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January 2019

Tennis Wick, Permit Sonoma Director Welcome to Permit Sonoma!

In this issue of our e-newsletter we have:

Tennis Wick, AICP, Director

Published: January 24, 2019

Removing Barriers for Overnight Stays on Agricultural Land

Pasture 250On January 8, the Board of Supervisors updated Sonoma County Code for overnight accom­modations in agricultural zones. These changes ensure consistency with the General Plan while providing opportunities for additional income on agricultural properties.

The code updates expand opportunities for farmstays (overnight accommodations that take place on a working farm) and hosted rentals (rental of 1 room or guest house with owner in residence). The code revision also reduces barriers for these type of uses and adopts standards for marketing accommodations (a room that is used for overnight agricultural promotion, often used for distributors and marketing staff) so that they are compatible with farming operations. The code update now allows hosted rentals in the Land Intensive Agriculture zones where they wer not previously permitted.

Specific code changes for farmstays include:

  • Removal of the limitation that the agricultural income on the property needs to produce more income than the the farmstay.
  • Removal of the requirement that the farmstay has to be within the same residence where the farmer resides. Now it can be in another home on the property (if one exists).
  • Farmstay applications now require an Agricultural Promotion Plan.

More information on use and zoning permits for agricultural-related uses

Hauser Bridge Replacement Project

Hauser Bridge 250In April 2017, Sonoma County began construction of the Hauser Bridge replacement over the South Fork of the Gualala River northwest of Cazadero. Built in 1947, the existing bridge consisted of a one-lane steel truss Army bridge with an open steel grid style deck. Prior to the replacement, the bridge suffered from corrosion and foundation issues, causing it to become structurally deficient. The replacement converted the one-lane bridge with a two lane, 29 foot wide and 165 foot long steel bridge.

Transportation and Public Works (TPW) oversaw the construction of the bridge replacement and Permit Sonoma’s Natural Resources team
worked closely with the TPW staff to handle the permitting with the resource agencies (NOAA Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife). Permit Sonoma also prepared environmental documents complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the project. The replacement project was completed in fall 2017, resulting in a spectacular bridge structure over a scenic crossing.

Disability Access Requirements and Resources

Wheelchair 250Compliance with state and federal con­struction-­­related accessibility standards ensures that public places are accessible and available to individuals with disabilities. Find out more about compliance with these laws in this notice to applicants for commercial building permits (PDF).

Interview with Planning Commissioner Larry Reed

Larry Reed 250Can you provide a bit of background about yourself and what led you to serve on the Planning Commis­sion?

I grew up in the Central Valley and attended high school and college in Southern California. My maternal family lived in Petaluma, so every year we would migrate there for the holidays. Petaluma was very different in the 1960s, but has always seemed to maintain its character and sense of community. I attended Cal Poly Pomona, earning a degree in Landscape Architecture in 1978, and worked in the profession for several years while attending college. I saw, first hand, how communities are impacted from unchecked development. After graduate school on the east coast, I returned to Petaluma to start a family and become part of the community.

Is the Planning Commission your first position of service to the community?

Moving to Petaluma in 1984, I returned to the home that my great grandfather built in 1912. My great-great grandfather came to Petaluma in 1852, and served on the Board of Trustees for the City of Petaluma and, at times, its President. My family participated in the public debate and I always felt that it was important for me to participate in building and supporting the local community. I first served on the Central Petaluma Specific Plan Committee, and eventually, joined the Site Plan and Architectural Review Committee (SPARC), overseeing the implementation of the Theater Square and Warehouse District.

Can you name a few highlights of your time on the Commission?

As a commissioner, you are just a one member, of five, representing your community. It has been wonderful to serve with others members of the Commission, each representing the nuance of their respective part of Sonoma County. Each District is unique and I have enjoyed debating, discussing and learning more about the County. As a landscape architect, I am interested in the ways that the environment and agriculture coexist. We have seen a lot of impacts from the shift to wine grapes and I have enjoyed discussing the impacts of a changing landscape. The new cannabis ordinance will also have an impact on agriculture and I look forward to creative ways to keep our County competitive, while maintaining that sense of who we are.

20 years from now, how do you envision Sonoma County?

My hope is that each community can adapt to the changes and grow, without losing sight of who we are. We live in a very desirable place. We have productive land, we have great access to the Coast and some of the most diverse landscape in the world. With careful planning, each community of Sonoma County will evolve its unique character to meet the demands of a growing population, without losing its individual character and community.

What is your favorite spot in Sonoma County?

It’s hard to beat the Sonoma Coast. As an avid swimmer and lover of the ocean, I enjoy the unique rugged character from Bodega Bay to Sea Ranch. Our daughter was married at Schoolhouse Beach and we have enjoyed vacation get-a-ways to Doran Beach and Salmon Creek.

Read Interviews with Other Planning Commissioners

Contact Information

Maggie Fleming
Communications Manager
Permit and Resource Management Department
County of Sonoma
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