By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a slate of zoning code changes for some types of agricultural land while backing off any limits on vacation rentals on other farming properties.
The board voted 5-0 to approve the zoning changes, the most controversial of which were aimed at agricultural processing and private road access.
Agricultural processing facilities now will be permitted where they previously were prohibited in a mixed-use zoning called agriculture and residential, or AR. The new zoning rules will limit building size by acreage and will prohibit tasting rooms serving alcohol on AR-zoned properties.
About 10,000 AR-zoned parcels exist in the county, with the largest concentrations outside Sebastopol and Petaluma.
In a second hearing, supervisors backed off a proposed cap on vacation rentals on properties zoned land intensive agriculture, or LIA. Currently, about 30 unpermitted rentals operate on LIA-zoned parcels countywide.
Supervisors agreed to a two-year delay in any enforcement and directed county planners to prepare a general plan amendment that would authorize rentals on LIA-zoned properties.
The number of parcels potentially affected countywide is 2,149. All but 66 are in Supervisor Mike McGuire’s 4th District, encompassing much of northern Sonoma County, or Supervisor Valerie Brown’s 1st District, which includes Sonoma Valley.
Real estate interests had opposed a cap and called for rules that would allow rentals on most of the parcels.