Proposed legislation by state Sen. Noreen Evans that would make the Sonoma Developmental Center a place of "last resort" for severely disabled clients cleared a hurdle Tuesday in Sacramento.

The Senate Committee on Health approved SB 1344, which seeks to maintain services for the most severely disabled clients should the Eldridge facility downsize or close.

The center would be the only one of its kind in Northern California to offer services to a small population of residents for whom community placement has been deemed insufficient. Sonoma County would be the lead agency in developing the plan.

Evans authored a separate bill related to the future of the developmental center property. Sentate Bill 1428 would require state officials to "confer and cooperate" with public and private entities in an improvement and redevelopment plan for the center should it be slated for major alterations.

The legislation would require any redevelopment plan to contain certain elements, including new or improved public or private residential care facilities on the site, the permanent protection and potential expansion of a wildlife habitat corridor that runs through the property and creation of public recreational facilities.