Sustainable Sonoma was formed to take action on solutions to our community’s biggest challenges. First we have to know what the community’s top priorities are – and to that end a Valley-wide survey was conducted by Sustainable Sonoma over several months. Now the results are in, and the number-one priority can be summarized in two words: housing affordability.
The survey, conducted over 20 “listening sessions” held around Sonoma Valley between March and October of this year, gathered input from specific neighborhoods as well as from Latinos, seniors, business owners, youths and other interest groups. An online version of the survey was available to the public, and in all cases the same nine questions were asked, eliciting responses on such topics as housing, health, land use, open space, transportation, and youths. Approximately 350 respondents provided over 1,600 specific comments in the survey.
By any measure, housing affordability was the most frequently voiced hope for the future among those surveyed, with many saying they’d like to see a greater diversity of housing prices and types in Sonoma Valley. In a representative comment, one respondent stated a desire to “Allow innovative housing development, via granny units, tiny houses.” Many respondents simply said “Rent is too high.”
The next most commonly expressed category of comments was that the Valley needs more and better ways of getting around, including public transit, bicycling and walking. Other top priorities included the need to protect our open space, and the importance of a fair, diverse community that provides access and opportunity for all, including young people.
Sustainable Sonoma will use these findings to inform its choice of which issues to take action on first. A full report on the findings is available at www.sustainablesonoma.net/listening-sessions-report.