Procedures for processing agricultural building permit exemptions.
Section 7-7 of the Sonoma County Code provides building permit exemption provisions for “…buildings designed and constructed for use in housing farm machinery, animals, supplies or products that are harvested from or utilized on a parcel of land”. An agricultural use must presently exist on the property. Although the agricultural building does not need a building permit, the design and construction must comply with building code requirements. This exemption of the agricultural building is permitted on parcels five (5) acres or larger within the following zoning districts:
- LIA (Land Intensive Agricultural)
- RR (Rural Residential)
- LEA (Land Extensive Agricultural)
- TP (Timber Production)
- DA (Diverse Agricultural)
- AR (Agricultural and Residential) RRD (Resources and Rural Development)
- RRDW A (Resources and Rural Development/Agricultural Preserve)
The exemption shall apply only to a building that is an agricultural building as defined by Section 202 of the California Building Code (CBC). This section defines an agricultural building as “…a structure designed and constructed to house farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock or other horticultural products. This structure shall not be a place of human habitation or a place of employment where agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged; nor shall it be a place used by the public.” The applicant must accurately and completely describe the proposed use of the building on the application.
The proposed exempt building is limited to two (2) stories of wood framed or manufactured engineered buildings. Wood structural members are limited to 25 foot spans unless an engineered plan of the building has been prepared and submitted with the application.
The proposed exempt building must be 60 feet from property lines and other non-exempt buildings. The distance to other non-exempt buildings may be reduced to 40 feet when fire resistive walls are not required by the building code and the site conditions prevent setbacks of 60 feet. Waste plumbing is not permitted in the building, and permits are required for any water system or electrical installations.
Unless otherwise authorized, the structure must be completed within three (3 ) years of the date of the authorization for exemption. If the structure is not competed within this time period, a new exemption is required. Permit Sonoma staff will automatically schedule and conduct an inspection just prior to the three (3) year expiration of an approved exemption to verify that the building is complete and that there is an approved agricultural operation on the property.