Adopted Zoning Code Amendments

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Ordinance No. 6089

An Ordinance Of The Board of Sonoma, State Of California, Amending Chapter 26 Of The Sonoma County Code To Add Or Replace Miscellaneous Definitions, Rename The Rural Commercial District, Replace The Biotic Resource Combining District With Separate Combining Zones For Riparian Corridors And Biotic Habitat, Revise Stream Protection Policies For Riparian Corridors To Implement Sonoma County General Plan 2020, And Rezone Properties To Add The Riparian Corridor Combining Zone To All Designated Streams

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, ordains as follows:

Section I.

Chapter 26 of the Sonoma County Code is amended as follows:

  1. Section 26-020-140 [Definitions] is amended to add or replace the following terms:

    Agricultural Crop: Any cultivated crop grown and harvested for commercial purposes.

    Agricultural Cultivation: The act of preparing the soil for the raising of agricultural crops.

    Contiguous riparian vegetation: Riparian vegetation that is physically touching or adjacent, and not separated by features like roads, developed land, or cropland.

    Cropland: Land devoted to the production of agricultural crops.

    Designated Stream: A river or stream mapped or identified in the Open Space and Resource Conservation Element of the General Plan, or in an adopted area plan or specific plan or other adopted stream protection standards, guidelines, or mitigation measures.

    Resource Agency: A federal or state agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by an activity or use. Resource agencies include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Coast and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Boards, State Water Resources Control Board, and other similar federal and state agencies.

    Restoration: Actions taken with the primary goal to maintain, improve, or restore physical, chemical, and biological functions of a stream, wetland, or other sensitive habitat.

    Riparian Corridor: The area occupied by a river or stream and related plant and animal communities.

    Riparian Corridor, 50-foot: A riparian corridor with a streamside conservation area of 50 feet on each side of a designated stream measured from the top of the higher bank.

    Riparian Corridor, 100-foot: A riparian corridor with a streamside conservation area of 100 feet on each side of a designated stream measured from the top of the higher bank.

    Riparian Corridor, 200-foot: A riparian corridor with a streamside conservation area of 200 feet on each side of a designated stream measured from the top of the higher bank.

    Riparian Functions: The beneficial uses of areas in and along streams, including: providing food, water, and breeding, egg deposition and nesting areas for fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals; providing protective cover, shade and woody debris to stream channels as habitat for coho salmon, steelhead, freshwater shrimp, and other protected and common aquatic-dependent species; providing movement opportunities, protective cover, and breeding, roosting, and resting habitat for terrestrial wildlife; filtering sediment and pollutants in runoff into streams; providing erosion protection for stream banks; and facilitating groundwater recharge.

    Riparian Tree: A woody perennial plant growing in a riparian corridor, typically larger than 14 feet at maturity with a well-defined stem and definite crown having a single or multi-trunk structure, with a minimum diameter at breast height of two (2) inches for a single stem or aggregate of multi-trunk stems of five (5) inches, and a minimum height of ten (10) feet.

    Riparian Vegetation: Plant communities contiguous to and affected by surface and subsurface hydrologic features of water bodies (rivers, streams, lakes, or wetlands) that have one or both of the following characteristics: 1) distinctly different vegetative species than adjacent areas, and 2) species similar to adjacent areas but exhibiting more vigorous or robust growth forms. Riparian vegetation is usually transitional between wetland and upland.

    Soils, Highly Erodible: Soils in the Diablo, Dibble, Goldridge, Laughlin, Los Osos, Steinbeck, and Suther soil series as mapped by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

    Soils, Less Erodible: Any soils that are not highly erodible soils.

    Upland Area: An area with less erodible soils and a natural slope steeper than 15 percent, or highly erodible soils and a natural slope steeper than 10 percent.

    Vegetation Removal: The cutting, breaking, burning or uprooting of vegetation, the application of herbicide to vegetation, the covering over of vegetation with earth, or the compacting of the soil under and around vegetation. For the purposes of this chapter, vegetation means all natural, non-cultivated plant life including the root system, stem, trunk, crown, branches, leaves or blades.

  2. Section 26-04-010 (d) [Permitted Uses - LIA zoning district], Section 26-06-010 (d) [Permitted Uses - LEA zoning district], Section 26-08-010 (d) [Permitted Uses - DA zoning district], Section 26-10-010 (d) [Permitted Uses - RRD zoning district], Section 26-16-010 (h) [Permitted Uses - AR zoning district], Section 26-18-010 (e) [Permitted Uses - RR zoning district], Section 26-26-030 g) (2) [Permitted Uses - PC zoning district], Section 26-40-010 (e) [Permitted Uses - AS zoning district], and Section 26-42-010 (e) [Permitted Uses - K zoning district] are amended to read as follows:

    “The growing and harvesting of shrubs, plants, flowers, trees, vines, fruits, vegetables, hay, grain and similar food and fiber crops, including wholesale nurseries, conducted and maintained in compliance with Article 65, RC Riparian Corridor Combining Zone.”

  3. Article 38 RC Rural Commercial District is amended to change the title of the Article to the CR Commercial Rural District.
  4. Article 65 RC Riparian Corridor Combining Zone is added to read as set forth in Exhibit “A,” attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.
  5. Article 66 BR Biotic Resource Combining District is amended to change the title of the Article to the BH Biotic Habitat Combining Zone, and amended to read as set forth in Exhibit “B,” attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.
  6. The Official Zoning Database is amended to rezone properties to reflect the new combining zones for all riparian corridors and biotic habitat areas and to rezone Rural Commercial properties to CR Commercial Rural as set forth in the Table in Exhibit “C,” attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.

Section II.

For the purposes of Section I of this ordinance, only cropland under active cultivation on the effective date of this ordinance shall be deemed to be existing cropland.

Section III.

The amendments in Section I of this ordinance are consistent with Sonoma County General Plan 2020 in that they incorporate into zoning the General Plan’s goals, objectives, and policies that provide for the protection of riparian corridors, including the establishment of streamside conservation areas as set forth in the Open Space and Resource Conservation Element and as specifically required by Open Space and Resource and Conservation Implementation Programs 11 and 12. The amendments in Section I of this ordinance are also consistent with the County’s Area/Specific Plans in that the proposed stream setbacks would correspond with the standards of the applicable Area/Specific Plan when those standards are more stringent than the General Plan as required by General Plan Policy LU-1a.

Section IV.

The Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Sonoma County General Plan 2020, certified by the Board of Supervisors in 2008, disclosed, evaluated, and mitigated potential environmental impacts of General Plan policies. Potential impacts of riparian protection measures and stream setbacks were analyzed in multiple sections of the EIR. In addition, Mitigation Measure 4.6-2(b) directs the rezoning of all lands within Streamside Conservation Areas to the Biotic Resources combining zoning district, and the adoption of a riparian protection ordinance. The amendments in Section I of this ordinance would implement Mitigation Measure 4.6-2(b). Riparian protection will be achieved through application of the zoning database and planning process. The amendments in Section I of this ordinance would not relax any existing standards or policies in the General Plan or Area Plans. The amendment in Section I of this ordinance would not result in any new significant impacts, or a substantial increase in the severity of any previously-identified impacts, due to substantial changes in the project or its circumstances, or new information of substantial importance that was not know and could not have been known at the time of certification of the General Plan Program EIR in 2008. The amendments in Section I of this ordinance are within the scope of the General Plan covered by the EIR, and would not have effects that were not examined in the EIR. As a result, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15168 (c) (2), no new environmental document is required. The Program EIR for the General Plan 2020 is available for review at the PRMD office.

Section V.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be unconstitutional and invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this ordinance. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this ordinance and every section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid.

Section VI.

This ordinance shall be and the same is hereby declared to be in full force and effect from and after thirty (30) days after the date of its passage and shall be published once before the expiration of fifteen (15) days after said passage, with the names of the Supervisors voting for or against the same, in The Press Democrat, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Sonoma, State of California. Pursuant to Government Code Section 25124, complete copies of Exhibits “A”, “B”, and “C” to this ordinance are on file with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors and are available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 575 Administration Drive, Room 100A, Santa Rosa, California. Complete copies of the Exhibits are also available for public review on the County’s website at http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/riparian_corridor/index.htm

In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, passed and adopted this 24th day of November, 2014, on regular roll call of the members of said Board by the following vote:

Supervisors: Gorin: Aye
Zane: Aye
McGuire: Aye
Carrillo: Aye
Rabbitt: Aye

Ayes: 5
Noes: 0
Absent: 0
Abstain: 0

Whereupon, the Chair declared the above and foregoing ordinance duly adopted and So Ordered.
Chair, Board of Supervisors County of Sonoma, Attest: Veronica A. Ferguson, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
By: _ Chief Deputy Clerk of the Board

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