Agricultural Worker Housing and Employee Housing Regulations
On March 1, 2022, the County Board of Supervisors adopted County-initiated amendments to Articles 2, 5, 7, and 8 of the Ventura County Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance which amended existing regulations for agricultural worker housing (which consists of farmworkers and animal caretakers) to facilitate more construction of these units. Updates to the development standards were conducted in consultation with farmworker housing organizations. This amendment was conducted in order to address a program in the County’s 2013-2021 Housing Element.
The Ordinance amended existing requirements for agricultural worker housing, added new housing options and development standards, and simplified the permitting requirements, where possible. The following four housing options are available for agricultural workers, the requirements for which are included in Section 8107-41of the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance:
- Farmworker and Animal Caretaker Dwelling Units, which are standalone dwelling units, similar to Accessory Dwelling Units;
- Farmworker Housing Complexes, which are multiple housing units together in a development like an apartment complex;
- Farmworker Group Quarters, which are dormitory style dwellings with shared sanitation and cooking facilities; and
- Temporary trailers for seasonal and temporary farmworkers and animal caretakers, which is a motor home, travel trailer, truck camper, recreational vehicle, or camping trailer.
In addition, the amendments added a new section (Section 8107-26) in the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance for Employee Housing (which includes housing for agricultural and non-agricultural workers), consistent with State Law to implement the Employee Housing Act (California Health and Safety Code, Section 17000-17062.5), regulated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
The adopted amendments to the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance were effective on March 31, 2022.
Note: See Sections 8175-3.5 and 8175-5.18 of the Coastal Zoning Ordinance here for regulations for farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units within the Coastal Zone,
INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS (Top)
Planning staff is currently in the process of preparing public information materials and updating permitting documents to reflect the new requirements, which will be posted on this page as well as other relevant Planning Division webpages.
Public information Brochures (coming soon)
The public information brochures contain all the permitting and development requirements for all four types of agricultural worker housing listed above. The brochures also contain information on the annual employment verification process that is required of all permanent agricultural worker housing to ensure units are being provided to qualifying farmworkers or animal caretakers. Additional information on the annual employment verification, and the forms necessary to provide annual verification can be found below. Please review the brochures prior to submitting an application for a permit for agricultural worker housing.
Standardized pre-approved plans for farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units
The County has prepared, and is making available to the public, a complete set of standardized plans that can be utilized for the construction of Farmworker or Animal Caretaker Dwelling Units. Utilizing these pre-approved plans will save time and money during the permitting process. The standardized plans are free of charge, and they provide County residents with the option to build Farmworker or Animal Caretaker Dwelling Units on their property using the standardized design, in an affordable manner, without the cost or time that is typically needed for a new design. Generally, they reduce the need to hire an architect, if the plans are used exactly as approved. See this link for more information on the standardized pre-approved plans.
Apply for a Permit (Top)
Section 8107-41 of the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance, and the informational brochures linked above provides the requirements necessary for approval of Agricultural Worker Housing. See the following links for applicable permit applications.
- Ministerial Zoning Clearance- For up to four farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units, if they meet required criteria.
- Discretionary Planned Development Permit- For farmworker housing complexes, farmworker group quarters, and certain farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units which do not meet the requirements in section 8107-41.3.2.
- Limited Term Trailer Permit Zoning Clearance Application
For regulations for farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units that are allowed within the Coastal Zone, see Sections 8175-3.5 and 8175-5.18 of the Coastal Zoning Ordinance here.
Important Note: Permanent farmworker and animal caretaker dwelling units, farmworker housing complexes, and farmworker group quarters must do the following:
- Applicants must record a Deed Restriction prior to the issuance of a Zoning Clearance for construction to
restrict the units for agricultural worker housing; and
- Applicants must provide annual employment verification (see below) for agricultural workers subject to the requirements of Section 8107-41.2.2.
Annual Employment Verification (Top)
All permanent agricultural worker housing (i.e. all housing types except Temporary Trailers) must submit an Annual Employment Verification Declaration to the Planning Division no later than May 15 of every year to verify that all the dwelling units or sleeping quarters in the agricultural worker housing are occupied by persons who meet the employment criteria established in Section 8107-41.2.2 of the Ventura County Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance. The annual verification process ensures that agricultural worker housing is occupied by qualifying employees and provides information to the Planning Division on occupancy of the units.
The annual verification requires that property owners provide the following to verify that tenants meet the required criteria:
- Declare that any permanent agricultural worker housing was occupied by qualifying farmworkers or animal caretakers during the previous calendar year; and
- Declare that any permanent agricultural worker housing will be occupied by qualifying farmworkers or animal caretakers during the current calendar year.
In addition to the criteria listed above, upon request by the County, property owners may be requested to provide proof of employment for tenants of permanent agricultural worker housing in the form of at least two employment documents listed in Section 8107-41.2.2(f).
- Annual Verification Declaration for Farmworker or Animal Caretaker Dwelling Units (online submission form) - Please note the Captcha (4 digits) at the end of the form. Respondents will receive an email confirming successful submission.
- Annual Verification Declaration for Farmworker or Animal Caretaker Dwelling Units (printable PDF form)
- Annual Verification Declaration for Farmworker Housing Complexes and Farmworker Group Quarters (printable PDF form)
Additional detail on the annual verification requirements can be found in the informational brochures linked above and within the verification declaration forms.