City Departments > Planning > FAQ
City Departments : Planning
What is the zoning of my property? What uses are allowed and what are the development limitations (setbacks, coverage, floor area ratio, etc.)?
How do I contact the Planning Department?
How high can I build my fence? Do I need a permit?
What do I need to do to put up a sign for my business?
What do I need to open a home-based business (home occupation)?
Does the City have current traffic counts?
What are the Sign and Outdoor Merchandise regulations for businesses within the City Limits of Sonoma?
What you can do on your property depends on its location, its zoning designation, and what uses are allowed as specified in the Development Code. You can determine the zoning of your property by locating it on the City Zoning Map. The uses and development standards associated with each zoning district are set forth in the City’s Development Code. You can also call the Planning Division for this information, but you will need either the property address or assessor's parcel number.
If you have a question or inquiry, we are available in person or by phone from 8:00 to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excepting holidays. We are also available by appointment. The Planning Department is located at City Hall, #1 the Plaza. You can reach us by phone at 707-938-3743 and our fax number is 707-938-8775. You may also contact us via email.
Fences, hedges or other screening planting shall not exceed four feet in height if located in a required front yard or on the street side of a corner lot. In all other locations (side or rear yards) fences and walls may not exceed seven feet in height, solid, plus a one-foot trellis. Fences and walls in excess of these height limits are subject to use permit review by the Planning Commission.
Most signs are subject to some form of review, whether over-the-counter or by the City’s Design review Commission. Therefore, you should check with planning staff regarding size limits and other sign regulations prior to installing any commercial sign. A building permit may also be required in certain circumstances, such as when illumination is provided. Please note that additional clearances may be required from the Public Works Department if the sign encroaches into the public right-of-way, such as a sign that overhangs a sidewalk.
Because there are limits on the types of activities that qualify as a home occupation in order to assure that the use is compatible with a residential setting, a home occupation permit is required, as is a business license. In general, the level of activity associated with a home occupation should not be substantially different than that of a typical residence. Find out more here.
The most recent set of traffic counts was conducted in 2003. You can download them here. These counts are for the weekday peak p.m. period (typically between 4:30 and 5:30). They are not daily counts. The Caltrans website (http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov/2004all/r012-15i.htm) also has traffic counts for Highway 12 through Sonoma from 2004.
Business Signage and Outdoor Displays Fact Sheet
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