One-sided winery rules
EDITOR: Your article about event permit rules for wineries failed to expose the redundant, chaotic, mind-boggling process the county has burdened the community with for the past several years (“Clashes over winery event permit rules,” Feb. 20).
The county has repeatedly asked for feedback, from numerous workshops to the winery working group that met monthly in 2015, to county sponsored community advisory councils primarily made up of wine industry reps with self interest as their key agenda.
Community groups have worked constructively with the county for seven years, coming up with a balanced set of guidelines. It’s time to cut bait and create an ordinance that protects public safety and quality of life for residents living in neighborhoods with event centers. The wine industry naturally wants fewer regulations and more entitlements, while the residents want peace of mind, less traffic, less noise and fewer drunken drivers.
Surprisingly, at the workshop, Permit Sonoma staff said the policies would apply to new tasting rooms only. The county is responsible to the entire community when it comes to safety, environmental and quality of life concerns. Turning this process over to industry-dominated committees and lobbyists to promulgate lax regulations is a dereliction of responsibility.
Enough is enough.
Co-chair, Preserve Rural Sonoma County