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.
Public Water System Permitting in California
What is a public water system?
A public water system is defined as a system that provides water for human consumption to 15 or more connections or regularly serves 25 or more people daily for at least 60 days out of the year. There are three types of water systems:
Public water system permitting
Public water systems are required to have domestic water supply permits through the State Water Resources Control Board. For new water systems, the first step in the permitting process is to explore consolidation with an existing water system in the vicinity and submitting a preliminary technical report to the State. Most times, consolidation is not feasible as either the cost is impractical or the existing system prefers not to consolidate.
Once it is determined that a new water system permit will be required, an application is submitted to the State, which then generates a Permit Application Requirements Checklist, which identifies all required documentation to receive the water supply permit. Each checklist is unique and applicable to the specific project. Required documentation includes, but is in no way limited to the following:
Our office frequently works with the State and certified water system operators to develop and submit all required documents to permit new water systems, and to amend existing water permits to add additional wells, treatment, or other features.
Planning Your Water System Project
The BC Engineering Group staff has developed plans, calculations, and documents for multiple new water systems in Northern California; we know the permitting process and can serve all water system development needs. As a leading civil engineering and water system design firm, we guide water system developments from planning to construction. Take advantage of our experience and contact us today for your water system design and permitting, and land development needs. We are here to help!
For more information on water system 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 Rebuild Support from BC Engineering Group.
All members of our community have been affected by the recent wildfires, including the staff of BC Engineering Group. In response, our engineering team has decided to make the rebuilding efforts for our community the highest priority. Our staff is available to start on rebuild projects immediately upon authorization. Below you will find a link to a menu of services related to the fire rebuild efforts and fields to provide important information regarding your project. If you need services that are not listed in this document, please contact us; we can likely provide the support you need or we can connect you with someone who can.
Our staff and their families have been greatly affected by the fires in Santa Rosa, for this reason we will be closed for business until October 15. Our staff can be reached via email, however please allow adequate time for a response. Thank you.
BC Engineering Group is proud to announce partnership with the Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Why the Farm Bureau?
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary not for profit organization of farm and ranch families. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is the self-proclaimed voice of agricultural producers at all levels.
BC Engineering Group has a great history and has built solid relationships with many in the agricultural community of Sonoma County. BC Engineering Group has provided vineyard development, grading and drainage, and wastewater services for many agricultural projects in Sonoma County.
Because of BC Engineering Group’s extensive work in the agricultural community and the Farm Bureau’s mission, it makes perfect sense for BC to be a part of the Bureau.
As a member of the Farm Bureau, BC Engineering Group will be able to stay up to date with current events in the agricultural world and have more one on one time with the agricultural community to build even stronger relationships. BC Engineering’s presence at Farm Bureau events will allow us to provide services quickly to other members and demonstrate that we’re always there to assist with any questions or concerns, particularly regarding the tedious permitting process for most agricultural developments.
We look forward to the exciting things to come from our becoming a part of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
Planning Your Vineyard Development Project
The BC Engineering Group staff will be present at future Sonoma County Farm Bureau events. As a leading civil engineering design firm, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding agricultural development. Take advantage of our experience and contact us today for your agricultural and vineyard land development needs, we are here to help.
For more information on agricultural development and other land planning projects, please contact us at 707-542-4321, www.bcengineeringgroup.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You can also stay up to date with civil engineering and land planning issues by subscribing to our blog.