Advocacy

Written By: Admin
Published: December 11, 2019
  • Groundwater Sustainability Agencies:
    • Tawny has been meeting individually with county supervisors and the GSA staff to correct irrigation use data being used to access fees and to encourage the County’s financial support for Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency
  • City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water, Ag User Contracts
    • The City of Santa Rosa has been working with local farmers to develop a standard agreement for the use of reclaimed water. SCFB members Doug Beretta, Kathy Reese, and Domenic Carinalli serve as ag representatives on an Ad Hoc committee.
    • Farm Bureau advocated for a one-year reprieve from the City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water Ag User contract fee implementation. In essence, we pushed for no fees charged to any ag water users in 2020, even those currently paying fees. This one-year extension would give farmers an opportunity to plan for the pending costs and give the city staffers time to confirm the accuracy of meters and to repair equipment
  • Potter Valley Project:
    • The Sonoma County Farm Bureau continues to work with Mendocino County Farm Bureau as the Potter Valley Project re-licensing process unfolds.
    • In April we hosted a Potter Valley Project Information Forum for nearly 75 attendees.
  • Ag + Open Space – Vital Lands Initiative:
    • Although we are unsure of how the Vital Lands Initiative is going, we feel that agriculture’s interest should be represented as much as possible in shaping the acquisition or management of conservation easements on ag land. Therefore, SCFB President Jeff Carlton, Board Member Joe Pozzi, and Executive Director Tawny Tesconi serve on the Ag Industry Committee and are informing the draft Vital Lands Initiative.
  • Onsite Waste Treatment Systems:
    • The County of Sonoma is updating County regulations for septic systems (OWTS Manual) in order to meet the state-mandated policy that protects water quality and public health. Sonoma County Farm Bureau representatives have met with Permit Sonoma staff outlining various concerns we have with the new manual.
    • SCFB presented suggestions for changes to 9 program areas that would make them more fitting for landowners. The Supervisors agreed to take all 9 suggestions into consideration.
  • Proposed Amendments to General Plan Open Space and Resource Conservation Element to Include Scenic Resource (SR) Zoning Changes:
    • The Sonoma County Planning Commission announced agenda item PLP16-0006 set to be discussed at the May 16 Sonoma County Planning Commission meeting. The agenda item contained amendments to the General Plan Open Space and Resource Conservation Element to expand designated Scenic Landscape Units to include over 3,000 parcels in northern Sonoma County. Many of the impacted parcels are working lands that are owned and/or operated by Farm Bureau members.
    • On May 14, SCFB President Jeff Carlton sent a letter to the Sonoma County Planning Commission expressing our concerns with the proposed amendment
  • Hemp Moratorium
    • On April 1, President Jeff Carlton submitted letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors expressing Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s opposition to an agenda action item proposing a moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation.
    • SCFB has continued involvement in the drafting and implementation of any regulatory, zoning or permitting requirements that are imposed regarding hemp cultivation in Sonoma County.
    • Tawny is a member of the Hemp Advisory Group
  • General Waste Discharge Requirements for Dairies in the North Coast Region:
    • The General Waste Discharge Requirements for Dairies in the North Coast Region are currently in the process of being updated. SCFB Board Member Doug Beretta has been working with the Water Board, the Western United Dairy Association and other local organizations throughout the County to represent the interests of the agriculture industry throughout this process.
  • Russian River TMDL Action Plan & Staff Report:
    • Executive Director Tesconi submitted comments at the end of June in response to the TMDL Action Plan. She called out that much of their concern associated with dairy runoff into the Russian River was base on a hypothesis not in science and that dairies were not being treated fairly in the plan
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Organic Material Handling – Compost Operations Regulations:
    • The BAAQMD released a draft of their ordinance governing small compost operations and onsite compost activities.
    • Director Tesconi submitted comments regarding the onerous tone of the proposed regulations and President Jeff Carlton signed a multi-agency coalition letter that offered a redline version of the regulations.
  • Support for the Removal of Z Zoning Restriction
    • President Jeff Carlton sent a letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in September opposing the removal of the Z Zoning restriction, which would limit an ag property owner’s right to build a 1200 sq., ft. ADU on their property.

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