The Scenic Landscape Unit (SLU) is a tool that is adopted in the County’s General Plan to guide development in scenic hillside areas. The SLU functions as a mapped policy layer in certain hillside areas. When new structures are proposed on sites within an SLU, the structures are reviewed against design criteria by staff or the Design Review Board to ensure that scenic qualities of the site are considered when approving development plans. Like all mapped layers in the General Plan, the Zoning Ordinance implements the policy through zoning districts. The SLU design criteria are outlined in the regulations for the Scenic Resources (SR) combining district in the Zoning Ordinance.
The SLU design criteria are detailed in General Plan Policy OSRC-2d and are summarized below:
- Site structures to substantially screen them from public roads.
- Minimize grading on slopes.
- Minimize the removal of trees and mature vegetation.
- Where existing topography and vegetation would not screen structures from view from public roads, install landscaping to substantially screen structures from view.
- Use building materials and colors that blend with the natural landscape.
- On hills and ridges, avoid structures that project above the silhouette of the hill against the sky as viewed from public roads.
- To the extent feasible, cluster structures on each parcel.
The County’s General Plan includes policy that directs staff to expand the SLU in the Cloverdale area to mirror the community’s growth boundaries. In addition to implementing this General Plan Policy, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to consider expanding the SLU in Franz Valley, Knights Valley, and the scenic hillsides surrounding Healdsburg and Cloverdale. After studying the areas that would benefit from SLU design review, staff has prepared a proposed SLU and SR combining district expansion.
Map Viewer of Project Area
The following mapping tool may be used to determine whether your property may be affected by the proposed action: Proposed Scenic Landscape Units Map Viewer
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Thursday, May 16, 2019 to review the proposed amendments. You can view a video recap of this meeting:
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
The project is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under Section 15308 of the CEQA Guidelines because it is an action taken by a local government to ensure the protection and enhancement of the environment including scenic resources.
Details of the project are available at the Permit and Resource Management Department at 2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.