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Sonoma County Gazette
Courtesy of Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) PHOTO Courtesy of Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley

Sonoma County seeks Housing Sites for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Dec 26, 2018


Deadline Extended for Nominating Housing Sites


We've received a great response to our call for nominations for potential housing sites! Given that, we will continue accepting site nominations through the end of March 2019.

We will do the initial review of sites within two weeks of submission to determine whether they meet the required criteria for rezoning. We will then conduct environmental review of qualifying sites. The public will be invited to comment on these sites at upcoming public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. We anticipate that we will present the list of sites for proposed rezoning to the Board of Supervisors in Fall 2019.

Nominate a site

If you want an update on the review of your site, please contact our housing team:

As the County continues our initiative to produce more housing, we need your help in finding sites. If sites meet our criteria, we will work with the owner and community to rezone them for more density with design review to ensure quality and community compatibility. Here’s what we need.


·         Unincorporated county land (outside of city limits)

·         Vacant or underutilized properties (i.e. large site with small home)

·         Located in an area that has public sewer and water

·         Walking distance to transit, services and jobs


“We need bold action to achieve housing equity in Sonoma County,” stated James Gore, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “This includes revisiting zoning to encourage more city and community-centered housing development while respecting community separators and urban growth boundaries.”


This rezoning effort will implement the County’s 2014 Housing Element and promote General Plan community-centered growth policies. Permit Sonoma will seek public input and conduct environmental review of qualifying sites, culminating in public hearings before the Sonoma County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.


We hear you!


Thanks to everyone that responded to the County’s request for help in identifying potential sites in unincorporated areas to rezone for housing. As of 1/4/19, we received submissions for 42 parcels to evaluate for rezoning. Of those parcels in the unincorporated area, there is a total of about 100 acres with a potential for approximately 2,000 new housing units.


We are now reviewing these sites to determine whether they meet the criteria for rezoning for higher density, affordable, or workforce housing. We will then begin conducting environmental review of qualifying sites.


You are encouraged to continue to submit your ideas for potential sites at For information on these initiatives, please contact Nina Bellucci at


To learn more about the Permit Sonoma’s housing initiatives and submit a site for consideration, please visit


For information on these initiatives, please contact Nina Bellucci at

California Department of Housing and Community Development  - Guide to Accessory Dwelling Unit laws:


Frequently Asked Questions:

Accessory Dwelling Units Should an Ordinance Encourage the Development of ADUs?

Yes, ADU law and recent changes intend to address barriers, streamline approval and expand potential capacity for ADUs recognizing their unique importance in addressing California’s housing needs. The preparation, adoption, amendment and implementation of local ADU ordinances must be carried out consistent with Government Code Section 65852.150:

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) Accessory dwelling units are a valuable form of housing in California.

(2) Accessory dwelling units provide housing for family members, students, the elderly, in-home health care providers, the disabled, and others, at below market prices within existing neighborhoods.

(3) Homeowners who create accessory dwelling units benefit from added income, and an increased sense of security.

(4) Allowing accessory dwelling units in single-family or multifamily residential zones provides additional rental housing stock in California.

(5) California faces a severe housing crisis.

(6) The state is falling far short of meeting current and future housing demand with serious consequences for the state’s economy, our ability to build green infill consistent with state greenhouse gas reduction goals, and the well-being of our citizens, particularly lower and middle-income earners.

(7) Accessory dwelling units offer lower cost housing to meet the needs of existing and future residents within existing neighborhoods, while respecting architectural character.

(8) Accessory dwelling units are, therefore, an essential component of California’s housing supply.


It is the intent of the Legislature that an accessory dwelling unit ordinance adopted by a local agency has the effect of providing for the creation of accessory dwelling units and that provisions in this ordinance relating to matters including unit size, parking, fees, and other requirements, are not so arbitrary, excessive, or burdensome so as to unreasonably restrict the ability of homeowners to create accessory dwelling units in zones in which they are authorized by local ordinance.


Dec 29, 2018
Re-visiting the comment from Supervisor Gore
“This includes revisiting zoning to encourage more city and community-centered housing development while respecting community separators and urban growth boundaries.” In other words, social engineering overrules free markets, and we're going to get socialized housing jammed down on throats here in the west county. There used to be rural communities in Los Angeles that are no more, and instead are smog-filled communities of questionable character. This move by the county is the first step toward the ultimate decimation of the rural character of our beautiful countryside. Just say no to forced housing. The county should never be the developer because the county is not staffed to be in the business and will most certainly muck up the process leading to failure. Tiny homes? Chaminade property? The list goes on.
- Beef Mcwin

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