Sonoma County grapples with wine industry growth

Sonoma County grapples with wine industry growth

From our friends at the Sierra Club:

Sonoma Group sent a letter to the County Board of Supervisors April 18 urging them to finish and implement an ordinance to curb the rush of winery tasting rooms and events that are having a deleterious effect on many aspects of living in the county.

The letter requests that the supervisors direct Permit Sonoma, the county’s permit and resource management department, which deals with all and use permits and development in the unincorporated county area, to complete the Winery Event Ordinance. The ordinance was launched with a series of well-attended public workshops and hearings in October 2016 and slated for adoption six months later. However, the ordinance was not completed while in the meantime much more winery and event development has occurred.

“We understand that the county is focused on processing permits in areas devastated by October’s fires and creating a new agency to help expedite the rebuild. Yet now that we are out of the immediate crisis, it is essential that we return to solving the ongoing issues that continue to challenge our county,” Sonoma Group executive committee members wrote in the letter.

Supervisor Linda Hopkins responded to the letter saying the board will revisit the ordinance during the first quarter of 2019.

In the meantime, Napa is readying to vote on a watershed-protection ballot measure in June and wrestling with the environmental and quality of life consequences of having unfettered wine industry growth for decades.