For Immediate Release
Board of Supervisors to consider comprehensive vacation rental ordinance update on August 2
Santa Rosa, CA | July 29, 2022
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider updates to the Vacation Rental Ordinance at its August 2 meeting. The proposed changes create a new vacation rental license permit program, performance standards, enforcement strategies, and permanent caps on vacation rentals in areas disproportionately impacted by vacation rental businesses.
Tourism plays an important role in Sonoma County’s culture and economy, however, an overconcentration of vacation rentals can negatively impact surrounding neighborhoods. Permit Sonoma is proposing to balance these interests with an updated vacation rental ordinance and program.
On May 5, 2022, the Sonoma County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt Sonoma County Code amendments for vacation rentals. Changes recommended for adoption include:
- Prohibiting vacation rentals in rural residential (R1-zoned) neighborhoods.
- Creating the ability to designate areas where the Board of Supervisors can institute a 5 percent cap.
- Creating a Vacation Rental License that will be required for operating a vacation rental.
- Implementing more restrictive standards for structures, parking and occupancy.
- Adding a Vacation Rental Program to the Local Coastal Plan.
- Requiring a Vacation Rental License for operation.
- Restricting licenses to properties owned by natural persons or trusts.
- Limiting Vacation Rental Licenses to one per individual.
The updates to the ordinance reflect direction from the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and input from members of the public. Permit Sonoma staff held more than 20 meetings, including with every Municipal Advisory Council in the county, did outreach in conjunction with Sonoma County’s Housing Element Update, and held extensive meetings with stakeholder and industry groups.
Vacation rentals are defined as the rental of a private residence for periods of 30 days or less. Vacation Rentals do not include bed and breakfast inns or hosted rentals permitted in accordance with the Sonoma County Code for B&Bs and hosted rentals or occasional home exchanges that are not otherwise subject to the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).
If approved by the Board of Supervisors, new requirements for a Vacation Rental Program that would impact the properties in the Coastal Zone would need to be certified by the California Coastal Commission before taking effect.
Information on how to participate in the meeting and meeting materials can be found on the Board of Supervisors meeting agenda.
To submit comments to project planners, or to review project files digitally, send an email to PRMD-VacationRentals@Sonoma-County.org, call (707) 565-1900, option 5, or visit the Vacation Rental Update project website.