Last year, Jennifer Mann sold her home in Santa Rosa’s Junior College District around the same time her son and daughter-in-law sold their home in downtown Sebastopol.
With the goal of establishing a “family compound,” they bought a home in rural Sebastopol, a unique, three-story, dome-shaped house that looks like a cross between a barn and an observatory.
It’s cramped for a growing family. Mann, a retired Santa Rosa Junior College employee, lives on the first floor, her two grandkids on the second and her son and daughter-in-law on the third.
“We have three acres and we always planned to build a second unit for me, so I could live on the land,” Mann said.
Until recently those plans were hindered by a county zoning restriction known as a “Z District,” which prohibits the construction of granny units in certain agricultural zones.
The restriction was aimed at preserving the county’s agricultural resources and preventing nonfarming residences from encroaching into agricultural lands. However, many smaller parcels restricted by a Z District do not qualify for farm-related housing because they do not meet size and agriculture production requirements.
The County of Sonoma is proposing changes to the Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Combining District. PRMD File No. ZPE18-0001. The Sonoma County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to review the proposed amendments and make its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
The public hearing will be held on May 2, 2019, at or after 1:20 p.m. at: Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department Hearing Room.2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter at a later date which will be publicly noticed at thattime.
The proposed project would rezone smaller parcels in agricultural zones to remove the Z (Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusion) Combining District, consistent with policies and programs in the Sonoma County General Plan. Rezoning would remove the prohibition on accessory dwelling units on affected parcels, but would not change the base zone or any other uses.
Eligible parcels were identified because they meet all of the following criteria:
Zoned Diverse Agriculture (DA), Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA), or Land Extensive Agriculture (LEA).
Not located in the Coastal Zone
Not under with a Land Conservation (Williamson Act) Contract
Not located in a Septic System Waiver Prohibition Area
Not located in the Traffic Sensitive Combining Zone
Not located in a High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone
Not located in the designated critical habitat area for the California Tiger Salamander
The following mapping tool may be used to determine whether your property may be affected by the proposed action.https://bit.ly/2QyXRxM.
The project also includes a proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment which would extend the applicability of groundwater standards to future accessory dwelling units proposed in areas where additional groundwater use has the potential to threaten groundwater dependent ecosystems.
Additional details of the project are available at the Permit and Resource Management Department at the address noted above or on the County’s website at:https://bit.ly/2PdJuf
The department has determined that this project is statutorily exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21080.17 because the proposed action would implement an accessory dwelling unit ordinance pursuant to Government Code sec. 65852.2.
GET INVOLVED: Written comments may be submitted prior to or at the hearing. Please submit written materials 5 days prior to the hearing date so that it can be distributed and considered by the decision- makers. Any written material submitted after this date will be distributed to the decision-makers prior to or at the hearing.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the proposed project, you may contact project planner, Doug Bush atDoug.Bush@sonoma-county.orgor (707) 565-5276.
If you challenge the decision on the project in court you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the Permit and Resource Management Department at or prior to the public hearing.