The Kenwood Press
News: 11/01/2014

Final draft of riparian ordinance available

Years in the making, a new ordinance governing setbacks from Sonoma County creeks and rivers is up for adoption by the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 24. The rules are being issued to implement the county’s General Plan policies to balance protection and enhancement of Sonoma’s waterways with agricultural and property development rights. New zoning maps will be drawn up to determine new and existing setbacks.

While most of the setback requirements have been a part of county codes since 1993, actual coverage and covered streams have been unclear for years. The new rules will apply to all property adjacent to “blue line” waterways that show up on U.S. Geological Survey maps of the county.

“The zoning database will also make the riparian corridor setbacks easier for the property owners, realtors, lenders, appraisers and the public to determine and understand,” according to the PRMD staff report of Sept. 4.

Setbacks of 50, 100 and 200 feet from stream banks will be added to the zoning code definitions and properties will be rezoned to identify all designated streams and their associated streamside conservation areas followed by the setbacks for agricultural cultivation.

A final draft of the regulations is available for public review online at the Permit Resource and Management Department’s website, The Board of Supervisors hearing will begin at 2:10 p.m. on Nov. 24 at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Room 102A, Santa Rosa.