQA, which will facilitate future development in accordance with the proposed Specific Plan. The planning document and CEQA analysis will be integrated to create a self-mitigating plan.


Key challenges with SDC redevelopment were also identified; these include:

1.                     Context. The site is within the established semirural community of Glen Ellen and partially surrounded by open space lands that are actively used by the public. The site has been accessible to the public for decades.

2.                     Circulation and Access. The site is accessed by one main road, Arnold Drive, which also provides access to Glen Ellen and is a major commuter arterial between Glen Ellen/Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Arnold Drive is used as an alternate route to Highway 12.

3.                     Community Engagement. The community has a strong interest in planning for the site’s future due to its location and scope, including its relationship to nearby Glen Ellen village. Any future plan will emerge from community input and support. Design guidelines must respect local context: existing design guidelines for Glen Ellen, as well as Sonoma Mountain, shall be consulted and considered in the design of the site.

4.                     Infrastructure. The existing SDC central plant and infrastructure is aging, yet there may be opportunities for adaptive reuse of some of the facilities and buildings.

5.                     Existing Built Fabric. The campus is relatively densely developed and this portion of the site has an existing street and sidewalk network that is well-planned in terms of open spaces and landscaping. Existing buildings provide opportunities and challenges for reuse; the campus design provides aesthetic amenities and wildlife corridors.

6.                     Wildfire Risk. Public safety is an important concern because of the amount of forested lands on the site; the property was affected by the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fire. Long term fire protection services will need to be identified in the Specific Plan.

7.                     Historical Resources. SDC maintains historical significance for Sonoma Valley. There are several historic structures that are eligible for the National and State Historic Registries, an existing cemetery, and the site may have other significant cultural resources. The historical significance of the site’s structures and grounds-including the demolition thereof-must be fully analyzed in the Specific Plan environmental document.

8.                     Wildlife Corridor. The campus itself is in the pinch point of a wildlife corridor and design features are needed to maintain and, if possible, enhance this heavily used corridor. It is the intent of the State Legislature and the County that the lands outside the core developed campus and its related infrastructure be preserved as open space. Limited planning in open space areas will be needed, however the interaction between developed portions of the site and open space and recreation areas must be defined.

9.                     Contamination and Redevelopment Feasibility. Limited-scope Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments were prepared for the property and found hazardous materials and contamination within buildings and on the grounds; remediation must be factored into considerations for redevelopment feasibility and marketability analyses.


The evaluation criteria for prospective bidders was clearly identified in the RFP, as outlined below:

1.                     30% - Demonstrated ability to perform the services described

2.                     25% - Project schedule, management, and ability to perform the work on schedule;

3.                     20% - Community Engagement Plan and experience in community engagement;

4.                     20% - Hours proposed and cost relative to the scope of services;

5.                     5% - Local Service Provider status.


Bidders were advised that any proposed work beyond that scope requested in this RFP, including tasks that may be expanded versions of the scope identified, should be costed separately and clearly identified as “optional” within the proposed scope of work.


A pre-proposal conference was held on June 5, 2019. Three proposals were received by the July 12, 2019 deadline. The County evaluated three proposals based on criteria established within the RFP. The proposals included:

1.                     Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). Proposed services for $1,450,000.

2.                     Dyett and Bhatia (D&B). Proposed services for $1,443,449.

3.                     Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT). Proposed services for $1,788,967, with an expanded (optional) scope totaling $1,934,600.


Because the WRT base proposal exceeded the not-to-exceed contract amount, and other qualified proposals were submitted, WRT was not permitted to proceed to interviews and further consideration of their application. Furthermore, the WRT base project included considerable reliance on County staff for completion of the project. Interviews with D&B and SOM were conducted in early August with a panel of five reviewers. Dyett & Bhatia was unanimously chosen as the preferred vendor by the review panel, due to the following critical strengths:


A draft Agreement between Sonoma County and DGS implementing Government Code Section 14670.10.5 was finalized in November 2019 (Att. 1), securing the funding that is necessary to enter into the planning contract with D&B for preparation of the Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report.

1.                     D&B had the greatest depth of experience with preparing Specific Plans in a similar context or that addressed similar issues as those that are relevant to the SDC.

2.                     D&B clearly identified the strategic approach to managing a project on an aggressive schedule, and demonstrated a capacity to manage the project accordingly, including assigning principal-level staff to the project team;

3.                     D&B’s scope addressed all of the needs identified in the RFP. The subconsultants chosen for the D&B proposal have worked together successfully in multiple similar projects. The consultant team also showed an appropriate alignment to the needs of the project; specifically that appropriate resources were allocated to analyzing infrastructure, economic, and redevelopment feasibility. The consultant team also had a demonstrable capacity and expertise to evolve to meet the project.

4.                     The community engagement strategy was highly developed and included multiple layers of engagement with the public.


Through contract negotiations with D&B, scope amendments were prepared to refine the scope of work further and to include optional tasks. The changes included:

1.                     Allocating additional infrastructure analysis during the alternatives development phase, including the costs associated with providing the necessary infrastructure to support redevelopment of the site and the feasibility of phased infrastructure development.

2.                     Expanding the pro forma analysis of development feasibility.

3.                     An optional limited Phase II Environmental Investigation for targeted testing.


With the adjusted scope, inclusive of the identified optional task, the contract for the D&B proposal totals $1,475,949.



Prior Board Actions:

April 5, 2019 - the Board authorized the preparation of the Specific Plan effort.


Fiscal Summary


FY 19-20 Adopted

FY20-21 Projected

FY 21-22 Projected

Budgeted Expenses




Additional Appropriation Requested




Total Expenditures




Funding Sources




General Fund/WA GF












Use of Fund Balance








Total Sources





Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

Pursuant to Government Code Section 14670.10.5, and the Agreement provided in Att. 1, California DGS will pay for the County of Sonoma, Permit Sonoma department to prepare a Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report for the SDC. The County agreement with the State on the transfer of $3.5 million to the department for preparation of the plan, and schedule a financial transfer request, are detailed in the Exhibits to Att. 1. Per the agreement, funds will be transferred up front in a lump sum to Permit Sonoma; department staff are responsible for expedient processing on the Specific Plan and EIR, as well as regular reporting to DGS on project progress. The required funds to engage with the consultant are fully compensated through the State-County agreement and therefore no financial impact to the County General Fund will occur.


Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):




ATT 1:  Draft Resolution of the Board of Supervisors DGS Agreement

ATT 2:  Draft Resolution of the Board of Supervisors Consultant Contract for Specific Plan

ATT 2 EX A:  SDC Dyett and Bhatia Agreement


Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board:

Dyett & Bhatia Proposal for Planning Services in response to Permit Sonoma Request for Proposals to prepare a Specific Plan and EIR for the SDC.


ATT 1 EX A through D:  DGS Agreement