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Currently many ag parcels have a Z Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Exclusion overlay – which prohibits construction of an ADU (commonly known as a granny unit) on these parcels. Photo: Courtesy of Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley -
Currently many ag parcels have a Z Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Exclusion overlay – which prohibits construction of an ADU (commonly known as a granny unit) on these parcels. Photo: Courtesy of Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley -

Sept. 8th is Sonoma Ready Day
Sept. 17th, Proposed Ordinance
to Increase Housing in our
Agriculturally Zoned Areas


On Sept. 10, Presentation Regarding 
Deferred Maintenance of all 
County-Owned Properties

And more...

Aug 31, 2019
by Lynda Hopkins, 5th District Supervisor - Sonoma County


There are an unusually large number of county initiatives to cover in this month’s column…so here goes…

September 8th is Sonoma Ready Day.  

Sonoma Ready Flyer.This event will take place at Saralee & Richard’s Barn at the Fairgrounds from 10am – 3pm.  Sonoma Ready Day will offer emergency resources, demonstrations, short lectures, emergency vehicle displays and tools to educate and empower community members to withstand and recover from emergencies.

With a focus on disaster preparedness as well as health and wellness best practices, resource tables and lectures will be hosted by first responders, community leaders, health professionals and local and state agencies. Admission and parking are free and there will be food trucks on-site for food purchases as well as activities for kids.

Over 2,400 emergency kits will be given away. This Emergency Preparedness Kit is designed to provide 2 people with essential emergency supplies for 3 days (72 hours). That’s how long FEMA estimates you may be without basic services or how long it can take emergency first responders to reach you in the event of a disaster. This disaster kit is most suitable for those who believe they will need to leave their home in the event of a disaster. This Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit contains only essential emergency supplies and other items should be added to this kit in order to make it compliant with FEMA’s Guidelines.

Supplies in this emergency kit are stored inside a red nylon backpack with 5 compartments. This backpack emergency kit features high-quality emergency food and water, first-aid kit, and a hand-squeeze LED flashlight (no batteries required). The food and water in this emergency kit has a 5 year shelf life and is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Transport Authority. This Kosher emergency food is also safe for vegetarians, contains no nuts.

This all-purpose backpack emergency kit is suitable for use in earthquakes, tornadoes, winter storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and extreme heat and cold.

On September 10, the Board of Supervisors will receive a presentation from General Services with input from Regional Parksregarding deferred maintenance of all county-owned properties.  The needs of Bodega Bay will be highlighted, including the Tidelands Lease, Spud Point Marina, and General Services-held properties including Meredith Wharf/Cannery Building and the Yacht Club building. The most recent estimate I have for the decommissioning of the Wharf (without pier removal, just decommissioning the building and decking) is $1.1M. In advance of the meeting, I have asked General Services to look into whether the pier pilings of Meredith Wharf are sound, and whether they could be used for a new structure that could provide some community benefit, since I have received inquiries regarding possible preservation/renovation of the structure.  

On September 17th, our Board will hear a proposed ordinance intended to increase housing in our agriculturally zoned areas.   Currently many ag parcels have a Z Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Exclusion overlay – which prohibits construction of an ADU (commonly known as a granny unit) on these parcels, which are often quite large.  This hearing will consider the Planning Commission and staff recommendation to remove this prohibition for around 1,927 specified parcels in these zones (LEA, LIA, and DA).  If you have a comment to make on this project, you can learn more at

Alisha O’Loughlin. Photo: Alisha O’Loughlin!   Alisha, a Guerneville resident, is the new Lower Russian River TMDL Ombudsperson  and will serve as a non-regulatory, informational resource to residents with questions about new Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS), or septic, requirements. The requirements stem from federal law, which mandates that each state maintain a list of impaired water bodies and set water quality objectives, supported by an Action Plan, to protect uses of the water. The Russian River and several of its tributaries are considered pathogen impaired. Among other sources, individual OWTS are contributors of pathogens in the watershed. 

State policy establishes minimum requirements for OWTS near impaired waters and these standards are now being applied to the Russian River Watershed. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the County of Sonoma are partnering to implement the new regulations. Property owners whose OWTS do not meet the minimum requirements may have to repair, upgrade, or replace their system within the next 20 years. Where applicable, planning and construction of community-based systems will be explored.

Making sense of the requirements and acronyms is no easy task; Alisha is here to assist. She can provide information about who is impacted, inspection and reporting requirements, permitting and design standards, financial assistance, and more. She will also be closely coordinating with the Lower Russian River Wastewater Community Advisory Group to better understand the needs of the community and to explore and advance opportunities for support.

Contact Alisha at   707-565-6415,   Alisha.OLoughlin@sonoma-county.orgin-person at the Monte Rio Community Center at 20488 Hwy 116. Effective in early September,drop-in hours will be on Thursdays between 9:00am-1:00pm, with additional availability on weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays by appointment.

Our County by Lynda Hopkins


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