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County of Sonoma California
Economic Development Board

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Sonoma County Regulatory Guide

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board serves as a resource to businesses by providing assistance in relocating, establishing, or owning a commercial enterprise anywhere in the County. While local agencies within their own jurisdictions are almost always the key decision makers on land and water use, regional, state, and federal agencies may also have special regulations that apply to your land, project, or business.

The four issues that affect new and established businesses in the County are:

  1. Location

    Depending on the proposed use and proximity to environmentally protected lands and water, certain additional permits may be needed.

  2. Environment

    Some types of projects release potential pollutants into the air or water. These may require additional permits.

  3. Type of Project/Activity

    Specific activities may have their own approval system and may often require encroachment permits.

  4. Tax and License

    General basic filing requirements and deadlines for sole proprietors and general partnerships are listed. Other business structures, such as corporations or limited partnerships, require additional filings or forms and are not addressed in the guide.

Some of the challenges related to these issues are finding the right resources and agencies to help you determine what regulations affect your business. By contacting the proper agency and, if required, filing the proper forms and paying any fees, you, your business, and your employees can be in compliance with local, county, state, and federal filing requirements, permits, and procedures.

To help direct you to the most helpful resources in Sonoma County, visit one or more of the following links:

Regulations, permits, licensing requirements, taxes and fees change frequently. This regulation guide is a work-in-progress and some of the information may become outdated or inaccurate soon after it is posted to this site. Although useful as a general educational guide to what laws and regulations may affect your business, it is up to you to investigate and determine whether the operation of your business is in compliance. We recommend that you contact the proper agencies directly to ensure your business meets the operating requirements for your particular location.

This information was developed by the Sonoma County Business Regulatory Roundtable, with the assistance of the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department, the Santa Rosa Department of Community Development, and the Building Industry Association. The Economic Development Board developed this guide in November 2000. If some prime resources have been overlooked, it is not intentional, and we welcome your comments and suggestions for further updating and refining of this guide. Please e-mail to:

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