What’s Involved in the Permitting Process in Sonoma?

Posted by: Cam Fraser

A guest interview with Wayne Wirick Jr., the Development Services Director / Building Official for the City of Sonoma, CA.

WCB: Wayne, what is involved in getting a building permit in Sonoma?
WW: Please see our web handout Obtaining a Building Permit and Permit Submittal Requirements which explains the process.

WCB: Is there a design review, and if so, what is considered in that part of the process?
WW: The need for design review depends on the type of project. Design review is typically required for demolitions, new non-residential projects and non-residential projects that undergo exterior alterations, exterior alterations to historic or older residential buildings, etc. Typically exterior appearance, site issues and landscaping are considered in the design review process.

WCB: Does the city or county enforce green building, energy or water standards as part of the planning process?
WW: The City of Sonoma has adopted a mandatory green building program and a new mandatory Green Building Code has been adopted by the State of California (scheduled to become effective throughout California on January 1, 2011). The City will also be considering new water efficiency regulations for landscaping later this spring.

WCB: What are the fees associated with permitting?
WW: Permit fees vary depending on the project. The City of Sonoma provides free permit cost estimates for specific projects on a case by case basis.

WCB: What’s your advice to a builder or landowner on how to have the most efficient and expeditious permitting experience?
WW: The best and way to make the permitting process go smoothly and expeditiously is to have frequent conversations with City staff and ask lots of questions. We to make the process as efficient as possible and it works best when we are able to regularly review the project with builders, owners and design professionals to discuss and resolve potential issues as early as possible.