Petaluma’s Urban Growth Boundary

Petaluma is one of many cities in California with an “urban growth boundary” that restricts urban sprawl in order to protect the environment and the aesthetics of our city. Petaluma’s UGB was initially approved by Petaluma voters in 1998, although Petaluma’s first effort to manage growth dates back to the City’s 1961 General Plan.

In 2010, voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the Urban Growth Boundary through Dec. 31, 2025. With the UGB set to expire next year, the City is placing another renewal of the UGB on the ballot for this November to ensure that the city keeps its current growth boundary intact for the next 25 years. No changes are being proposed to the Urban Growth Boundary.



In January 2024, the City Council gave staff direction to prepare the ballot language for Council consideration in July. You can view that meeting and read the related materials HERE. Next, the Urban Growth Boundary will be reviewed by our Planning Commission at their May 21 meeting. After that, the City Council will review the ballot measure and related potential updates to Petaluma’s General Plan before it is submitted to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for the November ballot.

The public is invited to both meetings to learn more about the UGB and the upcoming ballot measure.

Planning Commission
May 21, 2024, 6pm
City Hall (11 English St, Petaluma)
Watch online at
To submit public comment in advance of the meeting, email the Commission Clerk at [email protected] with the subject line “Public Comment.”

City Council
July 1, 2024, 6:30 pm
City Hall (11 English St, Petaluma)
Watch online at
To submit public comment in advance of the meeting, email the City Clerk at [email protected] with the subject line “Public Comment.”



The City of Petaluma has a long history of efforts to manage growth for the benefit of the community. These efforts began largely in response to spawl development and failing infrastructure in the 1960s and were first adopted into the City’s General Plan in 1961. Below is a timeline of these efforts from the 60s to today.

  • Petaluma’s 1961 General Plan recognized benefits of compact development patterns
  • The Environmental Design Plan of 1972 established urban separator
  • Residential Growth Management limited residential growth to 500 units per year
  • In 1976, the CA Supreme Court declined to review an appellate court ruling that upheld Petaluma's growth limits.
  • The Environmental Design Plan of 1978 extended the effective date of the urban separator
  • 1987 General Plan designated an Urban Limit Line and delineated an outer edge for urban development
  • The Urban Growth Boundary is officially adopted by voters in 1998. It:
    • Largely mirrored Urban Limit Line from 1987 General Plan
    • Confined growth and physical development
    • Initially extended UGB to 2018
  • The UGB was extended by voters in 2010 to 2025 to match newly adopted General Plan



Staff Report for City Council, Jan. 22, 2024
PowerPoint for City Council, Jan 22, 2024

Click the image above to enlarge.

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