Hero Image

Building Permits

Building Permits General

Photo by Remmington Wanner on Unsplash
Photo by Remmington Wanner on Unsplash
Most construction, from new construction to alternations and repairs, requires a building permit.

A building permit ensures that your building project is structurally sound, that it complies with the building and zoning codes and more importantly, that the structure is built to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all occupants.

Visit Permit Sonoma's:

No Building Permit Needed

Building a fence or small accessory structure? A permit may not be needed. Find out about the work you can do without a building permit.

Ag Exempt Buildings

Ag Exempt Buildings are very limited in their scope of use. They are to house animals, grow crops and/or store farming/ranching equipment. They are not for housing, holding events or for processing.

See Permit Sonoma's Agricultural Building Permit Exemption for policies and procedures. 

Briefly, the parcel must be at least 5 acres, the ag exempt building must be at least 60 feet away from the property line and any non-ag buildings.

Allowed zones: LIA, LEA, DA, AR, RR, TP, RRD

There is a site inspection, but no plan check*. If Permit Sonoma inspection staff determines that the agricultural exemption can be approved, the property owner will be notified of the approval by letter, and the building can then be constructed. No building inspections are required.

*if the proposed building is wood frame with spans of structural members exceeding twenty-five (25) feet then building plans are required.

Membrane Structures - Green and Hoop Houses

For greenhouses and hoop houses, see Permit Sonoma's webpage:

B-45 Membrane Structures for Group U Occupancies

Check your parcel zoning to determine maximum square footage allowed.

See table at the bottom of the page for a summary of the permitting requirements.

Related Permits

Depending on the nature and scope of your project, other laws and regulations may be applicable, such as obtaining one or more of the following:

Permit Type

Issuing Agency

When Applicable

VESCO - Vineyard & Orchard Development


Vineyard or orchard development including site prep, soil disturbance.

Sonoma Encroachment Permit

Permit Sonoma

(formerly PRMD)

Access off of County Road

Removal of Trees in County Right of Way

Discharge of Drainage system into County Road Ditch

Grading Permit

Permit Sonoma

Cut or Fill of 2 feet or 50 cubic yards

Drainage Permit

Permit Sonoma

Any conveyance of surface water into an underground drainage


Well Permit

Permit Sonoma

Bringing sub-surface water to the surface

Streambed Alteration Permit

Ca. Dept. of Fish

and Wildlife

Altering a watercourse

Timber Conversion Permit


Changing land use from Timberland to another use (See FAQ # 18)