Rezoning Sites for Housing

All jurisdictions within California are required to plan for their projected growth, including having adequate sites zoned for housing to meet their identified housing need (Government Code Section 65583(a)(3)). Sonoma County’s General Plan focuses growth in cities and established communities, so sites to be zoned for housing must be located within General Plan-designated Urban Service Areas where public utilities are available. Ideally, the sites could facilitate housing developments where residents can walk to their daily needs, reducing the number of cars on the road and time spent in traffic. 

The Rezoning Sites for Housing effort 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. It will also identify appropriate sites on which to place the Workforce Housing Combining Zone, which would allow the development of both jobs and housing on the same site or within walking distance from one another.

Site Eligibility

In order to be considered for rezoning, sites must meet these basic requirements:

  • Site must be located in the unincorporated County.
  • Site must be located within an established Urban Service Area where public sewer and water service is available.
  • Site must not be located within a Community Separator.
  • If a site is near an incorporated city, it must not be located outside of a city's Urban Growth Boundary.

In addition to these criteria, the General Plan sets forth additional criteria to be used in considering which sites to rezone for housing (Housing Element Policy HE-2f and Programs 11 and 20). These factors include proximity to jobs, transit, services, and schools.

The Workforce Housing Combining Zone has additional eligibility criteria:

  • Site must have commercial or industrial base zoning.
  • Site must be located within 3,000 feet of a transit center, or within 3,000 feet of at least three acres of commercial-zoned land or 10 acres of industrial-zoned land.

Public Input

In late 2018, the County asked for the public’s help in identifying sites, and over 100 sites were nominated. County staff evaluated all nominated sites to determine if they met the basic eligibility criteria. The environmental review process is expected to refine the list of sites further. 

There will be multiple opportunities for interested members of the public to examine and comment on sites that are being analyzed for possible rezoning, as shown in Process, below.


Housing Sites Process

Contact Information

Permit Sonoma
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

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General Plan Housing Element

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Sonoma County Housing Element

Housing Initiatives

Permit Sonoma Housing Initiatives

Housing Initiatives

Permit Sonoma is introducing several initiatives to help meet the County's housing production goals.

Housing for All Strategy

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multi-unit housing

The County's strategic priority to ensure housing for all income levels.