Public Right of Way Special Events Ordinance


SCH Number
Public Agency
Sonoma County
Document Title
Public Right of Way Special Events Ordinance
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The Project is an ordinance to amend Sonoma County Code Chapter 15, Article VI “Procedure or the Permitting of Special Events” in the public right of way to (1) remove a permit exemption for certain bicycle events over 250 participants, (2) create new standards for exempt bicycling events with between 100 and 250 riders, (3) allow for persons to apply at one time for certain multiple future events, (4) allow for applications filed more than one year and less than five years in advance of the event, and (5) establish a discretionary permit model allowing tailored conditions to address safety and other issues. The ordinance amending Chapter 15 would be enacted pursuant to authority granted by Section 21101(e) of the California Vehicle Code and Section 942.5 of the Streets and Highways Code, to permit the use of the public right-of-way for special events and to allow the closure of roads in the county for the purpose of conducting special events. Examples of special events include but are not limited to walkathons, runs, marathons, trail rides, bicycle races or rides, fairs, celebrations, parades and other similar activities.

Contact Information

Richard Stabler
Agency Name
Permit Sonoma
Job Title
Senior Environmental Specialist
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Parcel #

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Section 15301 for Existing Facilities, and Section 15323 For Normal Operations of Facilities for Public Gatherings.
Reasons for Exemption
Adoption of the proposed ordinance to amend Sonoma County Code Chapter 15, Article VI “Procedure or the Permitting of Special Events” in the public right of way is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and provisions of Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, Section II, pursuant to the categorical exemptions 14 CCR Sections §§ 15323, 15301, and 15061(b)(3), as an action that regulates the normal operation of existing public facilities (public rights of way) for public gatherings, where public rights of way have a past history over at least the last three years, and traditionally much longer, of being used for the same or similar public events, assemblies, and gatherings, and where there is no reasonable expectation that the future occurrence of events would represent a change in the scope of the historic use of the public right of way under § 15323; where the operation, use, minor alteration, and permitting of existing public facilities (existing highways, streets, sidewalks, gutters, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and similar public right of way facilities), for public right of way special events represents no or negligible expansion of existing or former use of the public right of way for events, which have been regularly and traditionally held in Sonoma County’s public rights of way for many years under §15301; and where the regulation of special events in the right of way is being strengthened and clarified through the action and is a project where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment under the common sense exemption, §15061(b)(3). Discretionary applications for public right of way special events under the amended ordinance must comply with CEQA, unless exempt. No exceptions listed under Section 15300.2 apply. There is no reasonable possibility that the project would have a significant effect on the environment.
County Clerk


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