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Available Permits

Below is a sortable table index of all the currently available permit and activity types and the 3-letter permit abbreviations used by Permit Sonoma.

Permit Index

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Permit TypeSubtypeDescriptionPermit AbbreviationPermit Sonoma Division
AddressingPermit Sonoma is charged with the responsibility of assigning new addresses and adjusting existing physical addresses within the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. The goal of proper address assignment is to bring addressing in Sonoma County to consistent standards and to support emergency response efficiencies, thereby providing for the safety of Sonoma County residents.ADDCustomer Service
Agricultural ExemptionBuilding permit exemption for a structure designated for agricultural uses only.AEXBuilding
Agricultural PreserveCounty and owners of agricultural and open space land voluntarily enter into agreements that restrict the owner’s use of the land to agriculture.AGPPlanning
Bridges and Elevated SurfacesPer Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance, all roadway and driveway structures shall be designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with applicable sections of the county building and fire code, the Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, and any administrative regulations and shall have a minimum designed live-load capacity of HS-20.Fire Prevention
Building PermitWith Plancheck or
No Plancheck
A building permit is an official approval to proceed with a construction project. Unless otherwise exempt, a building permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair (including reroofing), move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the building code, or to cause any such work to be performed.BLDBuilding
Certificate of ComplianceAdministrativeAdministrative Certificates of Compliance (ACC) are issued by the County to properties that have been proven to be separate legal parcels. The ACC only gives the owner the right to sell, lease or finance the parcel separately from other contiguous parcels held by the same owner.ACCPlanning
Certificate of ComplianceConditionalAllows a person to apply for a determination as to whether a division of land complied with State and Local laws in effect at the time of the division.CCCPlanning
Certificate of ModificationModifications can be made to recorded a parcel map (Minor Subdivision) or a final map (Major Subdivision) through the Certificate of Modification procedure. Typical modifications to recorded maps include changes to agency notes upon the maps, relocation or removal of easements, and relocation or enlargement of building envelopes.CMOPlanning
Coastal PermitWith Hearing or
No Hearing
Coastal permits are required for development on parcels located within the Coastal Zone. Coastal permits are processed either administratively without a hearing, or with a public hearing, typically by the Board of Zoning Adjustments.CPH, CPNPlanning
Corner RecordA corner record is a legal document filed with the County by a licensed land surveyor to document surveyed lines and monumentation. Is it a survey made to establish or reestablish a corner or other related survey control.SUREngineering
Demolition PermitA demolition permit is required to demolish a building or structure in whole or in part. Some demolition permits may be included within a building permit application, especially for portions of structures.DEMBuilding
Design ReviewAdministrativeAdministrative Design Review for proposed structures in designated scenic areas and new uses in commercial areas to minimize their visual impacts.ADRPlanning
Design ReviewWith HearingThe Design Review Committee (DRC) reviews and approves the design of significant new development projects, such as new commercial development.DRHPlanning
Design ReviewCommercialThe Sonoma County Zoning Code allows Administrative Design Review for (1) new commercial or industrial uses previously approved by use permit or design review, and for (2) minor facade changes or minor building additions for commercial or industrial uses. Additionally, new structures up to 10,000 square feet in urban areas may be eligible for Administrative Design Review.ADR, DRHPlanning
Design ReviewResidentialMany areas of Sonoma County have significant scenic resources. In an attempt to allow for development while preserving these resources, scenic areas have been designated as Scenic Resource (SR) or Scenic Design (SD). Administrative Design Review is conducted by a staff person in consultation with applicants. Agricultural structures (barns, stables, etc.) are exempt from design review except for properties subject to the Bennett Valley Area Plan and the Local Coastal Plan.ADR, DRHPlanning
Drainage PermitA drainage permit is required prior to commencing any drainage improvement or related work, including preparatory site clearing and soil disturbance, except where exempted from permit requirements in Sonoma County Code section 11.06.010.DRNEngineering
EncroachmentWork within the County maintained road or right-of-way, such as upgrading or paving a driveway, installing utilities, drainage, landscaping and mailbox structures, requires an encroachment permit.ENCEngineering
Engineering Site ReviewField or Office site evaluation related to Engineering permits or activities.ESREngineering
Fire SprinklersSonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance requires fire sprinklers for both residential and commercial occupancies (with some exceptions).Fire Prevention
GatesSonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance requires all existing and newly installed gates to be permitted and/or to comply with fire access requirements. This includes width, distance and method of opening.Fire Prevention
General Plan - AmendmentIn order to amend a General Plan land use policy, designation or density on a parcel, an application must be made for a General Plan amendment.GPAPlanning
Generator, Back-upChecklist for obtaining a building permit for a back-up generator connected to your electrical panel.BLDBuilding
Geotechnical or Soils InvestigationCalifornia Building Code outlines specific instances of when a geotechnical/soils report is required based on soil conditions and construction methods.SOILBuilding
GradingGrading is the removal or deposition of earth material by artificial means. Common examples of grading include, but are not limited to, construction of driveways, building pads, site improvements or reservoirs, and restoration/stabilization of hillsides, slopes or stream banks.GRDEngineering
Gray Water - Non-Potable SystemsGraywater is wastewater collected from showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks, and clothes washing machines. Graywater does not include water from toilets, kitchen sinks, or dishwashers.GYWWell and Septic
Improvement PlansImprovement plans are needed as part of the review process for subdivisions or grading improvements. They are also needed for non-subdivision improvements in the right of way.SUREngineering
Knox Box Key AccessPer California Fire Code, Sonoma County requires all new construction and existing buildings to be equipped with a fire department access box to provide for rapid entry and prevention of damage to buildings and gates. This is a mandatory system for commercial establishments within the county as well as all electric commercial and residential gates within the county.Fire Prevention
Land Conservation Contract - Establishment, Replacement, NonRenewalThe California Land Conservation Act allows the County and owners of agricultural and open space land to voluntarily enter into agreements that restrict the owner’s use of the land to agricultural and/or open space uses and uses compatible with those agricultural and/or open space uses, in exchange for a reduction in property tax assessment.LCCPlanning
Lot Line AdjustmentA Lot Line Adjustment (LLA) is a realignment of boundary lines between two to four existing legal parcels (per Section 66412 of the Subdivision Map Act), where the land taken from one parcel is added to an adjacent parcel. This process is undertaken when the owner(s) of adjacent lots or parcels desire to change the shape, size, and/or location of the parcels.LLAPlanning
Low Impact DevelopmentPermit to monitor and inspect post-construction storm water best management practices.LIDEngineering
MapThe County Surveyor conducts reviews of Final Maps, Parcel Maps, Records of Survey and Corner Records for compliance with appropriate laws pertaining to each map, including amended maps.SUREngineering
Ordinance Determination and Appeals of Staff DecisionsOrdinance - Board of Supervisors
Tracks the map associated with a zoning district change approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Property Manager CertificationA property manager who is certified by Permit Sonoma is required for all vacation rentals.PMRPlanning
Rapid Evaluation Safety AssessmentTracks information about a structure which has been affected by flood, wildfire, or other storm or natural disaster damage.EVTBuilding
Record of SurveyA Record of Survey is an official map that is reviewed by the surveyor. This map represents a survey made on the round and delineates deed described lines, or lines related to survey control.ROSEngineering
Right of Way VacationA permit to request approval to vacate a portion of public right-of-way.RWVEngineering
Road NamingPermit Sonoma assigns new road names to both public and private roads. Existing roads with conflicting or duplicate names are renamed to ensure public safety standards are followed.RNCFire Prevention
RoilingRequired when a natural waterway will be disturbed by construction activity.ROIEngineering
SepticIn areas where public sewer is not available, homeowners must have septic systems installed on their property that will treat wastewater coming from their home.SEPWell and Septic
SepticOperational PermitPermit required for operation of non-standard Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS).OPRWell and Septic
Septic Site EvaluationField or Office site evaluation related to Well & Septic permits or activities.WSRWell and Septic
SepticVarianceAdministrative or formal variance from septic standards.WVA, WVBWell and Septic
SepticVesting CertificateA transferable certificate providing a right to construct a septic system for an approved site, designated system type, and stated capacity for a limited period of time.VESWell and Septic
Sewer - Construction; Engineering, Sewer, Construction, SewerA sanitary sewer inspection permit is required for any sewer work performed, including but not limited to, connection to a house, a commercial building, or apartments. The work must be inspected and approved before occupancy, and/or use of the sewer is allowed. Permits are also issued for construction of sewer facilities and annexation into sanitation Districts or Zones, or Outside Service Area Agreements for sewer service with sanitation Districts or Zones.SEWEngineering
Site EvaluationBuilding

Building Site Evaluations include:

  • Accessibility Site Review
  • Building Construction site review
  • Fire damaged structures (Property Reports)
BSRBuilding or Septic
Small-Scale Agricultural ProcessingAgricultural processing includes those activities and processes conducted on a farm which change the unprocessed agricultural commodity from its natural state to a different form; examples include, but are not limited to, processing, milk into cheese, fruit into jam, olives into olive oil.UPE, ZPE Planning
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) SystemsResidential RooftopResidential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects 10 kW in size or smaller.BLDBuilding
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) SystemsResidential Ground or Commercial

Solar photovoltaic (PV) projects:

  • Residential ground mounted
  • Commercial rooftop
  • Commercial ground mounted
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) SystemsFireSolar photovoltaic power systems shall be installed in accordance with this Code, the California Building Code and the California Electric Code, or as approved by the Fire Code Official.Fire Prevention
Solar Thermal Systems

Solar thermal projects:

  • Residential rooftop
  • Residential ground mounted
  • Commercial rooftop
  • Commercial ground mounted
Special EventSpecial Events are one-time, annual, or recurring events using public property, streets, sidewalks, alleys and parking areas beyond the normal pattern of use. This also includes events on private property beyond the zoned use of that property.

A special event may require more than one permit from more than one Permit Sonoma division/section. Example: Special events that are expected to cause road closures in unincorporated Sonoma County require an encroachment permit from the Engineering section.
SPE and variousBuilding, Fire Prevention, Engineering, Planning, Well & Septic
Specific Plan - AmendmentIn order to amend a specific plan's land use policy, designation or density on a parcel, an application must be made for a Specific Plan amendment.SPAPlanning
SubdivisionMajorA major subdivision is a division of land into five or more parcels. Major subdivisions are governed by the Subdivision Map Act, the Sonoma County Subdivision Ordinance, the Sonoma County Zoning Code and the Sonoma County General Plan.MJSPlanning
SubdivisionMinorA minor subdivision is a division of land into four or fewer parcels. Minor subdivisions are governed by the Subdivision Map Act, the Sonoma County Subdivision Ordinance, the Sonoma County Zoning Code and the Sonoma County General Plan. Minor subdivision application are also known as tentative parcel maps.MNSPlanning
Surveyor / Land DevelopmentTracks various survey or land development activities such subdivision maps, improvement plans, corner records, and right-of-way vacations.SUREngineering
Temporary OccupancyOccupancy of a permitted structure under construction prior to permit final. TEMBuilding
Temporary Cannabis Hoop House/StructureA Cannabis Hoop House or temporary membrane structure permit is required for all hoop house permits associated with Cannabis Use Permits and agricultural permits.FIRFire Prevention
Temporary Structures

A permit may be issued for temporary structures and temporary uses. Such permits are limited as to time of service (less than 180 days unless an extension is granted for demonstrated cause). This excludes Temporary Cannabis Hoop Houses/Structures.

  • Temporarily installing prefabricated structures such as offices or classrooms
  • Setting up tents or canopies for a farmer’s market
  • Holding an event for many people in an existing commercial building
  • Building temporary platforms or bleachers for a festival
Temporary Utilities

A temporary permit for utilities for a permitted structure prior to the permit final. There are 2 types of temporary utility approvals:

  • Temporary gas or electric service for an under construction structure prior to permit final.
  • Temporary electric service for construction. This is an actual, separate permit to place a temporary pole that will later be removed.
Transient RentalHosted RentalHosted rentals are the rental of a single room or sleeping area within a single-family dwelling, where the property owner remains in residence.THRPlanning
Transient RentalVacation RentalVacation rentals are the rental of a private residence for periods of 30 days or less.TVRPlanning
TransportationA transportation permit is required anytime a vehicle and/or load exceeds the California Vehicle Code legal dimensions, on roads in unincorporated Sonoma County.TRNEngineering
Unreinforced Masonry StructureTracks information about unreinforced masonry structure in accordance with Senate Bill 547.SB-547Building
Use PermitA Use Permit application is required for development projects that are typically more intensive than Permitted Uses.UPEPlanning
Use PermitPermits for cannabis cultivation, dispensaries, distribution & transportation, manufacturing, nurseries, and testing labs.UPCPlanning
Use PermitA live/work use is a business conducted within a dwelling unit or accessory structure by occupants of the dwelling unit and up to two employees.UPE Planning
VarianceA variance may be granted to provide relief from specific numerical standards in the zoning code such as setback requirements from property lines. Variances cannot be granted for relief from “use” provisions in the zoning code. If a proposed use is not permitted in a given zoning district, a variance cannot be granted to allow it.VARPlanning
Voluntary MergerRequests to eliminate property lines between parcels under the same ownershipVMGPlanning
Water PermitWater System Permit
Tracks the plan check and/or construction inspections(s) of a water system that serves two or more parcels.
WellWell permits are required to drill, abandon, or deepen wells and can only be issued to C-57 Well Drilling Contractors.WELWell and Septic
WellSite EvaluationField or Office site evaluation related to Well & Septic permits or activities.WSRWell and Septic
Wildland Urban Interface / State Responsibility AreaPermitted Building Construction in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) or State Responsibility Area (SRA) requires all structures to be built according to specific codes. Sonoma County required by model state code language requires all new structures to be built with exterior construction that will minimize the impact on life and property and help structure to resist the intrusion of flames and burning embers projected by a wildland fire and contributes to a reduction of losses.Fire Prevention
Zone Change - AmendmentA Zone Change can be proposed to change from one zoning district to another, to change the zoning density on a property, to remove a combining district, or to amend the text of the Sonoma County Zoning Code.ZCEPlanning
Zoning PermitPlanning permits such as zoning permits may be required prior to the issuance of a building permit. Zoning clearances are required for building permits issued for new buildings, structures, or additions to existing buildings or structures. There may be additional setback requirements for a building depending upon the location near a scenic roadway or waterway. Additional review, such as administrative design review, may be required prior to the issuance of a building permit.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitAccessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are an inexpensive way to create smaller, more affordable rental housing units that may provide revenue streams for you, while increasing the availability of rental housing in the county.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit for full-time agricultural employee dwelling unit.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitPermits for cannabis cultivation.ZPCPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit to use land for the production of confined livestock.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitWaiver of requirement for off-street covered parking spaces for dwelling units.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit to allow a large family day care project on a property.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit to allow farm retail sales on a property.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit to allow home occupation, which is a small-scale business conducted out of a private residence or residential accessory structure.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit to allow horse boarding, which is the keeping and training of horses which are not owned by the occupant or owner of a property.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit for the conversion of timberland to a non-timber growing use on less than 3 acres.ZPEPlanning
Zoning PermitZoning permit for mobile homes.ZPEPlanning