Pete Parkinson has a quick way to sum up the tough work his now former office, Sonoma County’s Permit and Resource Management Department, faces in overseeing land-use planning and regulation in the Bay Area’s largest county.
Sonoma County planning officials have announced a new series of lunchtime meetings to familiarize people with land-use permitting requirements.
Sonoma County’s Planning Department — a government division often under fire from landowners and builders — is set to hold a public open house next Friday to ‘demystify’ the permit process.
Rule changes that could affect up to 550 businesses that serve and sell alcohol in unincorporated Sonoma County are up for discussion Tuesday at a workshop hosted by county planning officials. The proposed changes would add new standards for security, staff training, signage and customer and site management, including trash and graffiti cleanup.
A tentative ruling from a Sonoma County judge will keep a Larkfield medical marijuana dispensary closed while it goes through the county permitting process. Judge Mark Tansil ruled that Sonoma County has an interest in enforcing zoning laws, deterring violations from other marijuana clubs and protecting the public.
Sonoma County government expects to eliminate 223 jobs, resulting in 63 layoffs, to help plug a $43 million gap in the county budget for the coming fiscal year. The plan would cut the size of the county’s workforce by almost 6 percent and touch nearly every department. But the county will not have to cut as deeply as it first thought.
A bid by Sonoma County government to trim an extra 5 percent of spending this fiscal year is closer to reality. Among 20 county departments, 15 have already met or exceeded the savings goal. But the leaders of five departments — the sheriff’s, district attorney, public defender and clerk-recorder’s offices and the Permit and Resource Management Department — expressed some doubts about reaching the target.
Homeowners and nonprofits with unpermitted construction in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County have another six months to apply for permits without risk of penalties after a vote this week by the Board of Supervisors.