Westside Road reaches tipping point for residents. Ramey Winery massive expansion panned

Don’t be fooled by Ramey, they are a huge company owning 10 wineries in Napa and Sonoma. This is a huge expansion on an already max peak road that is narrow, winding and unsafe. Be aware the slippery slope that PRMD is promoting: “They are revisiting vacation rentals rules on LIA ag land and want to increase  greater intensity of use at a Nov 2nd Planning Commission meeting.  If approved, it would change things, including turning  winery marketing accommodations into legal vacation rental units. We need more vacation rentals like a hole in the head. Also on Ramey’s wish list is multiple VIP lounges, trucked in grapes, multiple commercial kitchens. Really are they serious or just asking for so much when they will settle for less which is what the strategy has been for alot of these massive winery expansions.

 NEIGHBORS SPEAK OUT

One of the county community’s growing concerns has been the increasing impacts of wineries and their “incidental” uses.  Below is an email from a neighbor regarding the impacts of the Ramey Winery application in her neighborhood.

I received an email yesterday from the Sonoma County Planning Department (PRMD).  They are revisiting vacation rentals rules on LIA ag land and want to increase  greater intensity of use at a Nov 2nd Planning Commission meeting.  If approved, it would change things, including turning  winery marketing accommodations into legal vacation rental units. (See PLP 16…2017 attached)

But first this….

On Sept. 21st the Planning Commission will consider the Ramey Winery project at 7097 Westside Road (Westside Farms)

I hope we all can find the time and energy to attend yet ONE more project hearing, get the word out about what I think is a overly ambitious  winery project  for our neighborhood.

I am attaching a flyer  (7097 Westside PDF attached). Your attendance on Sept 21st would be greatly appreciated. Written comments to the Commissioners also appreciated if so inclined.

This project is big –  60K cases, (the average winery approval here in the last 10 years was 17.5K cases), project on both sides of Westside Road, location of large buildings on the east side are within the Scenic Corridor, 3 commercial kitchens, 4 tasting rooms, large cave,  24 events, some in the walnut grove up to 300 with a amplified voice system on the east side, winemaker dinners in the winery on the west side with public parking on the east side,  the need to  truck 720 tons of grapes to the site (on site vineyard can produce around 25% of proposed production.) The winery currently produces their award winning wines in town one mile from Hwy 101.

 If the Planning Commission approves the ” marketing guest suites” in the baling barn on Sept 21st and then approves the changes to vacation rentals on ag land on Nov 2nd; the baling barn morphs into to a legal  two bedroom, two bath, kitchen & living room vacation rental with amplified music allowed.

A winery/tasting room site that straddles  Westside Road would absolutely have people walking across it for various reasons both day and night. Yikes! The safety, rural, physical & visual character of that stretch would significantly change – modern building added, old buildings converted with modern finishes,  21 trees cut down, hard surfaces increased,  the embankment on the west side approach from town would require significant grading down for minimum sight distance requirements, short site distances in both directions,  a six foot high cement wall  portion on the southern side, catwalk high between buildings on east side. Usually, winery projects are back off the road, one side or the other….. this one would have the road running through  it!

Comments recorded by staff taken from the Design Review Committee hearing include: “new winery building is so completely divergent from the historic nature of the Hop Kiln, etc. Completely modern office type structure out in the rural area. Not the appropriate aesthetic for this location”

The Planning Commission denied the last tasting room project last month at 4075 Westside citing the lot was too small and because it would be the 3rd tasting room within 1/2 mile. 🙂

The Ramey site has winery/tasting rooms on three sides of it- two on the west side and one on the east side. If approved, Ramey Winery  would be the fourth winery/tasting room within 1/4 mile. It also would create a concentration of 3 wineries in a row — Arista,  Ramey, and William Selyem, Gracianna  tasting room is across the driveway from Arista and abuts the project on the east side.

If you are interested in receiving the Mitigated Negative Dec I would be happy to send the PDF. Staff is recommending approval of this project.  I also have PDF’s of the technical studies.

We can always add wineries, but as our neighborhood loses its rural feel and we lose our sense of well being, it’s gone…. forever. 

Nancy

 

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