Sonoma County Community Separators


The most important green measure in Sonoma County this year is the renewal and strengthening of voter protections for “community separators”—the greenbelt lands in between the county’s cities and towns.

For more than 20 years, we’ve prevented housing tracts and shopping malls from sprawling onto rural and agricultural lands with voter protections that were passed by more than 70% in a countywide vote.

Now that these critical voter protections for community separators are set to expire in 2016—voters will need to renew them or risk opening the door to new sprawl development. Without voter protections, community separators can be reduced and development can be intensified beyond allowable uses with a simple majority vote of the board of supervisors.

The purpose of community separators is three-fold—they serve as green buffers between cities and towns, contain urban development, and preserve the rural charm of Sonoma County’s landscape. The county’s eight community separators cover 17,000 acres of natural and agricultural lands. These policies complement the cities’ urban growth boundaries by safeguarding adjacent unincorporated lands.

Greenbelt Alliance is leading the way to renew and strengthen voter protections for community separators so that Sonoma County’s natural and agricultural landscapes are protected for years to come.

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