“Permit Sonoma has approved nearly double the number of winery/tasting rooms as studied in the 2008 General Plan – 500 vs 239 assumed carrying capacity.
From 2000 to 2015 there was a “gold rush” for permits resulting in a 300 % increase from pre-2000 levels.”
Preserve Rural Sonoma County (PRSC) on winery Ordinance hearing May 19th
Attached is the announcement about the upcoming hearing on May 19 – Public notice (May 11th) in the PD. Meeting will be virtual at 8:45… see details in the notice attached.
PRSC has sent this letter below to the Planning Commission, County staff and BOS about what we are advocating for.
Honorable Board of Sonoma County Supervisors, Commissioners and County staff:
PRSC’s Comments on County-wide Winery Event Ordinance and Local Area Guidelines (per Staff Report originally slated for March 17, 2020)
Preserve Rural Sonoma County supports Permit Sonoma’s recommendations to complete and adopt both an ordinance and aligned local area guidelines.
We support the Staff’s recommendation for Option 3: that Permit Sonoma prepare a county wide ordinance, with observable, enforceable definitions, as well as protective siting criteria and standards to prevent new areas of concentration on agricultural or resource zoned land.
We support the adoption of consistent and enforceable protective guidelines to reduce detrimental impacts in our areas of over concentration.
Primary Benefits of Option 3 – Clarity and consistency in defining the types, sizes and intensity of Ag Promotional visitor-serving uses in all Use Permits and Use Permit Modifications creates an even playing field for Applicants: A key to the ordinance plus appended guidelines model is that the two do not contradict one another. Local Area Guidelines will identify where more restrictive criteria and standards should be considered in addressing the cumulative impacts of winery events.
County-wide Definitions and Siting Criteria: The 1989 General Plan, implemented by the 1993 Zoning Code, opened AG land to promotional uses: Both the 1989 and 2008 General Plans were clear: protective policies must be implemented through standards, criteria and definitions written into the Development Code. We are just now – after 31 years – working to implement GP Policy AR – 6G.
In 2015 and again in 2016 PRSC advocated that County-wide definitions for events be observable, enforceable and protective of agriculture and rural character: Yet, many of the definitions currently under consideration do not meet that criteria.
Over Development – New Areas of Concentration – Increased Entitlements: In 2020 we must focus on constructive, not destructive competition: Permit Sonoma has approved nearly double the number of winery/tasting rooms as studied in the 2008 General Plan – 500 vs 239 assumed carrying capacity.
From 2000 to 2015 there was a “gold rush” for permits resulting in a 300 % increase from pre-2000 levels.
It is well known that many of our wineries and tasting rooms are now struggling economically because of the intense competition due to overdevelopment and over-concentration. It’s time to protect our existing wine industry from even more destructive competition, as well as our community from the negative impacts of over-concentration.
Thank you for your consideration.