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Regulations and Initiatives

This page contains featured information on regulations and initiatives related to Permit Sonoma that have significant public interest.

This is not an exhaustive list of all regulations and initiatives that have been approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Agriculture Uses

Agricultural Uses

Agriculture is a key industry in Sonoma County that produces and processes food, fiber, plant materials, and which includes the raising and maintaining of farm animals including horses, donkeys, mules, and similar livestock.
Cannabis Program

Cannabis Program

Information on the legal cultivation, permitting requirements, etc. for the various phases of the legal cannabis industry.
Community Separators

Community Separators

Community Separators are lands that function to separate cities and other communities, to contain urban development, and to provide city and community identity by providing visual relief from continuous urbanization.

Freestone Zoning and Land Use Changes

Freestone Zoning and Land Use Changes

Permit Sonoma's Planning Division is reviewing the land use designation and zoning of the 29 properties that make up the community of Freestone. It has come to the County's attention that due to a mapping error made in 1989, some of the 29 properties were inappropriately zoned for commercial uses.

Housing Policies, Programs, and Iniatives

Housing Policies, Programs, and Initiatives

The County of Sonoma makes policy and operates programs to facilitate the building of housing for everyone in the community. All housing programs are consistent with the Housing Element of the General Plan, updated on a regular basis.
Housing Types

Housing Types

The County of Sonoma recognizes that we need a variety of development types to meet our community’s housing needs and offer permitting resources for different types of housing developments.

Rebuilding Together: Housing Urgency Ordinances

Housing Urgency Ordinances

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted the following Urgency Ordinances to address the immediate need for housing for persons displaced by the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fire and 2019 Kincade Fire.

Rezoning Sites for Housing

Rezoning Sites for Housing

The Rezoning Sites for Housing project will add sites to the County's Housing Element site inventory to comply with State law, and will implement current General Plan Policies and Programs that require the County to identify urban sites near jobs and transit which may appropriately accommodate additional housing. 

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

The County of Sonoma has adopted changes to the Zoning Code that enable the construction and use of renewable energy facilities throughout the county, while protecting sensitive resources and ensuring neighborhood compatibility. Renewable energy is considered a more sustainable energy supply because it is derived from sources that are naturally replenished including biomass, geothermal, solar and wind. 

Riparian Corridor

Riparian Corridor (RC) Combining Zone

The County of Sonoma's Board of Supervisors adopted General Plan 2020 (GP2020) which increased protections for riparian corridors. In November 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted zoning code changes to implement the stream protection policies and rezoned properties to add the Riparian Corridor (RC) Combining Zone to all designated streams shown on the General Plan Open Space maps.

Updating County Septic System Regulations

Updating County Septic System Regulations

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is considering the revised onsite waste treatment systems (OWTS) manual.

Universal Design

Universal Design

Universally designed housing is designed and built to be fully functional for all persons in all stages of life, regardless of ability or mobility.

Vacation and Hosted Rentals

Vacation and Hosted Rentals

Vacation rentals are the rental of a private residence for periods of 30 days or less. Vacation Rentals do not include Bed and Breakfast Inns or hosted rentals permitted in accordance with the Sonoma County Code for B&Bs and hosted rentals or occasional home exchanges that are not otherwise subject to Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

The Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance requires a landscape plan check for certain projects, as described in the ordinance. It includes requirements for landscape water budgets, landscape and irrigation design, and irrigation scheduling. 

Winery Events

Winery Events

The Board of Supervisors has directed Permit Sonoma staff to develop regulations addressing agricultural promotional events at wineries and vineyards (e.g. weddings, concerts) and potential overconcentration.

Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Combining District Removal

Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Combining District Removal

Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Combining District Removal introduces zoning text amendments to prevent potential impacts associated with Accessory Dwelling Units, and achieves General Plan objectives by eliminating unnecessary regulatory constraints to housing while continuing to protect and support agricultural and environmental resources.

Zoning Code Modernization

Zoning Code Modernization

The Zoning Code is the primary tool for implementing the General Plan and regulating land use and development. The General Plan dictates overarching policy on how and where the community will accommodate physical growth and change, and the Zoning Code applies these policies on a parcel-specific scale, regulating land uses, site planning, and design. The Zoning Code also specifies the type of permits required for various projects and the responsible review authority.