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Sutter County Zoning Code Update


The Sutter County Board of Supervisors will consider a comprehensive update to the Sutter County Zoning Code on June 28, 2016 at 3 pm in the Hall of Records Building, 466 Second Street, Yuba City. The action being considered also includes a recommendation for approval to revise the County’s Greenhouse Gas Pre-Screening Measures related to the Climate Action Plan (CAP), that will screen-out smaller projects; and a recommendation to update the County’s preferred plant materials list; and adopt a resolution revising the Development Services Department Fee Schedule.

The meeting’s agenda and related materials will be posted for review prior to the meeting on the webpage containing the Board of Supervisors Agendas:

Information regarding the meeting may also be obtained by contacting Steve Geiger, Senior Planner, at (530) 822-7400 or email Steve Geiger.

About the Sutter County Zoning Code Update


What is the Zoning Code?

In California, the use and development of property are generally regulated by zoning laws. These laws are contained in a zoning code, zoning ordinance, development code, or similar code. Sutter County’s zoning regulations are located in its Zoning Code consisting of Chapter 15 of the Sutter County Ordinance Code. A zoning map divides the County into various zoning districts, and text is included in the Zoning Code that establishes the regulations associated with each district.

The Zoning Code acts as an implementation tool for the land uses and policies established by the County’s General Plan. While the General Plan presents a broad vision and policies for the County, the Zoning Code designates permitted uses and provides specific development standards and regulations for various uses on individual parcels. Zoning regulations affect land use, design, parcel size, building heights, density, setbacks, landscaping, fencing, and other aspects of property use. For example, the Zoning Code specifies how tall commercial buildings can be or how far houses should be set back from the street.

What is the Zoning Code Update?

An update of the Sutter County Zoning Code was initiated by the Board of Supervisors in the fall of 2012, with the goal of reflecting the County’s current General Plan vision (adopted in March 2011) into the Zoning Code to ensure consistency between the two documents. The existing Zoning Code was initially prepared in 1990 and has been amended numerous times since. In addition to ensuring consistency with the General Plan, the new Zoning Code will also respond to contemporary planning and zoning best practices, ensure compliance with applicable federal and State laws, introduce additional flexibility in some areas or more certainty in others, and be easy to use and understood by all users. This will enable expedited service to residents, businesses, property owners, and developers.

How are we updating the Zoning Code?

The Sutter County Zoning Code update will take approximately 14 months to complete, with adoption hearings anticipated to occur at the end of 2013. The process will be accomplished in eight tasks. After initiation of the project, we will identify issues to be addressed including areas of inconsistencies with the Sutter County General Plan and conflicts with legal requirements, documenting these issues in a matrix. We will then establish the organization and format of the new Code, determining the sections that will need to be changed, moved or created. Next, we will identify options for various zoning districts and permitted uses within each district. Some of the existing zoning districts are difficult to use and these will be simplified, while others are now obsolete and will be removed. Development standards and regulations will then be determined for each zoning district including parcel size, setbacks, lot coverage, and building heights. We will also create or revise standards for parking, signs, landscaping, screening, fencing and other provisions. Appropriate Zoning Code processes and procedures will be determined, as well as administration of the Code including interpretations and enforcement. Environmental review of the County’s new Zoning Code will be prepared, followed by adoption hearings for the County Board of Supervisors to consider the new Code.

During four of the primary tasks (i.e., identifying issues, district and uses, standards and regulations, and process and administration), we will have workshops with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to solicit input and final direction on each key section of the new Zoning Code. These workshops are open to the public and provide opportunities for community input. You have the chance to help shape the County’s new Zoning Code!

Zoning Code Update Process Chart

Why is the Zoning Code Update important to me?

Some of the County’s existing zoning regulations are dated, cumbersome, and don’t reflect current objectives and needs. An updated Zoning Code will add clarity and certainty, as well as be easier for residents, business owners, property owners, developers, staff and decision makers to use and understand. This will enable us to expedite service to you. An updated Zoning Code will also help make the Sutter County General Plan vision a reality by preserving existing neighborhoods and protecting agricultural operations, while allowing new businesses and job growth. In addition, overall development quality, design, and review processes in Sutter aCounty will be enhanced with updated regulations.

Additional Zoning Code Update Links