County approves recovery measures
Posted on October 25, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun
With a vow to “work alongside our community for as long as it takes,” the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed Tuesday measures to aid fire recovery efforts.
“Sonoma County is just beginning to start the long recovery process,” said Chair Shirlee Zane. “We will remain united in our efforts to build more housing, streamline services and protect public health.”
The Board moved to allow County agencies to act quickly and efficiently to protect the public from dangerous hazardous materials, clean up and stabilize burned areas, provide critical services to the community, and address the immediate, interim, and long-term needs of the County’s housing crisis, which has been exacerbated by the fires.
To date, the Sonoma Complex Fire has consumed 102,785 acres and destroyed destruction of thousands of homes.
To address this crisis, the Board adopted measures to suspend new vacation rental permits and expand the amount of emergency and immediate housing for people displaced by the fires, including:
- Enacting an interim 45-day moratorium on the issuance of new vacation rental permits, subject to extension for periods of up to two years, as provided by State law. The ordinance is intended to temporarily preserve the County’s existing single-family residences and accessory dwellings for permanent residential and long-term rental uses.
- Temporarily allowing the residential use and occupancy of travel trailers and other recreational vehicles on all residential lots outside of fire-damaged sites without County approval for an initial period of 45 days, provided that the vehicles have adequate septic holding capacity.
- Extending seasonal farmworker housing to allow for occupation 365 days a year, provided that the housing is habitable for year round use. The ordinance would suspend the current code limitation of 180 days of occupancy in any calendar year.
- Allowing existing guest houses, pool houses, and other residential accessory structures to be rented to fire victims. These structures are approved for residential occupancy and have detached living areas. They often have full or half bathrooms as well, though they are not permitted to have kitchens.
“We will work alongside our community for as long as it takes,” Zane said.