February 28, 2020
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City of RP Updates

Don Schwartz
What is the UGB and why is its renewal on the ballot?
September 27, 2019

The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is a line that surrounds Rohnert Park and defines the geographic limit of urban development, which requires one or more basic municipal services such as water, sewer and storm drains. The voters of the city approved the current location of the UGB in 2000, which expires at the end of 2020. 

The city council has placed a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot for the voters to decide whether or not the UGB should be renewed. The purpose of the UGB is to encourage efficient growth, protect hills, farms and fields to the east and west of the city, focus growth within the boundary, and allow housing where services and infrastructure can be provided cost effectively and with fewer environmental impacts.

There is one minor change to the location of the UGB on the upcoming ballot measure. This change is due to a modification of the city’s Sphere of Influence. The Sphere of Influence is a planning boundary that designates the city’s probable future boundary and service area. The boundaries of the Sphere of Influence are decided by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) of Sonoma County.

In 2002, the city worked with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to change the city’s Sphere of Influence. This change left approximately 80 acres of land outside the city’s approved Sphere of Influence but inside the voter-approved UGB. Thus, the proposed UGB boundary on the Nov. ballot excludes the 80 acres of land so that the UGB and Sphere of Influence coincide. The 80 acres of land is located on the southwest corner of Valley House Road and Petaluma Hill Road. 

If the UGB is renewed by the voters at the Nov. 5 election, the voter-approved boundary will remain in place until it expires in 2040, with a few exceptions. It would require a popular vote to change the UGB, unless a modification is made to protect agricultural lands and open space, or to bring in lands for the purpose of natural resource protection, parks and open space maintenance, and/or wastewater treatment and disposal. In these cases, a majority of the city council could approve an UGB modification.   In addition, after 2035, the UGB could be amended by a majority of the council for affordable housing purposes.

The city council has placed the UGB renewal on the ballot so that Rohnert Park voters can decide on this important issue. Your vote matters!