Posted on April 13, 2020

The City of Petaluma has temporarily limited its operations to provide essential services and vital functions consistent with the County of Sonoma Shelter in Place Order No. c19-05, updated March 31, 2020.  To prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community, City Hall has moved to an essential service model and is currently closed to the public.

In light of these challenges, the City has looked to new ways to continue to serve our community.  Planning and Building staff have continued to provide review for projects with immediate health and life safety needs, new affordable housing construction, and construction for sheltering/housing individuals experiencing homelessness.  Additionally, we have looked for new ways to remain accessible to members of the community to field general inquiries and provide assistance as needed.

For the full text of the Shelter in Place Order, dated March 31, 2020 please visit

For current information on the coronavirus please visit

For information on corona virus resources for Petaluma businesses, please visit the business resource page.

The following outlines the limited operations for the Building and Planning Divisions under the provisions of the Shelter of Place order and in the best interest of Petaluma.


Existing Permits

All construction projects under existing permits shall halt construction unless consistent with the definition of Essential Construction as outlined in Order No. c19-05.  Each construction site shall be adequately secured to ensure safety and to implement storm water management measures as part of closing operations.

If you have questions about whether your project is considered essential construction, please contact Doug Hughes, Chief Building Official at [email protected].

Safety protocols shall be implemented on all site for all essential construction to continue.  These protocols shall be submitted in writing to the Building Division and shall be posted on site.

New Permits

The Building Division will accept new building permit applications online through DropBox or via email (for smaller projects) and will initiate internal review.  For questions about digital submittals please contact the Deanna Jensen or Jennifer Williams at [email protected] or 707-778-4557.

No new building permits will be issued unless the project falls into the definition of essential construction as outlined in Sonoma County Order No. c19­-05, and including but not specifically limited to the following:

  • Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed;
  • Affordable housing that is or will be income restricted, including multi-unit or mixed use development containing at least 10% incoming-restricted units;
  • Maintenance, operation, or repair of essential infrastructure
  • Healthcare operations provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response
  • Construction of public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency
  • Immediate health or life safety such as water heater replacements, sewer line repair and/or replacement, or failed electrical service replacement

Safety protocols shall be implemented on site for all essential construction.  These protocols shall be submitted in writing to the Building Division and shall be posted on site.


Exterior inspections for projects that are considered essential construction will be conducted by appointment.  Safety protocols to limit exposure to COVID-19 during inspections will be strictly enforced, including:

  • The inspector shall maintain a single point of contact for the duration of the inspection
  • The contractor must have the inspection area cleared of workers and implement social distancing protocols that maintain a minimum 6-foot distance between all participants.
  • The inspection will be rescheduled if anyone at the site is sick or appears to show signs of being sick upon the inspector’s arrival.
  • All interior inspections will be conducted via video to ensure the safety of the inspector.
  • Safety protocols shall be followed when performing all inspection types. Inspections will be canceled if the contractor is not performing the safety protocols.

To schedule an inspection please contact [email protected] or 707-778-4479 by 4:00 p.m. the day before the requested inspection.


General Inquiries

Planning staff are working remotely and available to answer general planning and zoning questions via email and telephone.  We will make every attempt to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.  Please contact Eric Roberts at [email protected] or 707-778-4470.

New Entitlement Applications

The Planning Division will accept new planning entitlement applications for those projects that are consistent with Sonoma County SIP Order, including:

  • Housing projects that include at least 10% deed restricted affordable units
  • New shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels
  • Projects related to the maintenance, operation, or repair of essential infrastructure
  • Project related to healthcare operations, provided that the project is directly related to the COVID-19 response
  • Use Permits or Home Occupation Permits related to new or existing businesses that provide essential services
  • Tree permits related to tree maintenance or removal when it is demonstrated by a certified arborist that there is an immediate threat to health or life-safety

Entitlement applications are being accepted electronically.  Please contact Heather Hines, Planning Manager at [email protected] for instructions on submitting electronic plans.

Existing Entitlement Applications

The City of Petaluma will continue processing existing Planning Entitlement Applications that were submitted prior to the current Shelter-In-Place Order.  If you have an existing application in process, please contact your project planner, or Heather Hines, Planning Manager at [email protected] for questions or status updates.

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