WatchSonoma Watch
Buddhist printing press wins OK to expand operations

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.

Supes expand zoning for ag processing

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.

Ag zoning changes draw sharp criticism

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.

Santa Rosa approves zoning change for retail project

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.

Santa Rosa says it has a jobs plan, too

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.

Ruling keeps pot dispensary shut

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.

Staples plan sparks debate over big-box stores in Sonoma

A group of local merchants has sent a letter to the Sonoma City Council demanding changes to the city’s zoning ordinances to “keep our town free of big-box store conglomerates.” The council will take up the issue tonight when it reviews a proposal to open a Staples office supply and computer store on West Napa Street.

Santa Rosa pot dispensary can stay open – for now

Sonoma County has lost a bid to shut down a medical marijuana dispensary on the eastern outskirts of Santa Rosa, where it has been operating for months without a permit. Staff members say it serves many elderly patients, including people from the nearby Oakmont and Spring Lake Village retirement communities.

Zoning board approves Oakmont cell phone tower

Sonoma County’s zoning board voted unanimously Thursday to allow an 83-foot-tall cell phone tower near Oakmont. Critics said the tower would emit dangerous levels of radiation while supporters said it would finally provide decent cell service in the area.

County zoning board to consider cellphone tower near Oakmont

The Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments will take up a proposal Thursday to install an 83-foot-tall cellphone tower off Highway 12 across from the entrance to Oakmont. Some residents are concerned the tower will mar the scenic views and possibly expose them to radio frequency radiation. Others support the tower, saying it would provide better cellphone coverage.

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