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November 2018

Tennis Wick, Permit Sonoma Director Welcome to Permit Sonoma!

In this issue of our e-newsletter we have:

Tennis Wick, AICP, Director

Published: November 30, 2018

Rebuilding Better

Rebuild - Supervisor James Gore, property owner Brandon Broll, Permit Sonoma Director Tennis WickAs of today, the County of Sonoma has issued rebuild permits for 657 single family homes and 14 multi-family homes.

On November 7, Board of Supervisors Chair James Gore met with property owner Brandon Broll on the site of the former Estancia Apartments, which were burned down in the October 2017 fires. A new apartment complex will be built on the site, 4550 Old Redwood Highway, now called Sonoma Ranch Apartment Homes. The project was expedited through the permitting process to rebuild after the fires. With encouragement from the County, the number of apartment units will increase from 70 to 96 units, providing much needed additional housing for our county’s residents. The County partnered with the developer to make several improvements to the project, including transitioning from septic to sewer.

“Here we have an example of something that’s coming back better,” Gore said. “It’s better for energy, it’s better for groundwater, it’s got more units, so it’s better for housing, and for the first time, it has set-aside units for affordable housing. This is the epitome of rebuilding better.”

Read the Press Democrat’s coverage of this project.

Storm Water Protection Measures Are Working

fiber wattleThe County continues to work with homeowners and construction sites to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs), which decrease the possibility that sediment or other pollutants end up in our local water bodies. This is particularly important now that rain season is here. Properly installed and maintained components described in the BMPs reduce the force of raindrop impact, slow down and spread out storm water, and give water a chance to sink into the ground rather than runoff into streams.

In addition to conducting site inspections, Permit Sonoma has been in conversation with biologists to check the water quality of our streams. This is one step in the County’s overall strategy to protect 100,000 acre watershed and water supply for 600,000 people.

Visit the Sonoma County Recovers site to download resources on Making Sure Your Parcel is Ready for Winter and Storm Water Pollution Prevention for Construction Sites.

What Would Motivate you to Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

accessory dwelling unitAs part of the County’s overall goal to increase housing, we have a goal to build 1,000 new accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by 2023. In May 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved changes to the ADU Ordinance to increase maximum ADU size, reduce parcel size requirements, and reduce development fees. Two other upcoming strategies to increase the number of ADUs are the development of an ADU financing tool and an ADU calculator. The ADU calculator will help individuals estimate the costs, returns, and benefits associated with building an ADU.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey to share your input on potential barriers and incentives for building accessory dwelling units and/or junior units. This Accessory Dwelling Unit survey is designed to gather information to support financing and outreach efforts to encourage the development of more ADUs, with the ultimate goal of providing more housing for residents in Sonoma county.

Permitting Tips for Building a Fence

fenceIf you’re building a fence, you may need a building permit and/or a use permit depending on the fence height and location. Follow the steps below to find out whether or not you need a permit for your fence.

Step 1: Determine whether or not there are height limits for your fence based on zoning regulations for your property. A Use Permit is required when exceeding height limits. Examples include, but aren’t limited to use permits, design review, and/or coastal permits. In general, fences over than (3) three feet in height within the front yard setback, or over six (6) feet in height within the rear and side yard setbacks are likely to require a use permit, despite the exemption from a building permit. If your fence exceeds these limits, contact the Permit Sonoma planning staff to determine if permits other than a building permit are required. A site plan showing the location of the proposed fence is required to make these determinations.

Step 2: Determine whether or not you need a building permit. No building permits are required for the following fences:

  1. Open fences, such as wood lattice or wire mesh that are 10 feet or less in height
  2. Solid fences, such as wood, concrete, or masonry that are less than 6 feet in height
  3. Solid fences, such as wood, concrete, or masonry that are less than 6 feet in height that are topped with up to 4 feet of open fence as measured form the lowest grade to the top of the fence

Step 3. Determine if the fence is in the Right of way. If in a public right of way then an encroachment permit is required and you need to contact Engineering.

Contact Information

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