Rezoning to Eliminate Use of Urban Residential Base Zoning Districts in Rural Areas

Adopted by the Board of Supervisors on November 14, 2017.


  • The Planning Office has identified three separate areas within the rural unincorporated areas (lands outside city Urban Service Areas) where the current zoning maps apply an urban residential base district, instead of the rural district that should apply. These three areas are being considered for a zone change to eliminate the use of an urban residential base zoning district and replace it with the appropriate rural base district that corresponds with the General Plan land use designation that applies.
  • The three areas are depicted in the maps below. The Affected Parcels List indicates existing zone and proposed zoning. R1 zoning would be changed to RR, Rural Residential base zoning for Areas A and B, while R1E zoning would be changed to HS, Hillside zoning for Area C. Each change is consistent with the land use designation of the General Plan. 

 Rural Residential base zoning for Areas A
 Rural Residential base zoning for Areas B
 Rural Residential base zoning for Areas C


Why is the Change Being Proposed?

  • There are several reasons for the proposed change.
  1. The continued existence of urban residential zoning districts in rural areas is anachronistic and inappropriate. Rural general plan land use designations such as Rural Residential and Hillside are intended to be correlated with RR and HS zoning to specifically implement the General Plan.
  2. Urban residential zoning districts such as R1 and R1E specify certain use regulations and development standards, such as those for fence height, accessory buildings, and secondary dwellings. Applying urban area standards and limitations in rural areas deprives rural property owners of allowances and development potential provided by the ordinarily applicable rural zoning districts. It also causes unnecessary confusion over what regulations apply to these properties.
  3. The recent changes in state law regarding Accessory/Secondary Dwelling Units and corresponding County regulations need to be consistently applied to all lands in rural areas. To effectively carry out these recent changes, no rural properties should be governed by urban residential zoning regulations.

Does the Zoning Affect Allowable Uses of Land As Defined in the General Plan?

  • No. The proposed zone changes do not affect or amend the General Plan or the allowable uses of land as defined by the General Plan. However, changing the base zoning district from R1 to RR, for example, will make it more transparent and definitive as to what rural land uses and development are allowed under the General Plan land use designations that currently apply.

What is the Process?

  • The process for considering and adopting changes to zoning includes Planning Commission public hearing(s) to provide a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, and at least one hearing by the Board of Supervisors.

For More Information

  • For more information, please contact Leza Mikhail, Principal Planner, at (408) 299-5773

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