On July 15, 2023, ED Dayna Ghirardelli and President Doug Beretta submitted a letter regarding the latest version of the Update to the local Coastal Plan. They stressed that the Coastal Act contains strong commitments to agriculture as a land use within the coastal zone. On July 17th ED Ghirardelli appeared before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to make comments in line with the July 15th letter. Speaking for agriculture and the importance of protecting natural resources, she stated that while SCFB does not disagree with the protection of riparian corridors we do find great concern with the approach to designate areas as Sanctuary Preservation without ground truthing. She ended her comments reminding the Supervisors that we need to submit a plan to the Coastal Commission that fits our community NOT one that suits the Coastal Commission going into it.
Farm Bureau members along with ED Ghirardelli, dissected the proposed Local Coastal Plan that the Board heard of Supervisors at a special meeting on July 17th. Correspondence to the board included applause for the corrections made to accommodate and support agriculture on the coast; however, there were still areas of concern, such as mapping issues and the consequences of added definitions and verbiage.
The Local Coastal Plan (LCP) is set to return to the County Board of Supervisors in July. SCFB has contacted Supervisor Hopkins to discuss areas of continued concern. ED Ghirardelli, SCFB members, Sonoma County Ag Commissioner Andrew Smith, and UCCE County Director Stephanie Larson continue to offer insight into the inconsistencies and overreach of the proposed LCP to county staff tasked with devising the county policy.
April 20, 2023, appearance at Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Meeting. Executive Director Dayna Ghirardelli commented on the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) and the Well Ordinance agenda items. Concerning the LCP, Dayna stated that the current draft needed additional input from landowners and ag stakeholders and requested that the agenda item be continued later (it was).
On November 22nd, we submitted a letter to Permit Sonoma expressing our concerns with several Notices of Violation posted on properties on Coleman Valley Road for their newly erected barbed wire fences to keep cattle on the property and off of county roads. By all accounts, the fences are within the parameters of the Coastal Zone Ordinance, Chapter 26C, and exempt from the need for permits or further filing. We also noted the lack of acknowledgment and/or exception for livestock management in the Draft Sonoma Local Coastal Plan (LCP) where it states, “fences or walls shall be prohibited within riparian habitat and on bluffs, except where necessary for public safety, wildfire risk abatement, habitat protection, or restoration,” and suggested that it should reference and incorporate established best practices for livestock management and grazing that promote compliance with federal, state, and regional laws and further align with regulations addressing water quality and natural resources. Furthermore, we highlighted the provision within the draft regarding “wildlife-passable fencing” is not conducive to livestock management, is ultimately counterproductive, and should be removed from the draft.