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Zone & Land Use Ordinance Changes

A property's land use is limited by Zoning, General Plan, and specific plan ordinances. If a property owner or tenant's desired land use contradicts the limitations in those ordinances, the use is not allowed. Otherwise the ordinance(s) must be changed or amended, which requires a vote and approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Below are the documents needed to begin the process of changing or amending Zoning, the General Plan, or specific plans.

Submit Planning Applications Electronically

Customers must submit planning applications electronically. Please follow the process to submit a planning application online:

Submit Electronic Applications

Do Not Print Out Construction Plans or Other Documents

Construction plans and documents are to be submitted electronically. Paper documents are not accepted when applying for a permit.

The instructions and forms listed below are undergoing review. Some may still contain outdated instructions to print out copies of construction plans and documents. Please ignore that instruction and submit electronically. Only print items if directly instructed by Permit Sonoma for your situation.

Instructions and Forms

Zone Change

A Zone Change can be proposed in order to do one of the following:

  • Change from one zoning district to another
  • Change the zoning density on a property
  • Remove a combining district
  • Amend the text of the Sonoma County Zoning Code

Zone Change applications can also be required as a condition of a subdivision or a lot line adjustment approval.

As all proposed changes must be consistent with adopted Area Plans and the General Plan, applicants should verify with Planning staff if an Area Plan Amendment or General Plan Amendment must be filed in conjunction with the Zone Change.

All forms and instructions listed below must be completed:

General Plan Amendment

In order to amend a General Plan land use policy, designation or density on a parcel, an application must be made for a General Plan amendment.

General Plan amendment applications are evaluated on the basis of the following:

  • Environmental constraints
  • Protection of agriculture
  • Availability of public services
  • Projected population and employment levels
  • Planning Area policies
  • Other General Plan goals, objectives, and policies

Most amendments also require a concurrent zone change and or an Area Plan amendment to maintain consistency with related plans and codes. Development plans (e.g. subdivision or use permit) are recommended to accompany the application but are not mandatory.

All forms and instructions listed below must be completed:

Specific Plan Amendment

In order to amend a specific plan's land use policy, designation, or density on a parcel, an application must be made for a Specific Plan amendment.

All forms and instructions listed below must be completed: