Excerpt: “If Permit Sonoma staff had to wear emblems identifying their sponsors, like NASCAR drivers, we’d know why, out of the blue, the Planning Commission recommendations are being revised.”
RE: Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan
March 7, 2023
California Coastal Commission: NorthCentralCoast@coastal.ca.gov
RE: Adoption of Local Coastal Plan
Wine and Water Watch is a local organization of over 250 citizens concerned with over-development of the wine/tourism industry, promotion of ethical land use, climate change action, conservation of our water resources and social justice issues. We have been working for years to ban synthetic pesticides from our vineyards and public spaces. We work to create a healthy and vibrant world for future generations.
Wine & Water Watch has been researching and working on the Local Coastal Plan for almost 8 years now with the Save the Sonoma Coast coalition. The recent policy revisions recommended to the Board of Supervisors by Permit Sonoma inserts language allowing objectionable creep of big business interests over coastal protections. We urge you to approve the original Planning Commission policies which are more acceptable to the California Coastal Commission and residents of Sonoma County.
While the Planning Commission recommendations are in the right direction, many issues and loopholes remain. WWW never expected to get policies we advocated for in full. But we at least hoped for some language protecting the coast against destructive business practices that no longer serve us as a species in the setting of climate change. We substantiated our views with valid research/science that was CURRENT and our letters are part of the public record, as is our work for Save the Sonoma Coast.
We are hugely disappointed in the timber section. The mitigations are laughable. Wording should ban exploitative activities, as there can be no good outcome from development of the coastal zone. Vineyards and pesticides should have been permanently banned on this fragile land. Vacation rentals that have been seriously curtailed in all the other counties’ LCPs continue to exacerbate the housing crisis, causing workers to travel longer and longer distances and creating ever more traffic.
Visitors primarily come to our coast to revel in the beauty and outdoor activities available. If Permit Sonoma staff had to wear emblems identifying their sponsors, like NASCAR drivers, we’d know why, out of the blue, the Planning Commission recommendations are being revised. WWW is concerned and watching to make sure this multi-generational document does what was intended by the Coastal Act–protecting our water- scarce, highly fragile coast.
We urge all Sonoma County Supervisors to vote to adopt the Planning Commission policies and recommendations. Let’s finish this up.
Wine & Water Watch Board