SodaCanyonRoad | Winery Protection Advisory Committee

Winery Protection Advisory Committee
Bill Hocker | Mar 1, 2016 on: APAC

NVR 3/2/16: Supervisors hone proposed winery rules

Planning Director Morrison has presented the final 4 "APAC" recommendations, sort-of based on a process that played out through the past year, first in the 10 APAC meetings which laboriously watered down planning department efforts to curb the growth of wine tourism venues, then in the meetings of the Planning Commission that attempted to put some meat back into the recommendations, and finally at the previous BOS meeting which seemed to question many of the recommendations - resulting finally in this set of recommendations which seem to be principally about making sure that the wine industry is not impacted by any new regulations, whenever those new regulations arrive. It is a manipulation of the recommendations by the Board and the wine industry that leaves completely unaddressed the discontent with the growth of tourism event centers and the morphing of a wine industry into an entertainment industry that led to last year's Mar. 10th joint BOS/PC meeting and the creation of APAC.

Recommendation 4
Self certification process. The discussion about compliance which grew out of the recognition that many wineries have long been operating beyond the limits of their use permits, has now become an official process to permit those illegal uses and to make sure that the vested rights that winery owners feel they have under the complex histories of their use permits are "put into writing" to guarantee no one will mess with them in the future. To the extent that this results in one definitive use permit for each winery in the county, hopefully in a consistent format that can be easily downloaded, it will be a step forward. To the extent that the new permit will entitle not the originally permitted conditions, but the expansions of production and visitation beyond the original limits that wineries are now engaging in, it will be a gigantic step backward.

Recommendation 5
The original recommendation was to limit the development of area on a property to 20% (and no more than 8 acres) for all types of development, wineries and homes included. This was a good proposal.

Now no changes for wineries from the status quo, i.e. 25% of the property, but a new process is recommended to limit the amount of area a house can occupy. Meaning that a house and winery may occupy considerably more than 25% of the property.

Recommendation 6
The original recommendation was to include outdoor areas and type 3 caves in the calculation of the allowed 40% hospitality area. Now only paved outdoor areas are counted. Permeable surfaces used for tourist events are not counted. Caves used for tourist events are not counted. Expect a lot of permeable paving stone patios in the future.

Recommendation 9
The original recommendation was to make sure that new regulations would only apply to new wineries. Now this recommendation has in addition become another vehicle to reaffirm the vested rights of pre WDO wineries and "declares that the conforming structures and uses of [all] legally established wineries are rights that cannot be rescinded, revoked, or traded away without due process"

These changes all smack of the wine industry horse trading with the Supervisors removed from the prying eyes of the public. The Supervisors have done their due diligence letting their voters vent about their diminishing quality of life - now it's time to get back to the business of growth.