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  • Housing - Cottage Housing

    New ordinance allowing Cottage Housing Developments

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    New standards for multi-family development

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Housing Initiatives

Permit Sonoma is developing several initiatives designed to provide more opportunities and better certainty to housing developers in order to reduce risk and increase investment, to help meet the County's ambitious housing production goal. These initiatives are primarily focused on urban-centered growth.

Urban-Centered Growth

In May 2018, the County updated local policy with the following actions to increase housing development in urban service areas:

  • Increased the allowable residential floor area in mixed-use projects from 50 percent to 80 percent
  • Delayed collection of fees until near occupancy, rather than at permitting
  • Allowed small single room occupancy (SRO) projects as a permitted use and removed the existing 30-room limit for larger SRO projects
  • Allowed transitional and supportive housing in all zoning districts that allow single-family dwellings

In October 2018, the Board approved further housing initiatives, including: 

  • Simplifying development standards for multi-family housing projects;
  • Allowing higher densities near jobs and transit through provision of a new Workforce Housing Combining Zone;
  • Providing for a new housing type called Cottage Housing Developments that will provide multi-unit housing in the style, scale, and size of single-family homes, in low- and medium-density neighborhoods;
  • Allowing use of a new density unit equivalent concept to encourage more smaller rental units and fewer larger units; and
  • Codifying the existing condominium conversion policy and providing better protections for residents in rental mobile home parks.   

Read more about these actions

In early 2019, the County will consider sites in urban service areas for rezoning for higher density, affordable, or workforce housing.

Accessory Dwelling Units

In addition to the urban focused housing efforts, the County is also introducing policy and programs to encourage accessory dwelling units (ADU). In May 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved changes to the ADU Ordinance to increase maximum ADU size, reduce parcel size requirements, and reduce development fees. Later this year, the Board of Supervisors will be considering the removal of the Z (ADU Exclusion) Zone, to allow more ADUs throughout the county.

Specific Plans

There are two specific plans currently underway in the Airport SMART station area and the Sonoma Springs area are anticipated to increase allowable residential uses and densities near employment and transit. 

Contact Information

Permit Sonoma
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

Get updates on Housing Initiatives

Accessory Units & Junior Units

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are an inexpensive way to create smaller, more affordable rental housing units.

ADU Calculator

Junior Unit

Try this new online tool to help estimate the costs, returns, and benefits associated with building an ADU.

Sonoma County Community Development Commission

The Community Development Commission (CDC) is dedicated to promoting decent and affordable housing, revitalizing communities, and supporting public services.

Community Development Commission

CDC Housing and Neighborhood Investment

Office of Recovery and Resiliency


County Seal

Recovery-focused information on the County's efforts to build and rebuild housing