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Available Permits

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Below is a sortable table index of all the currently available permit and activity types and the 3-letter permit abbreviations used by Permit Sonoma.

Permit Index

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Permit Type Subtype Description Permit Abbreviation Permit Sonoma Division
Addressing   Permit Sonoma is charged with the responsibility of assigning new addresses and adjusting existing physical addresses within the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. The goal of proper address assignment is to bring addressing in Sonoma County to consistent standards and to support emergency response efficiencies, thereby providing for the safety of Sonoma County residents. ADD Customer Service
Agricultural Exemption   Building permit exemption for a structure designated for agricultural uses only. AEX Building
Agricultural Preserve   County and owners of agricultural and open space land voluntarily enter into agreements that restrict the owner’s use of the land to agriculture. AGP Planning
Bridges and Elevated Surfaces   Per Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance, all roadway and driveway structures shall be designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with applicable sections of the county building and fire code, the Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, and any administrative regulations and shall have a minimum designed live-load capacity of HS-20.   Fire Prevention
Building Permit With Plancheck or
No Plancheck
A building permit is an official approval to proceed with a construction project. Unless otherwise exempt, a building permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair (including reroofing), move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the building code, or to cause any such work to be performed. BLD Building
Building Permit Stock Plan Stock plan permit for swimming pools, water tanks, accessory structures. STK Building
Certificate of Compliance Administrative Administrative Certificates of Compliance (ACC) are issued by the County to properties that have been proven to be separate legal parcels. The ACC only gives the owner the right to sell, lease or finance the parcel separately from other contiguous parcels held by the same owner. ACC Planning
Certificate of Compliance Conditional Allows a person to apply for a determination as to whether a division of land complied with State and Local laws in effect at the time of the division. CCC Planning
Certificate of Modification   Modifications can be made to recorded a parcel map (Minor Subdivision) or a final map (Major Subdivision) through the Certificate of Modification procedure. Typical modifications to recorded maps include changes to agency notes upon the maps, relocation or removal of easements, and relocation or enlargement of building envelopes. CMO Planning
Coastal Permit With Hearing or
No Hearing
Coastal permits are required for development on parcels located within the Coastal Zone. Coastal permits are processed either administratively without a hearing, or with a public hearing, typically by the Board of Zoning Adjustments. CPH, CPN Planning
Corner Record   A corner record is a legal document filed with the County by a licensed land surveyor to document surveyed lines and monumentation. Is it a survey made to establish or reestablish a corner or other related survey control. SUR Engineering
Demolition Permit   A demolition permit is required to demolish a building or structure in whole or in part. Some demolition permits may be included within a building permit application, especially for portions of structures. DEM Building
Design Review Administrative Administrative Design Review for proposed structures in designated scenic areas and new uses in commercial areas to minimize their visual impacts. ADR Planning
Design Review With Hearing The Design Review Committee (DRC) reviews and approves the design of significant new development projects, such as new commercial development. DRH Planning
Design Review Commercial The Sonoma County Zoning Code allows Administrative Design Review for (1) new commercial or industrial uses previously approved by use permit or design review, and for (2) minor facade changes or minor building additions for commercial or industrial uses. Additionally, new structures up to 10,000 square feet in urban areas may be eligible for Administrative Design Review. ADR, DRH Planning
Design Review Residential Many areas of Sonoma County have significant scenic resources. In an attempt to allow for development while preserving these resources, scenic areas have been designated as Scenic Resource (SR) or Scenic Design (SD). Administrative Design Review is conducted by a staff person in consultation with applicants. Agricultural structures (barns, stables, etc.) are exempt from design review except for properties subject to the Bennett Valley Area Plan and the Local Coastal Plan. ADR, DRH Planning
Encroachment   Work within the County maintained road or right-of-way, such as upgrading or paving a driveway, installing utilities, drainage, landscaping and mailbox structures, requires an encroachment permit. ENC Engineering
Engineering Site Review   Field or Office site evaluation related to Engineering permits or activities. ESR Engineering
Fire Sprinklers   Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance requires fire sprinklers for both residential and commercial occupancies (with some exceptions).   Fire Prevention
Gates   Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance requires all existing and newly installed gates to be permitted and/or to comply with fire access requirements. This includes width, distance and method of opening.   Fire Prevention
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. GPA Planning
Generator, Back-up   Checklist for obtaining a building permit for a back-up generator connected to your electrical panel. BLD Building
Geotechnical or Soils Investigation   California Building Code outlines specific instances of when a geotechnical/soils report is required based on soil conditions and construction methods. SOIL Building
Grading   Grading is the removal or deposition of earth material by artificial means. Common examples of grading include, but are not limited to, construction of driveways, building pads, site improvements or reservoirs, and restoration/stabilization of hillsides, slopes or stream banks. GRD Engineering
Gray Water - Non-Potable Systems   Graywater is wastewater collected from showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks, and clothes washing machines. Graywater does not include water from toilets, kitchen sinks, or dishwashers. GYW Well and Septic
Improvement Plans   Improvement plans are needed as part of the review process for subdivisions or grading improvements. They are also needed for non-subdivision improvements in the right of way. SUR Engineering
Knox Box Key Access   Per California Fire Code, Sonoma County requires all new construction and existing buildings to be equipped with a fire department access box to provide for rapid entry and prevention of damage to buildings and gates. This is a mandatory system for commercial establishments within the county as well as all electric commercial and residential gates within the county.   Fire Prevention
Land Conservation Contract - Establishment, Replacement, NonRenewal   The California Land Conservation Act allows the County and owners of agricultural and open space land to voluntarily enter into agreements that restrict the owner’s use of the land to agricultural and/or open space uses and uses compatible with those agricultural and/or open space uses, in exchange for a reduction in property tax assessment. LCC Planning
Lot Line Adjustment   A Lot Line Adjustment (LLA) is a realignment of boundary lines between two to four existing legal parcels (per Section 66412 of the Subdivision Map Act), where the land taken from one parcel is added to an adjacent parcel. This process is undertaken when the owner(s) of adjacent lots or parcels desire to change the shape, size, and/or location of the parcels. LLA Planning
Low Impact Development   Permit to monitor and inspect post-construction storm water best management practices. LID Engineering
Map   The County Surveyor conducts reviews of Final Maps, Parcel Maps, Records of Survey and Corner Records for compliance with appropriate laws pertaining to each map, including amended maps. SUR Engineering
Ordinance Determination and Appeals of Staff Decisions   Ordinance - Board of Supervisors
Tracks the map associated with a zoning district change approved by the Board of Supervisors.
ORD Planning
Property Manager Certification   A property manager who is certified by Permit Sonoma is required for all vacation rentals. PMR Planning
Rapid Evaluation Safety Assessment   Tracks information about a structure which has been affected by flood, wildfire, or other storm or natural disaster damage. EVT Building
Record of Survey   A Record of Survey is an official map that is reviewed by the surveyor. This map represents a survey made on the round and delineates deed described lines, or lines related to survey control. ROS Engineering
Right of Way Vacation   A permit to request approval to vacate a portion of public right-of-way. RWV Engineering
Road Naming   Permit Sonoma assigns new road names to both public and private roads. Existing roads with conflicting or duplicate names are renamed to ensure public safety standards are followed. RNC Fire Prevention
Roiling   Required when a natural waterway will be disturbed by construction activity. ROI Engineering
Septic   In areas where public sewer is not available, homeowners must have septic systems installed on their property that will treat wastewater coming from their home. SEP Well and Septic
Septic Operational Permit Permit required for operation of non-standard Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS). OPR Well and Septic
Septic Site Evaluation Field or Office site evaluation related to Well & Septic permits or activities. WSR Well and Septic
Septic Variance Administrative or formal variance from septic standards. WVA, WVB Well and Septic
Septic Vesting Certificate A transferable certificate providing a right to construct a septic system for an approved site, designated system type, and stated capacity for a limited period of time. VES Well and Septic
Sewer - Construction; Engineering, Sewer, Construction, Sewer   A sanitary sewer inspection permit is required for any sewer work performed, including but not limited to, connection to a house, a commercial building, or apartments. The work must be inspected and approved before occupancy, and/or use of the sewer is allowed. Permits are also issued for construction of sewer facilities and annexation into sanitation Districts or Zones, or Outside Service Area Agreements for sewer service with sanitation Districts or Zones. SEW Engineering
Site Evaluation Building

Building Site Evaluations include:

  • Accessibility Site Review
  • Building Construction site review
  • Fire damaged structures (Property Reports)
BSR Building or Septic
Small-Scale Agricultural Processing   Agricultural processing includes those activities and processes conducted on a farm which change the unprocessed agricultural commodity from its natural state to a different form; examples include, but are not limited to, processing, milk into cheese, fruit into jam, olives into olive oil. UPE, ZPE Planning
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Residential Rooftop Residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects 10 kW in size or smaller. BLD Building
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Residential Ground or Commercial

Solar photovoltaic (PV) projects:

  • Residential ground mounted
  • Commercial rooftop
  • Commercial ground mounted
BLD Building
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Fire Solar photovoltaic power systems shall be installed in accordance with this Code, the California Building Code and the California Electric Code, or as approved by the Fire Code Official.   Fire Prevention
Solar Thermal Systems  

Solar thermal projects:

  • Residential rooftop
  • Residential ground mounted
  • Commercial rooftop
  • Commercial ground mounted
BLD Building
Special Event   Special Events are one-time, annual, or recurring events using public property, streets, sidewalks, alleys and parking areas beyond the normal pattern of use. This also includes events on private property beyond the zoned use of that property.

A special event may require more than one permit from more than one Permit Sonoma division/section. Example: Special events that are expected to cause road closures in unincorporated Sonoma County require an encroachment permit from the Engineering section.
SPE and various Building, Fire Prevention, Engineering, Planning, Well & Septic
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. SPA Planning
Storm Water (Drainage) Permit   A storm water permit is required prior to commencing any drainage improvement or related work, including preparatory site clearing and soil disturbance, except where exempted from permit requirements in Sonoma County Code section 11.06.010. STW Engineering
Subdivision Major A major subdivision is a division of land into five or more parcels. Major subdivisions are governed by the Subdivision Map Act, the Sonoma County Subdivision Ordinance, the Sonoma County Zoning Code and the Sonoma County General Plan. MJS Planning
Subdivision Minor A minor subdivision is a division of land into four or fewer parcels. Minor subdivisions are governed by the Subdivision Map Act, the Sonoma County Subdivision Ordinance, the Sonoma County Zoning Code and the Sonoma County General Plan. Minor subdivision application are also known as tentative parcel maps. MNS Planning
Surveyor / Land Development   Tracks various survey or land development activities such subdivision maps, improvement plans, corner records, and right-of-way vacations. SUR Engineering
Temporary Occupancy   Occupancy of a permitted structure under construction prior to permit final. TEM Building
Temporary Cannabis Hoop House/Structure   A Cannabis Hoop House or temporary membrane structure permit is required for all hoop house permits associated with Cannabis Use Permits and agricultural permits. FIR Fire Prevention
Temporary Structures  

A permit may be issued for temporary structures and temporary uses. Such permits are limited as to time of service (less than 180 days unless an extension is granted for demonstrated cause). This excludes Temporary Cannabis Hoop Houses/Structures.

  • Temporarily installing prefabricated structures such as offices or classrooms
  • Setting up tents or canopies for a farmer’s market
  • Holding an event for many people in an existing commercial building
  • Building temporary platforms or bleachers for a festival
TEM Building
Temporary Utilities  

A temporary permit for utilities for a permitted structure prior to the permit final. There are 2 types of temporary utility approvals:

  • Temporary gas or electric service for an under construction structure prior to permit final.
  • Temporary electric service for construction. This is an actual, separate permit to place a temporary pole that will later be removed.
TEM Building
Transient Rental Hosted Rental Hosted rentals are the rental of a single room or sleeping area within a single-family dwelling, where the property owner remains in residence. THR Planning
Transient Rental Vacation Rental Vacation rentals are the rental of a private residence for periods of 30 days or less. TVR Planning
Transportation   A transportation permit is required anytime a vehicle and/or load exceeds the California Vehicle Code legal dimensions, on roads in unincorporated Sonoma County. TRN Engineering
Unreinforced Masonry Structure   Tracks information about unreinforced masonry structure in accordance with Senate Bill 547. SB-547 Building
Use Permit   A Use Permit application is required for development projects that are typically more intensive than Permitted Uses. UPE Planning
Use Permit Permits for cannabis cultivation, dispensaries, distribution & transportation, manufacturing, nurseries, and testing labs. UPC Planning
Use Permit A live/work use is a business conducted within a dwelling unit or accessory structure by occupants of the dwelling unit and up to two employees. UPE Planning
Variance   A variance may be granted to provide relief from specific numerical standards in the zoning code such as setback requirements from property lines. Variances cannot be granted for relief from “use” provisions in the zoning code. If a proposed use is not permitted in a given zoning district, a variance cannot be granted to allow it. VAR Planning
Voluntary Merger   Requests to eliminate property lines between parcels under the same ownership VMG Planning
Water Permit   Water System Permit
Tracks the plan check and/or construction inspections(s) of a water system that serves two or more parcels.
WAT Engineering
Well   Well permits are required to drill, abandon, or deepen wells and can only be issued to C-57 Well Drilling Contractors. WEL Well and Septic
Well Site Evaluation Field or Office site evaluation related to Well & Septic permits or activities. WSR Well and Septic
Wildland Urban Interface / State Responsibility Area   Permitted Building Construction in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) or State Responsibility Area (SRA) requires all structures to be built according to specific codes. Sonoma County required by model state code language requires all new structures to be built with exterior construction that will minimize the impact on life and property and help structure to resist the intrusion of flames and burning embers projected by a wildland fire and contributes to a reduction of losses.   Fire Prevention
Zone Change - Amendment   A Zone Change can be proposed to change from one zoning district to another, to change the zoning density on a property, to remove a combining district , or to amend the text of the Sonoma County Zoning Code. ZCE Planning
Zoning Permit   Planning permits such as zoning permits may be required prior to the issuance of a building permit. Zoning clearances are required for building permits issued for new buildings, structures, or additions to existing buildings or structures. There may be additional setback requirements for a building depending upon the location near a scenic roadway or waterway. Additional review, such as administrative design review, may be required prior to the issuance of a building permit. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are an inexpensive way to create smaller, more affordable rental housing units that may provide revenue streams for you, while increasing the availability of rental housing in the county. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit for full-time agricultural employee dwelling unit. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Permits for cannabis cultivation. ZPC Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit to use land for the production of confined livestock. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Waiver of requirement for off-street covered parking spaces for dwelling units. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit to allow a large family day care project on a property. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit to allow farm retail sales on a property. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit to allow home occupation, which is a small-scale business conducted out of a private residence or residential accessory structure. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit to allow horse boarding, which is the keeping and training of horses which are not owned by the occupant or owner of a property. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit for the conversion of timberland to a non-timber growing use on less than 3 acres. ZPE Planning
Zoning Permit Zoning permit for mobile homes. ZPE Planning