126 1st St W
Sonoma, CA 95476
The proliferation of public wine tasting venues and events on agricultural land has provoked substantial backlash in both Sonoma Valley and Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Road area over the past few years. Some larger wine facility proposals have also drawn substantial neighborhood opposition.
The hot-button issue of winery events will be discussed by the Sonoma Valley Citizen’s Advisory Commission in a public workshop at the Sonoma Veterans Center on Jan. 27. The issue has been discussed by a working group for most of the past year. The first workshop was held last November and supporters of Preserve Rural Sonoma County packed the hall. We need another big showing at this event to show the industry and the Permit Department that neighbors are concerned and want stricter zoning standards!
The working group, consisting of industry and private representatives, heard wineries say that there is a need for event and promotional activities. However, there are neighborhood compatibility concerns, potential impacts from noise, traffic and water use, and more profound issues involved in commercialization of agricultural lands that impact the rural character of Sonoma County.
Some of the points of concern identified include possible limits on sites, setbacks, limits on tasting rooms, tasting room hours, allowing food service, what kinds of promotional activities should be allowed, third-party rentals, parking, and just how the county can monitor and enforce any regulations it imposes.
Input from both workshops will be analyzed and a series of suggested actions will be acted on by the county’s Planning Commission and later the Board of Supervisors this spring for possible action.
The public is invited to join in the discussion. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First Street West, Sonoma. Get there early if you want a seat.
You can learn more about the county’s inquiry into winery events here at www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/wineryevents/.
Image: The Drunkenness of Noah by Giovanni Bellini (1515)