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Board of Supervisors Approves First Set of Housing Initiatives

Published:  May 11, 2018

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, on May 8, 2018, approved a set of changes to the Sonoma County Code, to take effect June 7, 2018. These code amendments are designed to reduce constraints to housing production and to provide broader options for permanent housing solutions. 

Additional housing initiatives will be introduced this year, intended to facilitate housing production at all income levels over the next five years. The Planning Commission will consider an ordinance to rezone qualified parcels countywide to remove the Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Zone in June, followed by other code changes to further expand housing opportunities and encourage new types of housing in appropriate areas. Two Specific Plans currently underway in the Airport SMART station area and the Sonoma Springs area are also anticipated to increase allowable residential uses and densities near employment and transit. 


Ordinance No. 6222 - Amendments to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Ordinance No. 6223 - Amendments to Ch. 26 of the Sonoma County Code

Changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Description of Adopted Code ChangesApplicability

Code Sections (all references to Ch. 26)

Increase maximum size of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to 1,200 sf, reduce parcel size (reflected in table below) and reduce development fees on graduated scale.

Any parcel that does not meet minimum parcel size or design and development standards can apply for an ADU through the minor use permit process.

All zones that allow ADUs  26-88-060 Accessory Dwellings

Minimum Parcel and Unit Size

Water and SanitationMinimum Parcel SizeMaximum Unit Size
Well and Septic 2.0 acres 1,200
Public or Community Water, or on-site well1 1.5-1.99 acres 640/1-bdrm
Public or Community Water 1.0-1.49 acres2 640/1-bdrm
Public Water and Sewer within urban service areas 5,000 square feet 1,200

1On-site well must meet current potable water supply standards as defined in Sonoma County Code Chapter 25B-3

2Not in Waiver Prohibition Area

NOTE: Parcels that do not meet minimum parcel size or design/development standards can apply for an ADU with a minor use permit.

Fee Reductions for Accessory Dwelling Units Countywide

Size of Unit % of  applicable development fees
<750 sq. ft. 0
751-1,000 sq. ft. 50%
1,001-1,200 sq. ft. 100%

 Other Changes

Description of Adopted Code ChangesApplicability

Code Sections (all references to Ch. 26)

Increase allowable residential floor area in Mixed-Use projects to 80% residential and 20% commercial; and allow Mixed-Use projects that provide affordable units on-site as a permitted use

LC, C2, C1 26-88-123 Mixed Use
Delay collection of affordable housing fees until near occupancy All residential uses Article 89 Affordable Housing Programs
Authorize Permit Sonoma Director to approve alternative equivalent affordable housing plans All residential uses 26-89-040 Affordable Housing Requirements
Allow transitional and supportive housing in all zones that allow a single-family dwelling All residential uses Multiple
Provide density bonus for projects providing housing units for foster youth, veterans, and homeless All residential uses Article 89 Affordable Housing Programs
Allow small Single Room Occupancy (SRO) projects as a permitted use; allow larger SROs with a use permit; and eliminate the existing 30-room cap LC, C2, R2, R3, PC 26-88-125 Single Room Occupancy

Contact Information

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

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