WWW would add, events cause climate change producing greenhouse gases. Why does the County ignore this? We need a county wide cumulative impact report on all winery activities.
ACTION ALERT – PLEASE PLAN to ATTEND BOARD OF SUPERVISORS BRIEFING ON WINERY ORDINANCE
March 17, 2020 @ 8:30 AM, at 575 Administrative Drive Room 100A
ACT: Board of Supervisors (BOS) March 17 Meeting @ 8:30 Supervisors chambers
County-wide Winery Event Ordinance and Local Area Guidelines for winery events and all hospitality uses.
Please attend this important BOS briefing by Permit Sonoma seeking policy direction from the BOS.
Email Supervisors requesting effective and enforceable standards for tasting rooms and events in our agricultural and resource zoned areas.
Our requests to the Board to Supervisors
1.Support Permit Sonoma recommendations to complete both an Ordinance and Guidelines, adopted at the same time. Request adoption prior to Fall 2020.
Sonoma County residents have waited five years for completion of regulations for winery events in rural areas, and further delays are not reasonable.
Ordinance and Guidelines should be done before this fire season to ensure no further delays.
Previous Board action in October 2016 direct staff to develop guidelines and/or ordinance for adoption, and the public expects them to be adopted to be used by County officials to inform Applicants in order to be effective.
Guidelines not adopted by the County officials as advisory recommendations add time, cost and confusion to the Application process.
2. Ordinance and Guidelines must have observable and enforceable standards to protect rural areas from over-concentration of visitor serving and hospitality uses.
Current County practices have many specific standards that need to be memorized in the Ordinance and Guidelines
General Plan policies and Guidelines with general standards are ineffective at driving development decisions (protections for rural character need to be reflected in specific standards such as number, location, scale of facilities)
3. Any expansion of entitlements for hospitality and visitation at wineries and tasting rooms must have full CEQA environmental review including evaluation of cumulative impacts.
Wine industry officials have been pushing for over 6 years for a significant expansion of entitlements visitor serving uses in ag areas. The County has consistently identified and limited such uses in its regulations. If the County is considering any policies that expand such uses, a full CEQA review is required.
Guidelines in Areas of Concentration need to be more protective that current County practices for regulating visitor serving uses.
The Ordinance needs to address the cumulative impact across the County from previous and potential land use decisions
4. Early input from the local community on new or modified use permit applications is critical, and all community members must have an equal voice in making advisory recommendations to County officials. Advisory committees stacked with wine industry representatives that have a veto over any recommendations stifle community input.
In 2014, Community groups requested the County develop effective and enforceable standards to manage the development of tasting rooms and hospitality activities in agricultural and rural areas. Now, after five years, the County is poised to implement such standards.
Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek, and Westside areas have requested definitive standards to address concerns with over concentration of tasting rooms and events in their areas.
In 2015 the County formed the winery working group to develop policy options. And, in 2016, the Supervisors directed planning staff to prepare specific standards for Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek and Westside areas for adoption. In 2017 work was suspended when wildfires ravaged the County. In 2019 stakeholder groups were reconvened and the effort appears to be back on track.
Key Points – Winery Event Ordinance Policy Options
Cumulative Impacts deters tourists and reduces our quality of life: Require CEQA review:
(BZA/ Planning Commissioners and Supervisors), should represent and protect all Sonoma County citizens, not just the wine industry.