EDITOR: In the aftermath of the denial of the Knights Bridge Winery appeal, Sonoma County must already deal with this applicant’s trail of carelessness (“Supervisors back Knights Valley winery,” Aug. 23).
The Knights Valley hillside is scarred with an oversized building labeled as a house — right before our eyes in our scenic corridor — and more building to come. Neighboring properties report their wells have been reduced since the applicant built the 10-bedroom, 10-bath lodge and planted additional vineyards on a property with too many vineyards to begin with. Bidwell Creek restoration efforts taking place nearby are offset by Knights Bridge taking too much water from this already challenged creek.
Recognizing the area’s special nature, the intent of the specific plan governing Knights Valley was preservation and to protect this rural area in the 4th District from this type of commercialism. Responsibility for allowing this tragedy to occur lies in the 5-0 vote.
Rush to judgment
EDITOR: Congratulations to the Sonoma County supervisors for rushing to approve the Knights Bridge Winery project (“Supervisors back Knights Valley winery,” Aug. 23).
Just as our harvest begins, in a year of good rains, our last well is barely recharging. This is the first time it has ever happened so dramatically. We own the property adjacent to the project, and where county policy legally requires surrounding properties’ groundwater be protected when permitting discretionary land use. The developers’ deal in the public hearing for “no net water increase,” when they already pump more than any nearby neighbor, doesn’t hold water.
The supervisors had no qualms approving a project based on consultants working for the developer rather than granting the public the environmental impact report we requested. We met with board members to discuss the multiple new wells for the 10-bedroom, 10-bath estate, swimming pool and guest home, but granting a permit for the proposed winery took precedence.
Our 40 years of experience in the ag preserve growing grapes had no merit or influence, and now our wells have drained. Shame on the county for not representing the people who are the backbone of agriculture in favor of outside money. Is this the way democracy works?
MEREDITH and BILL BLAU