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County of Sonoma proposing changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit Exclusions on AG Land

SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE

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.

Z District parcels in Agriculture zoned areas. Click to enlarge.

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 INFORMATION:

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.

Source: https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/county-of-sonoma-proposing-changes-to-accessory-dwelling-unit-exclusions-on-ag-land

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Westside Road winery seeking expansion

Frank Robertson, HEALDSBURG TRIBUNE
Whether the rural splendor of Westside Road can withstand its evolution into a high-end wine tasting mecca will be one question in the air at a public hearing coming up in two weeks.
The Sept. 21 county Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) hearing will address renowned winemaker David Ramey’s ambitious plans for a winery with multiple tasting rooms, guest housing, commercial office space and picnic grounds to accommodate more than two dozen annual promotional parties, some with up to 300 guests.
Ramey’s project has drawn outcry from opponents who say it’s simply too much even for Westside Road, one of the most visitor-centric destinations in wine country.
“This is the most intense project ever proposed for Westside Road,” read a letter from the Westside Community Association regarding the Ramey project on 75 acres known as Westside Farms, where a weathered hop kiln building is a designated county historic site.
Besides a new winery and wine cave, The Ramey project includes a tasting room in the old hop kiln building and another private tasting room in the adjacent barn, along with overnight marketing accommodations and parking for approximately 80 cars.
Read more at: Westside Road winery seeking expansion | News | sonomawest.com

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Sonoma County Buddhist retreat center prevails in long-running lawsuit over expansion plan

J.D. Morris, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A three-year legal fight over the controversial expansion of a Buddhist retreat and publishing operation in rural northwestern Sonoma County came to an end this week when the California Supreme Court declined to hear opponents’ final challenge.
The high court’s Aug. 9 decision leaves in place an earlier ruling from the 1st District Court of Appeal, which decided the county was not required to conduct the kind of comprehensive environmental review sought by residents concerned about the planned expansion of the Ratna Ling Retreat Center.
Fueled largely by concerns about fire risk at the retreat facility in the forested coastal hills northwest of Cazadero, opponents had wanted the state Supreme Court to review the appeals court’s May 16 ruling. The opponents’ failure to receive such a review marks the conclusion of their lengthy legal dispute, which began in 2014 when residents sued claiming the retreat center violated land-use standards and county officials had not conducted a proper environmental analysis.
Ultimately, the case centered around four tentlike storage structures Ratna Ling uses to house sacred texts. Opponents argued those tents posed a fire risk, but Ratna Ling supporters have contended they are safe, and noted the center implemented safeguards such as sprinklers and an on-site fire engine.
Read more at: Sonoma County Buddhist retreat center prevail in long-running lawsuit over expansion plan | The Press Democrat

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Luxury resort, winery approved in Sonoma Valley

Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A proposed luxury hotel resort and winery in Kenwood that withstood court challenges before languishing for more than a decade is again moving ahead following a favorable decision from the Sonoma County Planning Commission.
Despite a vigorous campaign by opponents, the commission on Thursday unanimously upheld design changes to the future inn, spa and restaurant and affirmed that the project has a vested right to go forward.
“Legally we really don’t have a big leg to stand on if we decide this project isn’t going to go through,” said Commissioner Dick Fogg, adding that the design changes were not sufficient to require further review, or delay.
“I think it’s a better design. I like it,” said Commissioner John Lowry, echoing the comments of his colleagues on the 50-room hotel, luxury spa and 125-seat restaurant and bar. A relatively small 10,000-case winery and 11 homes that were previously approved have yet to undergo design review.
Opponents led by the Valley of the Moon Alliance have been fighting the hotel and resort since its inception about 15 years ago, viewing it as part of the steady onslaught of wineries, tasting rooms and events that have altered the face of the picturesque valley and piled more cars onto busy Highway 12.
Read more at: Luxury resort, winery approved in Sonoma Valley | The Press Democrat