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March 2019

Tennis Wick, Permit Sonoma Director Welcome to Permit Sonoma!

In this issue of our e-newsletter we have:

Tennis Wick, AICP, Director

Published: March 28, 2019

Permit Sonoma Welcomes New Deputy Director of Planning

Milan NevajdaAfter a Statewide recruitment and con­sidera­tion of a field of very qualified candidates, we are pleased to welcome Milan Nevajda to Permit Sonoma as our next Deputy Director for the Planning Division.

The Planning Division plays a key role in supporting economic development and ensuring opportunities for the public to participate in land development activity in Sonoma County. The division oversees land uses in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County and reviews current development proposals for conformance with the County’s adopted policies and ordinances. The division develops and implements long-range planning for the County, including the General Plan, the Local Coastal Plan, and other area and specific plans. Planning staff also evaluate the environmental impacts of private development proposals and public projects, such as bridges, roads, and airport projects.

Milan, who starts in this new role on March 26, is originally from Croatia and grew up in Greater Toronto Area. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and Economics from University of Toronto and continued on to McGill University in Montreal where he received his Master’s in Urban Planning with a focus on the intersect between economic development, environment, and land use planning.

Milan’s experience in the public sector includes rural, suburban, and urban communities as well as regional entities. His professional background includes service with New England jurisdictions and consultancies before coming to California to work for the M Group. Milan has provided contract planning services to several Northern California cities, including Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and the County for the Airport Area Specific Plan update. Mr. Nevajda possesses the professional, organizational development, business administration and policy skills needed to lead the division.

Milan currently lives in Petaluma with his wife Willa, their son Felix, and their dog. In his free time he enjoys exploring the outdoors, skiing and cycling, travelling to new destinations, and woodworking.

Swift Flood Response

flood debris on County roadThe recent floods devastated several areas in the county and ended up displacing more than 4,000 people. Permit Sonoma is committed to serving the community, especially during difficult times caused by natural disasters. On February 27, 2019 County staff, including several staff from Permit Sonoma, quickly responded to the recent flooding by opening the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Due to the local need for access to resources the County set up a Local Assistance Center (LAC) in Guerneville to provide information as well as over the counter permits to residents in order to expedite the permit process. Permit Sonoma assisted 270 customers at the LAC. Other County agencies were present to provide wrap around support services to flood victims.

While the LAC closed March 9th, over the counter permits as well as others permit applications are available at the Permit Sonoma office at 2550 Ventura Ave., Santa Rosa. In order to immediately address the needs of the affected communities, Permit Sonoma is providing a streamlined and expedited permit process. Thus far 131 permits have been issued. Permit Sonoma inspectors went out into the field starting February 27th to quickly execute safety inspections of over 2,000 properties.

The County continued its response efforts by coordinating two weeks of debris pickups. The recovery efforts will continue including an expedited permit process for flood victims. Please see the links below for more information.

Flood Story Map

Permitting FAQs and Digital LAC

Flood Recovery: 2019 Winter Storms and Flooding

Code Enforcement Success Story

heavy equipment removing debrisOn Thursday March 14, 2019, the removal of an aban­doned building in Sonoma brought relief to our community’s eyes. Thanks to local Contractor Dave Deming who used his heavy equipment to 18625 Highway 12 to demolish this nuisance structure that had been boarded up since 2014.

This structure was a former restaurant that became aban­doned and soon after, fell victim to the “ broken windows theory.” In essence, an unattractive abandoned property invites crime and is a public nuisance to its surrounding community.

Thanks to the hard work and consistent pressure from our Code Enforcement Division, the structure has been demolished and a clean lot is soon to come.

Planning for Hazards

flood debris road signThe County recognizes the potential natural disaster threats to Sonoma County which has led to the develop­ment of a countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is updated every five years in accordance with FEMA plan guidelines to address new issues as well as comply with new regulations. The most recent update, approved in 2016, included involvement from several community stakeholders including members of the public.

Whole-community resilience requires prepared local governments capable of a quick recovery after an emergency. This can be accomplished through specific, measurable, achievable, and time-oriented mitigation measures developed to maintain essential services and protect critical infrastructure. While the County works to increase the resiliency of its own facilities, it must also seek to foster and encourage mitigation actions that reduce the vulnerability of private buildings through the following:

  • Education
  • Incentives
  • Programs
  • Funding assistance
  • Siting and construction regulations

Implicit in this plan is the assumption that the County will continue to enforce existing policies and code requirements, consider hazard exposure implications during development review, and make hazard information and maps available for land use, development and real estate decisions.

The Objectives of the project are to:

  • Assure that adequate and up to date natural hazard information and maps are available and utilized to guide decisions that impact risk.
  • Update and enforce County codes to minimize the risks of natural hazards.
  • Reduce vulnerability of public buildings at risk from natural hazards.
  • Improve the ability of county infrastructure to withstand natural hazard events.
  • Reduce natural hazard risk to, and increase the mitigation capability of, private residents, businesses and others who could be affected by hazards.
  • Increase the County capability to respond (came directly out of the plan).

Learn More

Contact Information

Maggie Fleming
Communications Manager
Permit and Resource Management Department
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone