Albert Lopez
Planning Director

Revisions to ECAP policy re: Bed and Breakfast Establishments, South Livermore Valley Area:

County Staff proposes to amend the Alameda County General Plan (ECAP, specifically), by the following modifications of Policy 344 and Program 125 (language to be omitted is struck through, language to be added is underlined):

Policy 344: The County shall encourage the promotion of, and access to, the South Livermore Valley as a premier wine-producing center by encouraging appropriate tourist-attracting and supporting uses, such as bed and breakfast establishments, bicycle and equestrian facilities, a conference center, a wine museum, or other uses, and by establishing clear, well-signed travel corridors from major highways to the area.

Program 125: The County shall limit new commercial uses within the Cultivated Agricultural Overlay District to appropriate small-scale uses that promote the area's image as a wine region, subject to issuance of a conditional use permit. To this end, the County shall develop a full list of conditionally-permitted commercial uses and standards. New commercial uses proposed as a part of a bonus density application should be limited to the 10% maximum area of each parcel not dedicated to cultivated agriculture, subject to appropriate coverage limitations, and should be sited to maximize efficient use of cultivated lands. Wineries and small bed-and-breakfast establishments, and associated small restaurants of no more than forty-nine (49) permanent indoor seats, are examples of appropriate commercial uses. Visitor serving commercial uses are considered non-residential and are subject to the maximum building intensity for non-residential buildings, which is .01 FAR (floor area ratio) but not less than 20,000 square feet, provided they are located on the allowable building envelope(s). Bed-and-breakfast establishments may be established in shall be limited to existing homes or homes permitted under the South Livermore Valley Area Plan; ,or may be located in construction of separate additional structures located within the allowable building envelope(s) onsite. shall not be permitted. No more than twenty-five (25) Bed-and-Breakfast establishments or similar establishments shall be permitted in the Cultivated Agriculture Overlay District. The County shall require that proponents of new commercial development in rural areas show, to the satisfaction of the County and Zone 7, that development can be adequately served by a septic system and that adequate water supplies are available for commercial needs.


Staff also proposes to amend the Alameda County Code of Ordinances, Title 17 - Zoning, Section 17.30, Article VII, Combining CA (Cultivated Agriculture) Districts by modification of Section 17.30.170(F)(2)(a), Conditional uses—Board of zoning adjustments, Paragraph I, as follows:

"In addition to the conditional uses in the A (agricultural) district with which it is combined, the following are conditional uses in the CA combining district and shall be permitted only if approved by the board of zoning adjustments as provided in Section 17.54.130:

a. Bed and breakfast establishment, if conducted within an existing or permitted dwelling: maximum of fourteen (14) rooms available for guests;

b. Restaurant, with seated service only, and a maximum of forty-nine (49) permanent indoor seats, that features agricultural products of the South Livermore Valley Area…"

Reason for Proposed Changes:

Since adoption of the SLVAP, only one B&B has become established in the SLVA. Few other proposals have been received, and none have been constructed. All other current motels, hotels, inns and other commercial lodging establishments are located near the I-580 freeway, several miles north of the SLVA.

There is a desire and demand for at least a small number of additional B&B Establishments in the South Livermore Valley Area, but the feeling among Staff and the SLVA community is that current General Plan Policy and Zoning Regulations may be so restrictive as to discourage B&B proposals, which would otherwise be seen as a worthwhile amenity in the area.

Therefore, Staff proposes some relatively minor revisions to applicable policies of the East County Area Plan and Zoning Ordinance to accommodate a slightly wider range of options for proponents of B&B Establishments. In fashioning the policy and ordinance amendments, Staff considered the economic viability of small inns depending on size, the relative minimum of suitable existing housing stock in the SLVA, the objectives of the SLVAP policies, and the desire of the SLVA community to enhance opportunities for visitor access through overnight accommodations. Staff drafted changes to allow new, stand-alone single-purpose structures for B&B facilities of 20,000 square feet, or 0.01 FAR, whichever is larger, along with an associated restaurant, as long as the structures and use areas are located on the mandatory 2-acre / 10% building site and the remaining 90% is left for cultivated agriculture.

Also, to allow market conditions to determine the frequency with which applications could be approved with a limit of 25 total establishments areawide; and to focus strictly on the South Livermore Area and its viticultural character.

These issues are covered in substantial detail in the documents linked below.

  1. East County Area Plan, 2000 (contains SLVA Policies)
  2. South Livermore Valley Area Plan Draft EIR, June 1992
  3. South Livermore Valley Area Plan Final EIR, November 1992
  4. Addendum to South Livermore Valley Area Plan EIR for Draft Revised Policies related to Bed and Breakfast Establishments, March 2019
  5. Figure 1, Map, from the Addendum (No. 3)
  6. Staff Analysis, Alameda County Planning Commission, April 1. 2019
  7. Notice of April 1, 2019 Planning Commission Hearing