County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Begins the New Year with a Brighter Future and Bolder Action

Optimism Prevails Regarding Current State of the County and Plans in the Works to Forge Ahead

Santa Rosa, CA  –  February 4, 2019  –  “Given all that Sonoma County has endured in the wake of the horrific 2017 wildfires and the bitter aftermath; the region is well on its road to recovery, and all credit goes to the goodwill of its people – friends, neighbors and strangers – who joined together to put others first above all else.” 

That uplifting message was delivered by the Chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, David Rabbitt, during the 2019 State of Sonoma County on February 1st.

“The State of our county is strong,” declared Board Chair David Rabbitt. “It’s strong because of the tenacity and perseverance of its residents – residents who are quite literally rising from the ashes to rebuild their homes and communities.”

Rabbitt delivered a speech in which he said the 2017 wildfires provided a new way of doing business differently and more efficiently for the County. He cited Permit Sonoma as one example of how the permitting process was streamlined to shorten wait times for permit issuance from months to weeks, and reduce fees by a third or more.

The County also took an unprecedented step of asking residents to help identify vacant or underused land that could accommodate housing. Thanks to those residents, 60 available land prospects were submitted that could potentially result in openings for an additional 2,000 housing units.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Jerry Nickelsburg, a Senior Economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast, highlighted the importance of immediacy when tackling recovery.

“I looked at permits in the nine months before the Tubbs fire and the same nine months of last year, and there is a net increase of 1,765 permits. That is really moving fast,” said Nickelsburg. “If you look at recoveries from wildfires throughout the west, this is phenomenal.” 

Bold new initiatives have been introduced to further expand housing and parks, improve roads and transportation, and the quality of water. These include:

  • Creating the Renewal Enterprise District (RED) to allow the City and County to access funding for housing through state and federal partners.
  • Devoting an additional $11.5 million to maintain the quality of regional and city parks through the passage of Measure M by voters.
  • Pledging over $3.6 million for new park extensions, improvements, and public access.
  • Heavily investing in the resurfacing, paving and maintenance of our County roads.
  • Investing in the SMART Larkspur rail extension, set to open Fall 2019, and obtaining full funding for the segment linking the Sonoma County Airport and Windsor.
  • Protecting Lake Sonoma, our largest source of water, through the addition of a fire camera network.
  • Acquiring a new helicopter to help law enforcement in their ability protect and save lives in the face of danger.

Supervisor Rabbitt also noted that Sonoma County must continue to move forward, facing challenges head-on and collaboratively.

“When our County was faced with adversity, hardships and tough times, we did not throw up our hands in defeat. We came together, neighbor helped neighbor, stranger helped stranger and began the hard work of rebuilding hand-in-hand. That is strength – That is why we proudly say we are ‘Sonoma Strong!’”


Contact Information

County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235