New Tree Ordinance Unveiled by Permit Sonoma
Tree Protection Ordinance
On August 3, 2023, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider updates to current tree removal regulations. After holding a public hearing, the Commission then asked staff to return on August 31 with additional provisions to strengthen the Sonoma County Tree Protection Ordinance (26-88-010(m)).
On August 31, the Planning Commission held a continued public hearing and made a recommendation that the Board of Supervisors adopt the draft ordinance with additional modifications, such as requiring discretionary review for proposed removal of trees above a threshold diameter: redwoods over 48″, and other protected species above 36″. An updated ordinance reflecting the Planning Commission’s recommendations will be available in advance of a future Board of Supervisors hearing, tentatively scheduled for November 28, 2023.
Oak Woodland Ordinance
During a September 1, 2022 hearing, the Planning Commission supported the development of regulatory approaches to protect oak woodlands. Since that time, staff have met with a diverse range of stakeholders and conducted an online survey with over 500 respondents to guide the development of a draft ordinance. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on September 21, 2023 at 1pm to consider a draft ordinance which would limit the loss of oak woodlands from development. The hearing was originally scheduled for September 7 but was rescheduled to September 21.
The hearing will include discussion on:
- Defining Oak Woodlands
- The use of a “combining district” approach to apply protections
- Allowed uses within the proposed combining district
- The permitting process for projects in oak woodlands
Project materials and instructions for how to join the meeting online or in person, will be available at the link below. A copy of the ordinance and staff report is not yet available but will be posted several days prior to the hearing.
Background information about the Comprehensive Tree Ordinance Update is available on the project webpage. If you have questions or would like to submit written comments before the next hearing, please contact Doug Bush at Doug.Bush@sonoma-county.org.
The Tree Ordinance Team