Bill Hocker | Feb 1, 2015
I have lamented time and again here that tourism is not agriculture but that the two are homogenized in the WDO solely to the benefit of tourism developers who cloak their attractions in the guise of making wine. A simple solution: separate use permits for wineries from those of visitation. My suggestion to insure that wineries are being built to produce wine and that visitation is the incidental and subordinate activity that the WDO portrays it as:
1. visitation permit may be applied for 5 years after winery construction or expansion.
2. visitation permit to be renewed every 5 years - a temporary permit not part of the land entitlement.
3. non compliance will revoke visitation permit.
This system would give neighbors the opportunity to evaluate how good a neighbor a particular operator has been. It would also insure that permits are not being obtained by developers solely to make resale of the property more profitable. It would also dilute the effect of giving permits to good stewards who's heirs may sell to bad stewards.