Planning Application Process

Planning Applications are Required for:

A Planning application is required for development projects that are typically more intensive than Permitted Uses. Planning applications often require a public hearing before the appropriate boards and commissions. When processed with a Zone Change or a General Plan Amendment, the application must ultimately be approved by the Board of Supervisors. A Planning application can only be approved if found to be consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan, Sonoma County Zoning Code and, applicable Area or Specific Plan and if found to be compatible with the health, safety, and welfare of the neighborhood.

Examples of uses requiring Zoning Permits:

  • Home Occupations
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Horse Boarding
  • Setback Averaging

Zoning Permits are typically subject to specific ordinance requirements and may be administratively approved.

Examples of uses requiring Design Review:

  • New dwelling or structure within Scenic Resource zones
  • Commercial, industrial and multi-family structures
  • New commercial signage

Design Review is discretionary in nature. If approved, they will include conditions of approval and may be administratively approved or subject to public hearing.

Examples of uses requiring Use Permits: 

  • wineries,
  • kennels,
  • contractor storage yards,
  • planned developments and
  • mixed use projects.

Use Permits are discretionary in nature. If approved, they will include conditions of approval and be subject to the public hearing process (hearing waivers may be applicable).

Determine Which Permits are Required for Your Project

In addition to Planning permits, additional permits from the County such as building, septic and grading permits may be required for your project.  Such permits may be submitted for a plancheck review at any point, but may not be issued until the Planning permit has been approved and all applicable conditions met.

Permits from other local, State and Federal agencies may also be required for a project, such as the Regional Water Quality and Air Resources Control Boards or the State Fish and Wildlife Department, or the U.S. Army Corps.  The applicant is responsible for obtaining all required permits and meeting all applicable conditions prior to the start of any work. 

Talk to Planning

Prior to submitting any Planning application it is recommended that the applicant discuss their project with a County Planner to reduce potential issues (incomplete application, environmental and code issues, etc.).  Planners may be contacted at:

Submit Application

  1. Read application and collect required materials
  2. Complete required forms and studies as required by specific application
  3. Prepare plans for review (site plans, building elevations, etc.)
  4. Deliver completed application materials in-person to PRMD with payment

Please note: Actual fees will be determined upon receipt of completed application materials.