Santa Rosa’s City Council has passed two measures making it easier for medical service providers to open new facilities in the city.
Santa Rosa is being sued for its decision to relax zoning rules for large grocery stores that want to set up shop in existing buildings in the city’s southeast. When the City Council passed the zoning changes in September, it said it was trying to remove hurdles for businesses, create jobs and give low-income residents better access to fresh food and vegetables.
Chickens were the stars of the show Tuesday at the Santa Rosa City Council meeting. Hailed as healthy, sustainable, comforting, educational and just plain fun, backyard hens were removed from forbidden status in most Santa Rosa neighborhoods by a unanimous vote of the seven-member council. ‘We have a lot of outlaw chickens in our city, and we would like to give them some amnesty,’ Councilwoman Susan Gorin said.
Santa Rosa made permanent or extended 20 changes to city codes intended to boost economic development across the city. Measures that delay the collection of permit fees, streamline permitting of small projects and give landlords more time to find new tenants for vacant buildings were all passed by the council Tuesday night.
Zoning changes designed to make it easier for businesses to locate in Santa Rosa were lauded by the City Council majority Tuesday as wise economic development policy but lambasted by others as handouts to developers and private property owners. The council unanimously approved giving wineries and breweries more flexibility to operate tasting rooms and production facilities in the city, in some cases without any land-use permits.
Most cities in Sonoma County, save Rohnert Park, have some provisions permitting residents to raise backyard hens. But under the current Santa Rosa zoning and animal keeping ordinances, having chickens is prohibited except in those few neighborhoods zoned ‘rural residential.’
City Council members soon may vote to change that. They’ll be asked Sept. 18 to approve new regulations legalizing backyard hens and setting the terms under which they can be kept.
A Buddhist retreat in the coastal hills of northwest Sonoma County will be allowed to expand its printing of Tibetan texts, which is considered a religious practice, under a new use permit approved Thursday. One of the conditions, however, is that the fire marshal is to inspect the four text storage facilities to correct any fire hazards, and that the retreat must adhere to any recommendations that are made.
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. Agricultural processing facilities now will be permitted where they previously were prohibited in a mixed-use zoning called agriculture and residential, or AR.
New rules and zoning changes for agricultural land in Sonoma County drew a packed audience Tuesday at the county Board of Supervisors, which put off a vote on most of the changes after hearing nearly two hours of public comment. See what supporters and critics had to say about the plan.
The owner of the site of a possible Sprouts Farmers Market won a key zoning approval from the City Council on Tuesday despite questions about whether he was splitting the project into two phases to sidestep opposition. “The attempt to deceive me is incredibly insulting and irritating,” Gorin said.