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Name of Legislation: Community Separator Protection Ordinance

Measure K Ballot Question

In order to preserve rural open space and agricultural lands, maintain community identities, and prevent sprawl, shall the “Community Separators Protection Ordinance” be adopted to amend the Sonoma County General Plan to require voter approval of changes to the General Plan that increase the allowed density or intensity of development within community separators until Dec. 31, 2036, and to repeal Ordinance 5145R.

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What Measure K does

  • Renews voter protections for community separators in General Plan for another 20 years.
  •  Requires a vote of the people to reduce the size or intensify the land use in community separators.
  • A total of 53,576 acres of county open space and farmlands are designated community separators.
  • The maps of the community separators will be included in the voter handbook.
  •  It is a county measure, not a citizen’s initiative.
  • It repeals and incorporates the separate Petaluma-Novato OR 514R that would expire in 2018.

 What it doesn’t do

  • The measure does not add community separators. The additional designations were added via a General Plan Amendment by the supervisors on a 5-0 vote on August 2. So whether the ballot measure passes or not, the community separators remain in place.
  • The measure does not prevent development but allows existing uses.
  • The measure is a zoning overlay, not a tax or land use designation—so no cost.
  • Farmworker housing is allowed in community separators and exempt from design review.
  • Agricultural operations are allowed and exempt from design review.
  • Change in use would trigger usual county review and permit process.

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