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About Zoning and Right to Farm



Agriculture Zones

The existing ;General Plan land use plan includes three agricultural land use categories:

  • Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA) 74,255 acres or 7.7%
  • Land Extensive Agriculture (LEA) 186,462 acres or 19.3%
  • Diverse Agriculture (DA) 68,845 acres or 7.1%

Total acreage designated as agricultural land use is 326,562 acres or 34.1% of the total acreage in Sonoma County. General Plan

1,595 of these parcels are over 10 acres. Staff Report File#ORD18-0003, June 7, 2018, page 10

Designation of parcels was based on multiple considerations, including the parcel size, lack of infrastructure, distance from public services, access, conflicts with resource conservation and production, and topographic and environmental features.

“Right to Farm” applies to Agriculture zones only.

Resources and Rural Development zone

The land use designation RRD stands for Resources and Rural Development. RRD designation is used to protect the county’s natural resource lands and allows for only very low-density residential development. Resources to be protected include commercial timber land, lands within the Known Geothermal Resource Area (KGRA), lands identified in the County’s Aggregate Resources Management Plan and natural resource lands including watershed, fish and wildlife habitat and other biotic areas. (General Plan)

Development in RRD results in two primary environmental consequences: habitat loss and fragmentation and the degradation of water resources and water quality. RRD lands account for 51% of the total acreage in Sonoma County and contain 492,658 acres much of which is heavily forested and mountainous. (General Plan).

RRD is not a "right to farm" zone.

Rural Residential and Ag Residential Zones

Create two Rural Residential zoning districts which provide different levels of permitted crop and animal production in theRural Residential land use category. (General Plan LU-6.5):
  • AR Agriculture and Residential
  • RR Rural Residential
Provide for different levels of crop and animal production in the Rural Residential land use category by creating an "Agriculture and Residential" and a "Rural Residential" zoning district, one which permits unlimited animal and crop production on parcels two or more acres in size, and one which limits agricultural activities regardless of parcel size.
"Agricultural and Residential" zoning district limited to agricultural processing, sales of products grown on site, product promotion, tours, educational visits, and small scale events. Where appropriate, simplify permit processing for these uses. AR allows for unlimited animal and crop production on parcels two or more acres in size.
"Rural Residential" limits agricultural activities regardless of parcel size.
In neither zoning district will the agricultural activities be considered the primary use of the land; nor will all of the policies of the Agricultural Resources Element apply.
AR and RR zones are not “right to farm” zones.