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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Zoning

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What is the Zoning for my property?

Permit Sonoma maintains current parcel-specific zoning for properties within Sonoma County jurisdiction. (For properties within incorporated city boundaries, contact your city government.)

Find Out Online

You can search for your property's zoning information by visiting our Zoning & Parcel Report page. (Search by Assessor Parcel Number (APN) or by street address.)

Information explaining the regulations that pertain to each zoning district are also available on our Zoning Codes page.

Find Out by Email or Phone

Contact Permit Sonoma by email or phone. Please provide the parcel number or the street address and the owner's name.

Is my property located in the County or a City?

Find Out Online

You can find out your property's jurisdiction by searching for the property's Zoning & Parcel Report. (Search by Assessor Parcel Number (APN) or by street address.)

Find Out by Looking at Your Property Tax Bill

You can find out your property's jurisdiction by looking for the Tax Rate Area (TRA) number on your tax bill as shown below. If the TRA number begins with two zeroes, the property is located within a City. If the TRA number is 010-000 or greater, the property is within County jurisdiction.

Tax Rate Area (TRA) Jurisdiction Table

Below is a listing of the jurisdictions and corresponding TRA number:

TRA Number Jurisdiction
010-000 or greater County of Sonoma
001-xxx City of Cloverdale
002-xxx City of Healdsburg
003-xxx City of Petaluma
004-xxx City of Santa Rosa
005-xxx City of Sebastopol
006-xxx City of Sonoma
007-xxx City of Rohnert Park
008-xxx City of Cotati
009-xxx Town of Windsor

For your permitting and land use needs within an incorporated city:
Visit your city's website

Find Out by Email or Phone

Contact Permit Sonoma by email or phone. Please provide the parcel number or the street address and the owner's name.

How do I find out my Assessor Parcel Number (APN)?

The APN can be found in one of two ways:

  1. Search online for Property Tax Record Information
  2. On your annual property tax bill as shown below:

My proposed use is not listed in the zoning ordinance. How do I find out if I can do it?

Every situation is different, so you should begin by consulting Permit Sonoma, Planning staff. Each zoning district identifies the specific land uses that are allowed, either as a “permitted use” or with a Use Permit. If your proposed use is not listed, it may not be allowed, or it may be that your proposed use is similar to one of the uses that is allowed. You may request a formal determination from Permit Sonoma on this question. To do so, you should detail the proposed request in writing and submit it to the Project Review section of Permit Sonoma. A fee may be charged for this review.

What is the difference between maximum density and minimum lot size?

The maximum density is the number of lots or units that can be created through subdivision or developed on a parcel. The minimum lot size is the smallest that any of the lots can be.

Can I get a variance to maximum residential density or for a use not allowed by the zoning?

Under state law, variances can only be granted for zoning ordinance development standards such as structural setback standards. To change residential density or type of use, a zone change (rezoning) is required, and possibly a General Plan Amendment.

Is my parcel buildable?

A parcel’s buildability depends upon constraints including parcel size and shape, slope, proximity to floodplain, soil suitability for foundations and septic systems, and water availability. Any structures will have to meet zoning ordinance setbacks from property lines, building code requirements for foundation and building design, health codes for water supply and sewage disposal, and fire codes.

What are the required building setbacks?

Building setback requirements vary depending on the zoning of your property. Call the Planner Phone at (707) 565-1900 during planning phone hours to verify zoning for a specific parcel. If the parcel is 1 acre or larger, Fire Safe Standards require a setback of 30 feet from all property lines, unless reduced by the Fire Marshal. Greater building setbacks or building envelopes may apply if required as part of a subdivision approval when the lot was created. This information is available at the Permit Sonoma office.

How can zoning setbacks be reduced?

Many zoning districts allow front yard setback reductions if other nearby houses are close to the street. This is called "yard averaging." In rural areas, setbacks may be reduced if unusual circumstances exist and neighbors support the proposed yard reduction and in such cases, a Zoning Permit is required. In some zoning districts, a Use Permit or Variance with a public hearing is required. Any proposed reduction in zoning setbacks should be discussed thoroughly with Permit Sonoma staff before plans are prepared.

Can I subdivide my land?

Many factors affect subdivision potential. Property owners should discuss their proposal with Permit Sonoma staff at the Planning Cubicle before proceeding with any subdivision plans. Subdivisions are regulated by state law as well as County regulations.

If your property is eligible for a subdivision, you must submit a complete application including a “tentative” subdivision map prepared by a licensed surveyor or engineer, and pay the necessary processing fees. Proposed subdivisions must meet the following conditions:

  • Subdivisions must be consistent with the County’s General Plan, Zoning Code, and with the state Subdivision Map Act.
  • Adequate sewage disposal and water supply must be demonstrated.
  • Subdivisions are subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • A public hearing is held before:

Property owners within 300 feet of the property to be subdivided are notified and have an opportunity to speak at the public hearing.