Fire Chief Mark Heine gave an interesting presentation to our community on July 18.  Captain Heine and Fire Prevention Officer Cyndi Foreman outlined their plan to meet our needs for fire protection and prevention. Click here to view his presentation.

As part of his presentation Fire Chief Heine shared a video from the County Sheriff's Helicopter, Henry 1, of a recent grass fire on Shiloh Canyon Road. What's especially frightening is the fountain of embers dispersed downwind when the fire hit a grove of Oak Trees. Oaks used to be resistant to fire, but with all the recent droughts and the impact of Sudden Oak Death Disease, they've now become a tinderbox. Be sure to view that in the video at 2 minutes in. The Video is posted on Facebook here. You can see additional fire videos include the recent Redwood Hills Fire on the Sheriff's Facebook page here.

You can also like and follow the Fire District's Facebook page here.


By Craig S. Harrison, BVCA President

The Board of Supervisors has adopted a Cannabis Tax Ordinance and Medical Cannabis Land Use Ordinance which takes effect on January 20, 2017. It forbids commercial cultivation on Rural Residential- and Agricultural Residential-zoned parcels and directs cultivation to agricultural- and industrial- zoned areas, with limited options in the resource districts.

For parcels where cultivation is allowed, a permit is required which will be issued to a person and must be renewed annually. The permit process requires notification to owners of neighboring parcels who may object to the permit. The BVCA will request that it be notified in order to enable notification to the broader community. 

Personal cultivation is allowed under the recently-approved Proposition 64 which is limited to no more than 100 square feet per residence, of which up to 6 plants can be cultivated for adult use (non-medical) purposes. No permit or registry is now required but may be considered in the future to thwart illegal commercial cultivation occurring under the guise of personal use. 

Posted below are maps showing the zoning in the Bennett Valley Area Plan and a link to the County's GIS Database so you can lookup the zoning in your area.  Bennett Valley has a mix of Diverse Agriculture, Resources and Rural Development, and Rural Residential. To learn whether a parcel’s owner can apply for a permit for commercial cultivation you must determine the parcel’s zoning.

The Cannabis Tax Ordinance will be considered at a special election on March 7, 2017, and no permits will be issued unless that tax is approved. Permit Sonoma (formerly PRMD) will issue guidance concerning cannabis regulation in the near future which we will post to the BVCA web site when it is available.

See also the Permit Sonoma GIS Map:

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Download Preceding File 2016 12 28 Sonoma County Zoning Map (BIG) 6.6 MB 2016-12-29
Download Preceding File 2016 12 28 Bennett Valley Parcel Map 93.14 KB 2016-12-29

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 Sandi Potter, Ground Water Geologist, and Tennis Wick, director, of the Sonoma County PRMD led a discussion on the impact on Sonoma County well users of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The bottom line for Bennett Valley residents and agricultural users is that the current act only applies to specific ground water basins and Bennett Valley is not one of them.

Domestic users in the affected basins also are exempt unless they use over 2 acre feet of water per year (this nets out to 1,785 gallons per well per day).

All of the Information presented by the PRMD and more can be found on their website:

BVC_email_logo1Bennett Valley Cellars has applied for a permit to offer small walking tours of its vineyards at 5757 Bennett Valley Road (near Grange Road) with the occasional consumption of wine produced from its vineyards. All visitors will come by van and the tours will operate only during good weather months. These tours will just be an additional stop on tours that already visit Mantanzas Creek Winery.

A more complete description of the project can be found here and notification from the PRMD can be found in the PDFs below.

Owner Luca Zanin encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call him at 707-975-6766

Sandi Potter, Sonoma County's Maanager of Environmental Review and Comprehensive Planning presented the following materials on the Riparian Corridor protections in the County General Plan at July BVCA meeting on July 17th.

See also the PRMD website:

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Download Preceding File Vegetation_Permit Guide 58.1 KB 2015-07-17
Download Preceding File RC_Summary 380.47 KB 2015-07-17
Download Preceding File BennetttValley_RC_July 2015 1.34 MB 2015-07-17
Download Preceding File 11-24-2014 PRMD ORD13-0002 ADOPTED ORD Exh AB_final 11-24-14 71.81 KB 2015-07-17