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Proposed Local Coastal Plan Update

The Local Coastal Plan Update includes updated maps and focused policy in the areas of public access, water resources, geologic hazards, biological resources, and sea level rise. The Public Review Draft of the Local Coastal Plan was prepared based on public and agency input on the Preliminary Draft in 2015.

Purpose

The State requires Sonoma County to develop a Local Coastal Plan (LCP) to regulates land use, protect coastal resources, and guide coastal development.  In the last several decades, we have learned about changing conditions on the Coast including the need for:

  • adapting to climate change, including sea level rise;
  • safeguarding public access;
  • protecting of water resources;
  • conserving of coastal ecosystems;
  • preserving of agriculture;
  • mitigating hazards and wildfire resiliency.

The Local Coastal Plan update will address these areas while making the plan more modern and easier to understand and use.

What is a Local Coastal Program?

Find Out More

Public Process and Next Steps

From the beginning of the County’s Local Coastal Program, there has been strong citizen participation.  The  Preliminary Draft Local Coastal Plan (LCP) was published in June 2015, and five public workshops were held during the summer of 2015. After integrating community feedback, the  Public Review Draft(PDF) was published in September 2019, with public workshops to introduce the plan beginning in fall 2019 and finishing in March 2021.  Six public workshops and four topic specific workshops were held in 2021. Over 500 members of coastal communities have participated and these workshops generated over 400 comments from individuals, interest groups, agencies, and research organizations.

The Local Coastal Plan does not become effective until certified by the California Coastal Commission. Before the LCP goes to the Coastal Commission, the Planning Commission and Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will have hearings on the plan where the public can provide further input. Permit Sonoma is now in the process of updating the Local Coastal Plan and related documents.

Public hearings have been tentatively scheduled:

  • Planning Commission in June 2021
  • Board of Supervisors in late August 2021
  • California Coastal Commission in November 2021

Our Local Coastal Plan History

1980 Local Coastal Plan

The process of preparing the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan (LCP) began in 1978, and from the beginning included strong citizen participation. The Draft LCP was completed and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in May 1980, certified by the Coastal Commission in December 1980, and became effective in January 1981.

However, adoption and certification of The Sea Ranch portion of the LCP was deferred due to disagreement about public access and pending litigation between the developer Oceanic and the Coastal Commission. Following resolution of these issues with a settlement agreement, the County developed the Land Use Plan for The Sea Ranch. In 1982 the Coastal Commission certified The Sea Ranch portion of the LCP and the LCP implementation plan that included the Administrative Manual and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance.

1989 General Plan & Local Coastal Plan

In 1989 the County adopted a new General Plan, which directed the County to update and revise the Local Coastal Plan to be consistent with the new General Plan. In 1993, 1995, 1999, and 2001 the Coastal Commission certified amendments to the LCP, which adopted technical changes to ensure consistency with the General Plan.

2008 General Plan & Local Coastal Plan

In 2001 the County started revising and updating the 1989 General Plan and simultaneously the Local Coastal Plan. The County adopted Sonoma County General Plan 2020 on September 23, 2008. Accordingly, the Local Coastal Plan Update incorporates applicable General Plan 2020 goals, objectives, and policies; and includes objectives and policies unique to the Coastal Zone and the larger Sonoma Coast/Gualala Basin Planning Area.

Coastal Zone

Local Coastal ZoneView full size map (PDF: 746 kB)