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Caretaker Unit

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Properties with seasonal farmworker housing may have a single Caretaker Unit, provided that the property’s primary use is agriculture and there are no other permanent residences onsite.

Eligibility Criteria


Parcel is located in the LIA (Land Intensive Agriculture), LEA (Land Extensive Agriculture), DA (Diverse Agriculture), or the RRD (Resources and Rural Development) zoning district.

Residential Uses

Property must contain seasonal farmworker housing with accommodations for at least 6 farmworkers. Caretaker units are not allowed on properties containing other permanent residences onsite.

Agricultural Use Threshold

The property shall contain an agricultural operation meeting at least one of following thresholds:

  1. At least fifty (50) mature cows or one hundred (100) beef cattle
  2. At least twenty (20) acres of grapes, apples, pears, prunes
  3. At least twenty thousand (20,000) broilers, fifteen thousand (15,000) egg-layers or three thousand (3,000) turkeys
  4. At least two hundred fifty (250) sheep or goats, fifty (50) dairy goats or hogs
  5. At least thirty (30) mature horses
  6. Wholesale nurseries with a minimum of either one (1) acre of propagating greenhouse or outdoor containers or three (3) acres of field-grown plant materials
  7. Any other agricultural use which the director of Permit Sonoma determines to be of the same approximate agricultural value and intensity as those agricultural uses above


After a complete Zoning Permit application is submitted, a Project Planner at Permit Sonoma will be assigned to the project. The Project Planner will review the application materials, and may conduct a site visit to determine if the property meets the eligibility criteria for caretaker units. The Zoning Permit must be approved before any development permits can be issued for the Caretaker Unit.

If a property owner proposes a manufactured home on a non-permanent foundation, the Zoning Permit will include posting of notices in the immediate neighborhood.

Zoning Permit Application Requirements

  1. Applications: Planning Application form PJR-001 (PDF), signed by all property owners and PJR-011 Indemnification Agreement (PDF), signed by the applicant.
  2. Proposal Statement. Describe the seasonal farmworker housing unit (permit number, number of workers, location, etc.) and provide a summary of all agricultural use(s) on the subject property that support the issuance of the zoning permit for the Caretaker Unit. Please be specific as to the number of animals, acres devoted to certain crops, and/or any other details pertinent to the agricultural use on the property.
  3. Affidavit. Provide a separate signed statement describing the existing agricultural use(s) on the property and affirming the Caretaker Unit will be occupied year-round by a caretaker.
  4. Site Plan. Provide one 8 ½ in. x 11 in. site plan in accordance with the Minimum Standard Site Plan CSS-019. In addition to indicating the proposed location of the Caretaker Unit, identify where animals are kept and areas where crops are grown.
  5. Assessor's Parcel Map. Provide one 8 ½ in. X 11 in. copy of the current Assessor's Parcel Map with the project site shown. Maps may be obtained from the County Assessor's Office or Permit Sonoma
  6. Filing Fee. See the current Permit Sonoma Project Review Fee Schedule.