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Proposed Local Coastal Plan Update

Permit and Resource Management Department

Board of Supervisors Approves Local Coastal Plan Update

Meeting Details and Project Information

After the participation of hundreds of stakeholders, coastal advocates, and subject matter experts, the Board of Supervisors on July 17th, 2023, voted unanimously to adopt the first comprehensive update to the Local Coastal Plan in two decades.

The July 17th, 2023 Vote did the following:

  • Placed increased restrictions on industrial development including requiring a vote of the people of Sonoma County for large-scale industrial energy production facilities crossing the San Andreas fault.
  • Responded to how sea level rise has changed coastal conditions and increased risks related to climate change.
  • Added new fire prevention programs for vegetation management, defensible space, and grazing.
  • Updated public access maps to show existing and proposed future access points
  • Aligned the Local Coastal Plan’s language with the county’s right-to-farm ordinance to support agricultural uses.
  • Created additional limits to blufftop development at specific high-sensitivity sites along the coast.
  • Revised pesticide regulations to further protect fragile coast ecosystems.
  • Clarified reference maps for habitat review and to support agricultural uses.
  • Documents for the Approved Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan
    2. Board Date: “07/17/2023”
    3. Year: Enter "2023" or leave blank.
    4. Select "Search" button, then select the “Resolutions” Document Type. The Resolutions will include Exhibit A, the approved Local Coastal Plan.

Next Steps:

The California Coastal Commission will need to certify the updated Local Coastal Plan before it goes into effect. 


The State requires Sonoma County to develop a Local Coastal Plan (LCP) to regulate land use, protect coastal resources, and guide coastal development.  In the last several decades, we have learned about changing conditions on the Coast including the need for:

  • adapting to climate change, including sea-level rise;
  • safeguarding public access;
  • protecting water resources;
  • conserving of coastal ecosystems;
  • preserving of agriculture;
  • mitigating hazards and wildfire resiliency.

The Local Coastal Plan update will address these areas while making the plan more modern and easier to understand and use.

Local Coastal Plan Update Documents

July 2023 Board of Supervisors Adopted Local Coastal Plan

Element/ Section Description PDF File Size
1 Introduction 261.79 kB
2 Land Use Element 572.32 kB
3 Agricultural Resources Element 420.47 kB
4 Open Space and Resource Conservation Element 860.89 kB
5 Public Access Element 550.80 kB
6 Water Resources Element 516.37 kB
7 Public Safety Element 932.30 kB
8 Circulation and Transit Element 457.37 kB
9 Public Facilities and Services Element 678.46 kB
10 Cultural Resources Element 151.73 kB
11 Glossary 572.11 kB
Appendices 43.29 MB
Map Series 61.76 MB

What is a Local Coastal Program?

In 1976, the California Legislature enacted the Coastal Act, which created a mandate for coastal counties to manage the conservation and development of coastal resources through a comprehensive planning and regulatory program called the Local Coastal Program. The primary goal of the Local Coastal Program is to ensure that the local government’s land use plans, zoning ordinances, zoning maps, and implementation actions within the Coastal Zone are consistent with the requirements, provisions, and policies of the California Coastal Act.

In Sonoma County, the Local Coastal Program consists of three components: The local Coastal Plan, the Coastal Zoning Ordinance, and the Coastal Administrative Manual. The Local Coastal Plan is a broad, long-range policy document that guides resource protection and future development in the Coastal Zone, which is implemented through the Coastal Zoning Ordinance and Coastal Administrative Manual.

Once the Local Coastal Plan has been recommended by the Planning Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors, it will be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission and certified for consistency with the California Coastal Act. Once certified, the updated Local Coastal Plan policies will be the standard of review for development in the Coastal Zone, with the exception of jurisdiction retained by the Coastal Commission, which included public trust lands and tidelands, as well as appeals to approvals between the first public road and the sea; within 300 feet of a beach or the mean high tideline where there is no beach; within 300 feet of a coastal bluff edge; or within 100 feet of a wetland, estuary, or stream.

Public Participation and Next Steps

From the beginning of the County’s Local Coastal Program, there has been strong citizen participation. Over 500 members of coastal communities have participated and these workshops generated over 400 comments from individuals, interest groups, agencies, and research organizations. 

Public Hearings, Consideration, Review, and Certification

Once the Board reviews and adopts the Local Coastal Plan, the Board adopted Local Coastal Plan will go to the Coastal Commission for review and certification in a public hearing.

Previous Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Public Hearing Agendas:


After certification, the Local Coastal Plan will be implemented through an updated Coastal Zoning Ordinance and revised Administration Manual. These documents are subject to the same public review, hearings, and certification process as the Local Coastal Plan, with opportunities for public input and recommendations at each step.

Previous Local Coastal Plan Drafts

Our Local Coastal Plan History

1980 Local Coastal Plan

The process of preparing the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan (LCP) began in 1978, and from the beginning included strong citizen participation. The Draft LCP was completed and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in May 1980, certified by the Coastal Commission in December 1980, and became effective in January 1981.

However, the adoption and certification of The Sea Ranch portion of the LCP were deferred due to disagreement about public access and pending litigation between the developer Oceanic and the Coastal Commission. Following the resolution of these issues with a settlement agreement, the County developed the Land Use Plan for The Sea Ranch. In 1982 the Coastal Commission certified The Sea Ranch portion of the LCP and the LCP implementation plan that included the Administrative Manual and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance.

1989 General Plan & Local Coastal Plan

In 1989 the County adopted a new General Plan, which directed the County to update and revise the Local Coastal Plan to be consistent with the new General Plan. In 1993, 1995, 1999, and 2001 the Coastal Commission certified amendments to the LCP, which adopted technical changes to ensure consistency with the General Plan.

Current Local Coastal Plan

View the current adopted Local Coastal Plan.