|Bill Hocker - Nov 29, 2018 11:25AM |
Mr. Caloyannidis has sent along these more specific comments:
Below I distill the main issues with the proposed Winery Compliance Resolution.
1) It increases the discretionary power of the PBES Director (Morrison) to determine which of the violating wineries' applications require a public hearing and which do not. If he decides they do not, he grants new use permits. This limits public comment at the Planning Commission level.
2) It gives a penalty pass towards new winery use permits which recognize their violations if they submit a "substantially conforming" application by March 29, 2019. But the deadline can be extended for "extenuating circumstances" for up to 120 days but that can again be extended for extenuating circumstances, both at the "Director's sole discretion".
3) It also grants these violators the right to apply for additional increases in use permits over and above the violation ones.
4) Such ministerial approvals will be almost impossible to appeal to the BoS because the public will have to rely on the County website postings in order to submit a comment in order to acquire legal standing for an appeal.
5) The only penalty wineries which miss that (flexible) deadline will be to undergo CEQA under the original use permit baseline (which they need to consent to) and be required to operate for one year under their original use permit.
6) There are no provisions of how repeat offenders will be handled.
7) No provisions on how wineries who do not apply at all will be handled.
8) No provisions for a County auditing program so as to prevent violators in the future.
9) While these wineries will be required to submit annual reports on production, they are not required to do so for their marketing activities.
The more general concerns at issue here are:
1) According to the last winery audit in 2013, 40% of all audited wineries were out of compliance. We have about 500 wineries now.
2) The proliferation of use permit violators on traffic, visitations, events, production has had profound impacts throughout the valley in terms of advancing these increases without mitigations by escaping CEQA review. As per recent court rulings, the CEQA baseline on applications must recognize existing conditions even if they have been caused by unpermitted operations.
3) These illegal increases in winery marketing and production have had deleterious effects on the commercial activities in the cities. The unmitigated increases on traffic have also had an equally negative effect on accessibility and the commercial activities in the cities from American Canyon to Calistoga resulting in store and restaurants closures as they complete in a short labor market and food service.