A Santa Rosa wine and beer shop allowing customers to try before they buy won approval Thursday from the Santa Rosa Planning Commission. Rincon Valley Wine and Craft Beer would be the first shop in Sonoma County to feature automated self-serve wine dispensers that let customers sample wines on tap before they decide to buy a bottle.
President Barack Obama laid out plenty of ideas for creating jobs Thursday night, but here’s one you didn’t hear him pitch — tweaking zoning rules to boost economic development. While it may not be on the president’s radar, that’s precisely the approach the Santa Rosa City Council is taking to generate jobs locally. And much like Obama’s plan, it is not without its skeptics.
Since the beginning of the year, the Santa Rosa Fire Department has required a separate review of building plans for residential solar arrays and inspection of them once installed. On Monday, it announced it would turn over that role to the city’s building department. Critics said the additional bureaucracy was time consuming, expensive and unnecessary.
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.
Santa Rosa’s effort to streamline its permit process appears to be paying off. The number of new businesses in the city is up and the time it takes businesses to pull permits for certain projects is down. “I think the actions taken by the last council are bearing fruit,” Councilman Gary Wysocky says. “The city is in a much better position than our neighboring communities.”
Under stiff pressure from building industry representatives, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday agreed to postpone a vote on proposed increases in hundreds of building, planning and engineering fees.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will vote today on proposed increases to hundreds of building, planning and engineering fees and the addition of a dozen new land-use and inspection fees.