Permit Sonoma

July 2019

Environmental Resource Management Summer Academy

ERMSA Graduation ClassPermit Sonoma provided funding for CTE Foundation (CTEF), in partnership with Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) and the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), to develop and implement a new education-to-career bridge program, the Environmental Resource Management Summer Academy (ERMSA). The purpose of ERMSA is to introduce high school students to local careers in environmental resource management and to guide post-secondary education planning. Topics covered in the pilot course, which was implemented this summer, include:

  • sustainable farming/agriculture
  • watershed management
  • green energy
  • fire/fuels mitigation
  • climate protection
  • parks and recreation space management
  • environmental advocacy and stewardship

The program is currently funded for two years. On July 24, 2019, 14 the first cohort of high school students graduated from the program. The graduation, hosted by Shone Farm, featured student presentation about what they had learned during the program.

One student, Kanzie stated that “It was inspiring to see so many businesses and individuals passionate about the environment working toward creating a better Sonoma County.”

Sonoma County Receives Merit Award for Housing Initiatives

Nina Bellucci meeting with a client about ADUsThe American Planning Association (APA) California Chapter selected the County of Sonoma’s Housing Initiatives program as the winner of the 2018 Opportunity and Empowerment Award of Merit. The APA California Awards Program recognizes and celebrates the exemplary planning work occurring throughout California. The program’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award honors planning work that improves the quality of life for low- and moderate-income community residents. (Pictured: Nina Bellucci, left, our internal expert on ADUs/JADUs meeting with a client looking to build an ADU on their property.)

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Local Fire Departments to Fly Flags for Red Flag Warnings

Fire Safe Sonoma logoPhysical Red Flags

Fire departments in Sonoma County will fly red flags marked “High Fire Danger” when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service issues red flag warnings. This new initiative is part of the Ready, Set, Go Program promoted by the Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association and Fire Safe Sonoma, and funded by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

A “red flag warning” means that critical fire weather conditions will occur due to strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures. Red flag warnings are typically issued when frequent wind gusts reach over 25 miles per hour and/or relative humidity is at or below 15 percent.

The physical red flags that fire departments will display will help inform firefighters and local residents that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.

"This new system will make it easier for us as fire departments to ensure that communities are aware and alert in the event of a fire like we experienced in October of 2017," Fire Chief Jason Boaz of Healdsburg Fire Department said, "it will help spread the word and potentially save lives."

Steps to Be Prepared

If you see a red flag flying at a nearby fire station, take these steps to be prepared for a fast-moving or unexpected fire.

  • Clear away dead vegetation within at least 10 feet of your home and out of gutters. Remove flammable materials (e.g. firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet around your home. 
  • Ensure that you are signed up for emergency alerts. Examples:
  • Have an emergency bag ready with food, water, important documents and other essentials designed to last 72 hours. Do not engage in any outdoor burning, including in fire pits. 
  • Ensure your home smoke alarms are working. 
  • Create an escape plan from your home and find two evacuation routes out of your neighborhood with a designated meeting place. 

For more information about the Ready, Set, Go Program or the Red Flag Warning System, contact Fire Safe Sonoma at, or your local fire department.

Code Enforcement Success Story

Code Enforcement badge hanging from chainSonoma County Code Enforcement worked closely with several local agencies in order to clean-up an unsafe property in unincor­porated Sonoma. Check out the video interview with Code Inspector Scott Lapinski for the whole story.

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Vegetation Management & Defensible Space

Vegetation Management Notice of AbatementWith the fire season upon us, it is important to create defensible space around your home. What is defensible space? Learn about defensible space and answers to FAQs about this fire season's vegetation management inspections from County Fire Inspectors.

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July 2019 Performance Data

Performance MeasuresWe strive to provide the best possible service to our customers as they navigate through complex state and local code require­ments. Below is the average time it took Permit Sonoma to provide first review comments to permit applicants. Numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Building permits for residential properties valued less than $100,000:
8 weeks
Building permits for residential properties valued more than $100,000:
8 weeks
Septic permits:
7 weeks
Encroachment permits:
2 weeks

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Contact Information

Bradley Dunn
Policy Manager
County of Sonoma
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