The following summarizes the actions taken. Last updated January 9, 2018.
On October 24, 2017, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors adopted an Urgency Ordinance to enact a 45-day moratorium on the issuance of new vacation rental permits to facilitate emergency housing for persons displaced by the Sonoma Complex Fire. On December 5, 2017, the Board extended this moratorium (not including hosted rentals and vacation rentals in the Russian River Planning Area) until Monday, February 5, 2018. On January 23, 2018, the Board directed staff to develop a vacation rental unit exclusion zone for the burn zone, which will be brought to the Planning Commission.
Temporary Housing for Displaced Persons
Residential Use of Recreational Vehicles and Travel Trailers will be allowed, both within and outside burn areas on residential and agriculturally zoned properties in the unincorporated areas, with an emergency temporary permit. Hookup to sewer or septic systems or a holding tank with a pumping contract is required. All types of Recreational Vehicles and Travel Trailers are allowed to be used as temporary housing, provided they are approved by the state and licensed through Dept. of Motor Vehicles and are placed with a temporary permit.
Safe Parking Programs will be enabled at certain County-owned properties allowing persons living in RVs, trailers, campers, and other vehicles to be parked overnight with some services provided (bathrooms, showers, and warming stations). Safe parking will also be allowed on private properties (i.e. churches) subject to approval of Community Development Commission.
Seasonal Farmworker Housing. The term of occupancy has been extended beyond 180 days so that seasonal farmworkers may remain year-round.
Rental/Use of Guest Houses, Pool Houses and Other Residential Accessory Structures to persons displaced by the fire is allowed.
Replacement Schools and Child Care Centers is allowed without a use permit in the following zones:
- MP (industrial park)
- C1 (neighborhood commercial)
- CO (commercial office)
- PF (public facility)
Long-term Rental of Visitor Serving Uses is allowed, including bed and breakfast inns, resorts, agricultural farmstays, promotional marketing accommodations and similar uses.
Expansion of Damaged Nonconforming Residential Structures is allowed to incentivize the construction of additional living areas, accessory dwelling units, and junior accessory dwelling units.
Development Impact Fees. Development impact fees for schools, parks, traffic, sewer, water and affordable housing do not apply to reconstruction of an existing structure with the same floor area. Impact fees may apply to additional floor area beyond the original structure, in some cases, such as when a bedroom is added.
Permit Processing Fees: Permit processing fees such as building permits and land use permits will apply to reconstruction and are generally covered by insurance. However, fee reductions or waivers may be considered by the Board of Supervisors for those that are uninsured or underinsured.
Incentive for Construction of New Accessory Dwelling Units. Development impact fees that are typically charged on new residential units to cover the cost of improvements needed for traffic and parks has been reduced or waived for new accessory dwelling units in the burn areas as noted below. The fee reduction is intended to encourage construction or installation of accessory dwelling units to house fire victims while rebuilding or add to the rental housing stock.
RV Parks and Campgrounds in the K zone. Use permit requirements are waived for RV special occupancy parks and campgrounds in the K zones subject to Administrative Design Review. Year-round occupancy for displaced persons is allowed.
FEMA Temporary Housing Projects. Temporary housing projects including RV parks, manufactured homes or other temporary housing units approved or developed in cooperation with FEMA are a permitted use in the PF, M1, M2, and MP zones.
Expansion of Mobile Home Park Sites. Use permit requirements are waived for expansion of existing, permitted mobile home parks up to the maximum allowable density of 135% subject to a zoning permit and subject to any applicable state standards.
Design Standards for Reconstruction of Homes in the Scenic Landscape Units. Design review requirements are waived in the Scenic Landscape Units for reconstruction or redesign of homes in the burn areas, if in compliance with the Design Standards for Reconstructed Homes.
Standards for Waiver of Design Review Requirements
Well Tests in Water Scarce Areas. Well tests are waived for reconstruction of fire-destroyed dwellings in Groundwater Availability Areas 3 and 4. Well tests are only required for new additional dwelling units (i.e. accessory dwellings) however, prior well tests may be used to justify the additional units.
Manufactured Home for Temporary Housing. On fire damaged lots, a manufactured home may be placed for temporary housing while reconstructing the primary residence. The manufactured home must be removed prior to final occupancy, unless the unit is otherwise permitted as an accessory dwelling or junior dwelling unit.
One Year Extension of Time. A one year extension of time has been granted for lot line adjustments, use permits, design review, and similar entitlements that were approved on or after December 12, 2015. This extension is in addition to any other extensions allowed. Tentative maps that have not already been extended and were approved on or after December 12, 2015 are also extended for one year.
Price Gouging charging more than 10% over the average rent charged prior to the emergency is prohibited under state law. This applies to transient occupancy, short-term and long-term rentals of less than 1-year. Price gouging also applies to contracting and materials. The District Attorney will be prosecuting violations.