EDITOR: In 2016, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recognized the need for a definition of “winery events” and for guidelines for areas of the county where wineries and tasting rooms are most concentrated. The board is now scheduled to resume this policy debate in early 2019.
Currently, the county has 467 wineries approved in unincorporated areas. Since 2017, another 19 winery land-use applications have begun working their way through the county’s permitting process, and three have been approved, according to a spokeswoman for the county permit department.
Via a petition by Preserve Rural Sonoma County, we are asking the county not to deny but to simply put on hold any new permit applications until land-use standards and guidelines are in place and an ordinance passed.
With an increasing number of winery events, plus the prospect of cannabis events, it is a dereliction of duty for the county to go forward without strict land-use standards in place. It is the only way to ensure protection of Sonoma County’s rural character and its residents, including resident wildlife.
The time to act is now.