The 2017 Napa Complex Fire also known as a the “Atlas Fire” burned about 51,000 acres. Many people lost their homes and/or businesses due to the fire. The County has taken measures to expedite processing of permits for fire victims. Fire victims are also able to apply for a fee reduction for their required permits. The County has created three review categories that range from 7 to 28 days for review time. The three categories are 7 business day/expedited, quick permit-priority processing over non-fire related permits, and standard permit-priority processing over non-fire related permits. The fee reduction is available for all fire rebuild projects including commercial and residential accessory structures.
Fire Damaged Rebuild and Permitting in the Redwood Valley County Water District
County of Mendocino hosted a Town Hall meeting on Thursday October 11th, in Redwood Valley, with the key topics of water system improvements and a planned water system replacement project. This meeting was to inform and address any questions from residents about the Redwood Valley County Water District infrastructure project specifically residents served by Redwood Valley County Water District. The project has been completely funded by state and federal disaster relief funds. The allotted funds will be used to upsize existing water lines and create loops where dead ends exist. The improvements will cover about 4-miles; with 3-miles being replacement and 1-mile of new installation. This will update current water lines by creating enough pressure and flow to support fire sprinklers which are required under the building code, Title 24. The current water infrastructure was developed prior to some of the safety requirements required under California’s new building code. The funding will cover all costs of the public right of way improvements.
Commercial Cannabis Monitoring and Reporting Program
The rain is on its way.
With rain comes stormwater runoff. The State Water Resource Control Board requires monitoring and reporting of cannabis cultivation sites during months of rain events. The tests for stormwater runoff include a turbidity test and pH test. These tests shall be performed once per calendar month when precipitation exceeds 0.25 inches per day or when storm water runoff is noticed leaving a cultivation site.
Commercial Cannabis Site Management Plan
The State Water Resource Control Board approved the Cannabis General Order last year on October 17th. The General Order covers guidelines for cannabis cultivation, general waste discharge requirements, and waiver of discharge requirements for discharges of waste associated with cannabis cultivation activities. To obtain a license from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, one must be in compliance with the cannabis policy. An important aspect of becoming compliant is submitting a Site Management Plan.
BC Engineering Group has joined the rebuilding efforts of Sonoma County.
October 2017 has forever changed Sonoma County as we know it. The Tubbs fire’s damage and resonating effects have reached further than just destroying homes, businesses, and land throughout the County. Flash forward to present day- we have the community rebuilding efforts in the works, but the Community still deals with the agonizing choice of whether to rebuild after losing everything. As if deciding to rebuild isn’t hard enough, now choosing when, or waiting too long to rebuild has consequences in itself.
High Density Residential, workforce housing (WH) Combining Zone, cottage housing, and mobile home park and condominium conversion standards proposed changes.
Sonoma County introduced the second set of housing initiatives to the Planning Commission on August 23, 2018. These incentives include changes to create and expand opportunities for housing development in Sonoma County. The proposed changes included: allowing higher densities near jobs and transit, provide cottages in low density districts, new density units concept (Density Unit Equivalent), and codifying existing condominium conversion policy and providing protections for existing tenants.
Part 1 of 2 of the Cannabis Ordinance Amendments
Potential big changes may come for Cannabis Ordinances and may affect project!
The County of Sonoma proposes to amend the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance, Cannabis Health Ordinance, and Cannabis Business Tax Ordinance. These updates will be in two parts. Part 1 of the amendment is geared towards fixing neighborhood compatibility problems that have arisen since the arrival of the Cannabis Ordinance. These updates can have a large impact on your cannabis cultivation plans. Some of the proposed changes could impede some use permits, while having a beneficial impact on others.
Resiliency Permit Center is exclusively dedicated to assist survivors of the fire rebuilds
The County of Sonoma has established a Resiliency Permit Center exclusively dedicated to assisting survivors of the fires to rebuild their homes. The center has been open since February 13th and has helped expedite the permitting process. The Resiliency Permit Center is located adjacent to the existing Permit Sonoma offices at 2550 Ventura Avenue in Santa Rosa. Having the Resiliency Permit Center means a few different benefits for fire victims.
Reduced Processing Time - Applications will have an expedited processing time of five business days or less for plan checks, with three business days for rechecks.
Sonoma County Cannabis Cultivation Site Plan Requirements
The first step in legal cultivation of cannabis in Sonoma County is getting your permits. In order to get these permits you will have to be dealing with the County of Sonoma. Here at BC Engineering Group, we are committed to making that process as smooth as possible. We know all the requirements and are very familiar with the permitting process.
Cannabis cultivation sites include locations where cannabis is planted, grown, harvested, dried, cured, graded, or trimmed. Those interested in operating a cannabis cultivation site will require a site plan.
Sonoma County Site Plan Requirements:
Both a 24 in. x 36 in. or 11 in. x 17 in. site plan and one reduced site plan (8 ½ in. x 11 in) is required by the County of Sonoma. The reduced site plan must clearly depict the information shown on the full-sized site plan. Preparation of the site plan by a professional draftsperson, architect, or engineer is strongly recommended. If the existing site is to be greatly modified by the proposed project (removal of existing buildings, vegetation, etc.), both an Existing Site Plan and a Proposed Site Plan are required.
All Site plans shall meet the Minimum Standard Site Plan Requirements and include the following:
Planning your Cannabis Cultivation Project
The BC Engineering Group staff has developed numerous site plans and can walk you through every step of the permitting process. As a leading civil engineering design firm, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding cannabis cultivation. Take advantage of our experience and contact us today for your cannabis and agricultural land development needs, we are here to help.
For more information on cannabis cultivation permitting and other land planning services, please contact us at 707-542-4321, or find us on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also stay up to date with civil engineering and land planning issues by subscribing to our blog.
Fire Damaged Septic regulations and permitting
Many properties damaged or destroyed in the Sonoma Complex Fire were served by septic systems. These parcels must have their septic system(s) inspected in order to connect rebuilt dwellings to the onsite sewage disposal system. The County of Sonoma is allowing for structures to be rebuilt, on Sonoma Complex Fire damaged parcels, without having to upgrade the septic system to current County of Sonoma septic standards. This means many homes served by a septic system can be rebuilt with little to no septic repairs being made. The existing septic system must meet County of Sonoma Class III septic system standards.
What septic clearance do I need to rebuild?
Properties served by septic systems must obtain clearance prior to rebuilding. The existing septic system must be inspected by a qualified professional; which includes Civil Engineers, Environmental Health Specialist (REHS), or a Contractor with an “A”, “C-36”, or “C-42” license. The qualified professional must complete the Septic System Evaluation Form for Rebuilds and Temporary Housing (Sonoma Complex Fire) Document and provide a 1”=20’ scaled Site Map depicting the septic system location. If the existing permit does not contain a map drawn to the required scale, a plan showing the system location must be produced by the Qualified Professional.
Is my system acceptable for reuse (reutilization)?
Most septic systems will be able to be reutilized as is or with minor modifications. The septic system must have a two compartment septic tank made of approved materials and a dispersal area leach field. This means properties served by cesspools and systems with no septic tank will need to be upgraded in order to rebuild dwellings on the parcel. Basic sanitary fixtures must exist or be installed. The septic system must meet County of Sonoma Class III standards.
The existing septic system must be permitted or pre-code in order to be reutilized. Systems installed without benefit of permits will not be eligible for reuse until required permits are obtained.
What if my system requires minor repairs?
The County of Sonoma is allowing many minor repairs to be performed without permits. These include system components such as riser lids, monitoring wells, valve boxes, etc. Approved repairs made without permits shall be listed on the Septic System Evaluation Form for Rebuilds and Temporary Housing (Sonoma Complex Fire) Document by the Qualified Professional.
Repairs to the dispersal area (leach field), electrical components, or other non-permit exempt portions of the septic system must have a permit obtained prior to construction. Please consult BC Engineering Group to determine if you require a permit to perform necessary septic system repairs.
Can I hook up an RV or Travel Trailer to my septic system?
Once your septic system is inspected by a Qualified Professional and deemed acceptable for reutilization, a RV or Travel Trailer can be temporarily connected to it. A permit is required to connect a RV or Travel Trailer to the existing septic system.
What if I want to add bedrooms to my new dwelling or build a new accessory dwelling unit?
In order to increase the bedroom count of the prior structure, a new septic system will likely be required. This will require the parcel to go through the standard soil testing, design, and permitting process, as required by the County of Sonoma OWTS Manual.
My house survived but my septic system was damaged by the fire, can I live in the dwelling?
All dwellings must have an approved and functioning septic system in order to be occupied. This means that regardless of the structure’s condition, the building(s) cannot be occupied until septic clearance is granted. If the dispersal area (leach field) is damaged or destroyed, but your septic tank is undamaged, or minor repairs are completed, the existing septic tank can be used as a temporary holding tank. This requires a permit to be obtained and a pumping contract to remain in effect until the dispersal area is repaired.
We Can Help!
If you’re planning to rebuild on a Sonoma Complex Fire damaged parcel, contact BC Engineering Group, we know the applicable laws and ordinances, and have been actively involved in septic policies for fire parcels as they have been developed. For more details about your septic system and septic regulations, please contact BC Engineering Group today at (707) 542-4321. Like us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our blog.