Kudos to the PD for featuring the issues related to overconcentration of winery event centers in the Valley of the Moon. In your featured interview with Steve Ledson of Ledson Winery on Highway 12, Mr. Ledson claims that “ he ardently believes that the traffic generated by too many events threatens the beauty and character of Sonoma Valley,” and that “We should keep focused on the business we’re in. We should be making wine and selling wine, not selling weddings.”
Having witnessed scores of cars parked illegally and unsafely along the right of way on Highway 12 for one of the 24 permitted wedding events that Mr. Ledson hosts, I find his statements above somewhat akin to those “alternative facts” coming out of Washington. A visit to Ledson Winery website shows weddings as the main feature of his castle on the hill. If Mr. Ledson believes what he says, then he will cut back on the 24 weddings with up to 200 guests that are currently permitted at his winery, and will not ask for more events in the application for his new winery down the street; and at least supply adequate safe parking on winery grounds for his guests.
EDITOR: Sonoma County roads are becoming increasingly congested with wine tourism traffic. It was good to see Sunday’s article examining stressed traffic conditions in the Sonoma Valley (“Crowded route hints at valley’s future”). County residents are realizing that the county policy of rubber stamping wine events has created a real danger to quality of life in the county.
The article pointed out that county supervisors are shaping a new event ordinance that currently aims to look at policies regulating over-concentration of tourism events in only three areas: the Sonoma Valley and Westside Road and Dry Creek Valley, both in the Healdsburg area.
Your immediate thought might be like mine: Wait. Aren’t they going to have policies to prevent the creation of wine tourism concentration in other areas?
That is a completely valid concern. It doesn’t make sense to have policies only for the areas that already have a major concentration problem and allow business as usual for all other rural areas.
Please contact your county supervisor to demand policies that prevent tourism event concentration in all rural areas. Otherwise, you are going to see Sonoma Valley traffic problems on a road near you in the not-to-distant future.
Preserve Rural Sonoma County