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.
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.
Second Dwelling Units and Guest House Regulation Changes
What Has Changed?
In September 2016, three laws were signed by Governor Brown and included Senate Bill 1069, Assembly Bill 2406, and Assembly Bill 2299. These laws went into effect in the very recent past and have to do with the creation of second dwelling units. The term second dwelling unit is being replaced with accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units. To comply with these new State laws, the County of Sonoma passed Ordinance No. 6191. The County’s ordinance provides local compliance and is consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan. The ordinance shall be followed by individuals intending to develop accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units.
Permits Required for Accessory Dwelling Units
Development of an accessory dwelling unit requires a zoning permit from the County of Sonoma and compliance with all applicable codes (building, fire, septic, water, etc.). Junior accessory dwelling units will not require a zoning permit or compliance with most codes, and only a building permit is required, as the junior accessory dwelling units are typically considered a portion of an existing residence that is being converted.
What Sizes Can Accessory Dwelling Units Be?
Junior accessory dwelling units cannot exceed 500 square feet in size and must be contained within the walls of an existing legal dwelling. The junior accessory units can have a kitchen facility and may share bathrooms with other units. Accessory dwelling units cannot exceed 1000 square feet in size and cannot be larger in size than the main dwelling unit. Accessory dwelling units can be detached from the main dwelling unit.
We Can Help!
If you’re planning to develop an accessory dwelling unit, contact BC Engineering Group, we know the applicable laws and ordinances, and have extensive experience with these units. For more details about accessory dwelling units and the new regulations, please contact BC Engineering Group today at (707) 542-4321. Like us on Facebook and Google+, and subscribe to our blog.
California Tiger Salamander Mitigation for Land Development
Where Do California Tiger Salamanders Live?
Sonoma County is home to the California Tiger Salamander (CTS) and several protected plant species (listed plants). Though we are happy to host and conserve lands for endangered species, this can provide some challanges to land development in CTS breeding zones and around adult CTS occurances. Mitigation for endangered species is essential to keeping the CTS safe during continual development in Sonoma County.
Mitigating for Impacts to California Tiger Salamander Habitat?
Being within a conservation area doesn’t change the parcel’s zoning or land use designation, nor does it add development restrictions. Rather it adds an extra step of mitigation to the parcel’s development, without changing its potential. Mitigation must be done for all hardscape (roads, compacted gravel surfaces, buildings, etc.) work proposed. For linear projects (utility lines, pipelines, fences, etc.) the mitigation area consists of the land disturbed by the construction.
Mitigation for projects is usually performed by purchasing credits from a mitigation bank. There are two types of mitigation banks; preserve mitigation bank and wetland mitigation banks. Mitigation banks are designed to create habitats large enough for multiple site mitigation. These banks sell mitigation credits to satisfy the mitigation requirements for development.
The appropriate type and amount of credits must be purchased to satisfy the mitigation requirements for the specific site development. The proximity to CTS breeding sites and adult CTS occurrences determine the ratio of mitigation credits that must be purchased.
Per the Santa Rosa Plain Conservation Strategy the following mitigation is required:
Surveying for Habitat?
If a project falls into a mitigation area, a survey to determine if CTS or listed plants are present may be performed to determine if mitigation is necessary. This process may take up to two years to complete. If CTS or listed plants are present, then the appropriate mitigation ratio will apply. If no CTS are found during the survey, then mitigation shall not be required.
BC Engineering Group Is Here To Help.
Mitigation ratio determination and the requirement there of can be difficult to determine. Please contact BC Engineering Group, Inc. for more information about whether your project requires mitigation, and if so, how to proceed. We can be reached at (707) 542-4321 or www.bcengineeringgroup.com – Like us on Facebook and Google+, and subscribe to our blog.