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November 2019

Tennis Wick, Permit Sonoma Director Welcome to Permit Sonoma!

In this issue of our e-newsletter we have:

Tennis Wick, AICP, Director

Published: November 26, 2019

Local Coastal Plan Update Workshops

sailboat with homes in backgroundThe public workshops to discuss the Review Draft of the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) have started. The workshops will introduce the document and update process, as well as provide the opportunity for public input on the draft prior to preparation of the Planning Commission draft.

Watch Video

The Permit Sonoma LCP Update planner, Cecily Condon, got a chance to interview Abigail Black of the Coastal Commission:

Workshop Schedule and Updates

You can view the workshop schedule and can receive updates by visiting the Local Coastal Plan Update webpage and signing up for the email list.

Fire Rebuild Updates

debris clean-up crewProgress is being made in the recovery and rebuild process for both the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fire and 2019 Kincade Fire. Resources have been developed to provide information and to track the rebuild process.

After the Kincade Fire destroyed 374 structures, the County responded quickly by developing a plan for streamlined rebuilding, building on lessons learned from the 2017 fires. Currently properties burned in the Kincade Fire are in the debris removal step of the rebuilding efforts. Permit Sonoma’s HazMat team supports the first phase of this debris removal, which includes the removal of household hazardous waste. Permit Sonoma has established services that will expedite the permit process and lower costs. Visit the Rebuilding Together Website for an overview of the steps to rebuild.

Track Progress of Rebuilds

You can now track the progress of the 2017 Complex Fire rebuilds in unincorporated Sonoma County on a newly created map which highlights which types of structures are being built and where properties are in the permit process.

Watch Video: Household Hazardous Waste Clean Up

The Fire Prevention Hazardous Materials Unit is responsible for participating in the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Clean Ups in response to fires. The video below features an overview of what is done during the HHW clean-ups and why it is important.

Tanker Rollover HazMat Response Near Sonoma

HazMat overturned fuel truckAt approxi­mately 10:30 AM on Saturday, November 16, Sonoma County Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials Unit responded to an overturned tanker on Highway 121 near Sonoma.

More Information

Updates Coming to Sonoma County Building & Fire Codes

construction workers at job siteState Man­dated Code Change

The International Code Council (ICC) revises and publishes model building codes on a three year cycle. The California Building Standards Code was published on July 1, 2019, and local jurisdictions are obligated to implement the State codes, as adopted by the State within 180 days after State publication. These state-mandated codes govern the design and construction of structures and the maintenance of life safety systems within structures for fire prevention. Local jurisdictions can make local amendments that are equal to or more stringent, but local jurisdictions cannot relax the State codes. The State codes go into effect January 1, 2020.

Sonoma County Adoption of Codes

On November 12, 2019 and November 18, 2019, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) held public workshops/hearings to consider the proposed changes to the state model code updates for building and fire safety. The proposed local ordinances will be going before the BOS in early December for final adoption.

Significant Local Code Changes

In each code cycle we see many changes from the state based on what has been learned in the previous three years. The changes run the gambit of minor to significant changes. In this code cycle the most significant change is within the California Energy Code and is the requirement for all new residential structures to have photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Local amendments to the current code include:

  • Changes relative to specific administrative provisions such as the time limit of building applications and permits, projects that are exempt from needing a building permit, appeals, definitions, and to ensure the building codes are consistent with the fire code.
  • Extension of a long standing exemption to fire sprinklers in accessory and U occupancies 3,000 square feet and less to allow for greater water supplies and cost savings to property and business owners.
  • Clarification of the existing language regarding the use of easements within water scarce areas. This proposal does not create a new regulation nor relaxes existing regulations. This is a state definition.
  • Changes to the definition of ”substantial Improvement” – the county ordinance of residential and commercial fire sprinklers applies when the substantial improvement is over 75%.
  • Fire Safe Standards have been updated by Board of Forestry. The purpose to the changes was to bring the previous version up to model language.
  • Fireworks was amended from previous 2016 to include the ability for the Fire Marshal / Fire Warden to not allow for pyrotechnic displays in a fire district jurisdiction when the County Fire Marshal / Fire Warden believes that the display will propose a threat to life and property based on weather and topographical conditions or when located in the State Responsibility Area.

Effective Date for Codes

The new building and fire codes will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Permit applications received before December 31, 2019 will not need to meet the new codes, and will instead be reviewed and permitted according to the existing 2016 codes.

Contact Information

Maggie Fleming
Communications Manager
Permit and Resource Management Department
County of Sonoma
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