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What is a Specific Plan?

The General Plan is a policy document that establishes a vision for the future of Sonoma County. It prioritizes, organizes, and directs development and conservation. General Plan policies are implemented by specific standards and rules that exist within the County’s Zoning Ordinance, Area Plans, and Specific Plans. Specific Plans provide more precise development policies related to particular geographic areas.

four-layer inverted pyramid denoting General Plan as the largest, then Specific Plans, then Zoning Ordinance, and finally Resolutions Implementation

General Plan

  • Mandatory policy document
  • Provides overarching vision and policies
  • 20 year lifespan (typical)
  • All County policies must be consistent with the General Plan

Specific Plans

  • Optional policy document
  • 10-15 year lifespan
  • Addresses areas of change that need special attention and integrated/holistic planning
  • Covers land use, design, infrastructure, & financing
  • Includes policy (general plan level) and regulations or standards (like a zoning ordinance)

Zoning Ordinance

  • Implements the General Plan
  • Specific standards and regulation
  • Procedures and administration of policy

Resolutions Implementation

  • Interpretations and practice

Contact Information

Contact Planning by Phone
Monday – Friday
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

What's My Zoning?

Parcel Search

Zoning and Land Use Map fragment

Find your property's zoning and land use by address or parcel number.

Sonoma County Cannabis Program

Learn More

Sonoma County Cannabis Program

Permits for cultivation and distribution, taxes, policy, personal use, and more.

Accessory Units & Junior Units

Find Out More

Accessory Unite

An inexpensive way to create smaller, more affordable rental housing units to Sonoma County residents.

Vacation Rentals

Obtain a Vacation Rental or Hosted Rental permit.

Procedure for applying electronically for a vacation rental or hosted rental permit.

Submit a complaint about a Vacation Rental.

Become certified as a Property Manager for a Vacation Rental property.