Board Walk ~ Susan Gorin

Susan Gorin


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Vacation rental update: “X” marks the spot

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Susan Gorin

There are several new changes to the Vacation Rental Ordinance already approved, including local (30 mile radius) certified property management, inspections by licensed contractors, a “3 Strikes, You’re Out” verified complaint provision, and new position/s at PRMD’s Code Enforcement Division to enable the county to do our part effectively. However, there is one critical component for the valley still to be approved: Exclusion Overlay Zones.

On Tuesday, May 24 at 2:30 p.m,. the proposed Vacation Rental Exclusion Zones for Sonoma Valley will come before the Board of Supervisors for a vote. Exclusion Overlay Zones will disallow future vacation rentals in the “X” areas, but existing vacation rentals will be grandfathered in. When a property sells or the deed changes, the vacation rental permit will be voided. If a current Vacation Rental is the subject of three verified complaints, the permit will be voided.

To review, I have requested all R1 zoning be included in the overlay zone in the First District to prohibit any new vacation rentals in traditional single-family home neighborhoods, which is most of the Springs area. This where the primary conversions of workforce housing have occurred, resulting in many complaints and depleted housing stock for both long term renters and home buyers.

I have also requested “X” Zones in areas that are RR (Rural Residential) where the Home Owners Associations have requested the overlay or there is a significant history of complaints. These X Zones include: Sobre Vista, Diamond A, Agua Caliente Knolls, Foothill Ranch (Santa Rosa), Mission Oaks, Winter Creek Lane, Buena Vista Area (Nut Tree/Apple Tree), Hill Road and Chauvet Road (Glen Ellen).

The X Zones must be approved by a 3/5 majority of the Board. If you want to make your voice heard, for or against, please email all of the Supervisors:

District 1: Susan Gorin – [email protected]

District 2: David Rabbitt – [email protected]

District 3: Shirlee Zane – [email protected]

District 4: James Gore – [email protected]

District 5: Efren Carrillo – [email protected]

For more information about the BOS meeting, Planning Commission Staff Reports, and a complete list of the affected properties, please visit PRMD’s Vacation Rental page at or contact my office: [email protected].

Juvenile justice: New approaches for the 21st Century

It is the goal of every parent to see our children grow up to be productive adults and of course, to avoid navigating the justice system whenever possible. However, as in all communities, some children will enter the Juvenile Justice program. Once there, the policy puzzle is how to prevent further contact with the system, support families, and suppress further illegal activities.

Driving along Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley, it is easy miss the turn for Los Guilicos Road. Tucked back under the gaze of Hood Mountain sits Sonoma County Juvenile Hall. It is clean, bright, modern and since 2005, has been serving as multiple purposes, reflecting a 21st century approach to addressing the unique challenges of serving the youth of Sonoma County. Inside the facility, there are schools, supportive services, a Boys & Girls Club, a Juvenile Justice Court, and modern “pods” separated by gender.

During a tour in 2014, I met with administration, spoke with detention officers, viewed the Boys & Girls Club curriculum, and met with kids, some from the Sonoma Valley area. It was clear to me then that the program strives to be effective, comprehensive and humane. In 2016, my board assignments include Criminal Justice.

In Sonoma County, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council is responsible for the Comprehensive Multi-agency Juvenile Justice Plan. Juvenile arrests in Sonoma County mirror a long, nationwide downward trend, but some areas continue to have higher concentrations of juvenile arrests; Property offenses at businesses and drug offenses at schools stand out.

Planning was guided by geographical data showing where in the County these high concentrations exist. Arrest rates compared across racial/ethnic groups revealed disparity between the groups. Participants in the planning process included a number of County department representatives, police agency representatives, and nonprofits. Following are the goals of the plan:

  • Prevention: Identify youth at risk. Provide information and services to help youth and families develop positive skills and connections so they stay out of the justice system.
  • Intervention: Provide services and supervision to help youth and families successfully exit the justice system.
  • Suppression (enforcement): Partner with schools and neighborhoods in a community policing approach to avoid crimes from occurring and detain those who commit crimes.
  • Incapacitation (detention): Provide a safe and secure environment, behavior change programming and transition planning with emphasis on reentry. Critical to the success is to provide appropriate developmental opportunities.

Based on input from parents and community providers, the Council developed priorities and action steps to more effectively engage youth and parents in mental health services, to ensure services are available where needed, and empower parents to participate in services.

The Council focused planning efforts on holistic approaches to juvenile delinquency that prioritize supports within families and community, and working with the individual youth on behavior change and skill development. The Action Plan for 2015-2016 identified the following Priorities: Safe and Supportive Communities, Quality Programming, Behavioral Health, Strong Families, Connection to Education and Academic Engagement.

We are fortunate to live in a county that is striving to address this complicated reality with a comprehensive, progressive and proactive approach to helping kids and families who need us the most.

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