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Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan

CALL TO ACTION:

Email the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and show up at the April 4th 2023 meeting (in person or virtual.) Sonoma SASS has worked alongside a dozen other local groups for the past several years to provide data and information to the County to include and consider in this revised Local Coastal Plan. This may be the last meeting to provide public input.

Listen to Richard Charter talk about our Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan (3/29/23 KGUA 88.3FM)

Suggested talking points:

 

1. Please "retain sensitive parcel designations", as was supported by the Planning Commission to keep large development on the coast in check.

2. Please include density restrictions in the LCP for the coastal zone, just as there are density restrictions currently in inland Sonoma County.  A rapidly growing percentage of the homes in coastal Sonoma County are currently being managed as vacation rentals, which further exacerbates the housing affordability and inaccessibility for people who work at businesses in the coastal zone. The General Plan calls for regulations that preserve the values of coastal communities and the Coastal Act provides that regulations preserve the unique character of the Sonoma Coast. The Coastal Commission has approved ordinances along the California Coast that limit the number of vacation rentals in the Coastal Zone in order to achieve a balance and reduce impacts caused by vacation rentals. There is therefore nothing that prevents the Sonoma County LCP from including a density restriction, however, the Sonoma County Tourism office is heavily lobbying the Board of Supervisors to not include these restrictions.

 

Specifically: the LCP should read:


Program C-LU-5-1P: Establish performance standards for the use of existing residences for
vacation rentals and hosted rentals. In developing standards consider: requirements for designated
property managers, safety, parking, noise, and number of guests allowed for daytime and nighttime
occupancy. In addition to performance standards, identify areas where high concentration of
vacation rental would impact environmentally sensitive habitat areas, water quality, housing stock
and affordability, community character, noise, traffic impacts, or coastal access and develop land
use policy to avoid these impacts.

(3) Thank our county staff for including language restricting pesticide use in the coastal zone to better protect sensitive coastal environments!


April 4th 2023 Meeting Agenda

Board of Supervisors emails: 

lynda.hopkins@sonoma-county.org

Susan.Gorin@sonoma-county.org

David.Rabbitt@sonoma-county.org

Chris.Coursey@sonoma-county.org

James.Gore@sonoma-county.org

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Sonoma County is in the process of updating its Local Coastal Plan. The goal of this plan should be to strengthen coastline ecosystems and restore degraded land, not sponsor more development. Unfortunately, the revised plan proposed by the County has removed protections and does not adequately address things like ecological land management and restoration, climate change, sea level rise, and pesticide use. 

 

Ecosystems along the Sonoma coast are having a hard time. Climate change is altering natural cycles that food webs rely on, making it difficult for some species to survive. 90% of all sea live lives in the coastal zone. These animals can’t handle any more stressors! Natural Resource Management and Ocean Policy Experts name 2 things coastal communities like Sonoma County can do to help ocean animals be more adaptive to climate change. These include:

  1. Minimizing activities like pesticide use, agricultural and sewage runoff and land development that all bring pollutants into coastal waters, and

  2. Protecting the waters through better ocean management to keep out ocean energy projects and aquaculture.

 

The ocean represents the vastness of our collective souls. Though her breadth is great she is not immune to our carelessness, to a “business as usual” strategy. 

 

Your voice matters! Log into these upcoming public meetings and write your Planning Commissioners and County Supervisors. Tell them you want to see the health of our coastline prioritized. 

 

Together we can give our coastal species (which includes ourselves!) a better shot at weathering the changes ahead.

Climate Change and the Sonoma Coast

Ecosystems along the Sonoma coast are having a hard time. Climate change is altering natural cycles that food webs rely on, making it difficult for some species to survive. Rising temperatures, changes in seasonal upwelling cycles, Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB), dead zones, food shortages, and ocean acidification are creating an existential crisis for some animals.  We are blessed with a healthy dungenous crab fishery, but our abalone fishery may never recover from the 2015 Sea Star Wasting Syndrome event. Sunflower Sea Stars, a necessary predator to keep sea urchin populations in check, may be on the road to extinction.

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