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Stream corridor changes proposed

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The Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) will hold a third public workshop on proposed zoning changes for stream corridors.

The workshop will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sep. 12, at the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department Hearing Room, 2550 Venture Ave., in Santa Rosa. All interested parties are invited to attend.
Proposed changes to zoning will reflect existing General Plan and Area Plan policies and will not result in any new setbacks. The workshop will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about how stream setbacks will be shown in zoning and obtain parcel specific information.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors chair David Rabbitt said, “The Russian River and other streams in Sonoma County provide precious clean water, unique habitat, and world class recreation. Protecting our natural resources and simplifying regulation are top priorities for the county.”
Stream setbacks and protection policies were established in the county’s General Plan and in Area and Specific Plans and have been incorporated into the building and grading ordinances.

This proposal will consolidate existing setbacks and policies into the zoning code to make it easier to determine which streams are designated for setbacks, what the setback distance is for each stream, and to easily map stream setbacks on individual parcels. These changes will also make permitting more efficient.

Proposed zoning code changes will not change the uses of land allowed under the current zoning, but will update the zoning code to clearly indicate setbacks. Areas along designated streams will have a combining zone of RC (Riparian Corridor) that includes setback distances for development and smaller setbacks for agricultural cultivation. The criteria used to determine stream setbacks for agricultural cultivation are the same as for the Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance (VESCO) used by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

This new zoning format will also make it easier for the public to determine stream setbacks by viewing the maps and zoning table on the Permit Resource Management Department’s website.

This information including a Fact Sheet on the proposed zoning code changes can be accessed via the Internet at sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/riparian_corridor/fact_sheet.pdf.