Comments on Draft Winery Ordinance

The Valley Alliance has reviewed and participated in the ongoing regulatory updates to the SB County Winery Ordinance update to ensure “that new regulations address community concerns while balancing environmental, economic and agricultural needs”.

We are satisfied that our concerns have been addressed in the Draft Ordinance Language, as proposed by numerous Santa Ynez Valley neighborhood groups and individuals. While we feel all of the changes are needed, we want to stress a few of the issues addressed in the document that may have been the most egregious examples of over reach by the County and the wine industry:

1. The inadequacy of rural roads for alcohol serving activity. We favor a development standard that is far-thinking and therefore suggest that under #4/Access, item c, 1 through 7, be adopted along with item d, an overlay map of the roads listed under d. We want to be sure this important issue has a solution that will survive beyond the foreseeable future. This is an important issue of safety.

2. Lack of enforcement of the current ordinance has been terrible for the SY Valley . Enforcement must be written into the ordinance in order to be effective.

3. We recommend a minimum parcel size of 40 acres for wine tasting and events. The impact on neighbors are too many and too great on smaller parcels.

4. The original ordinance was based on the principal of making permitting for wineries specific to the wine industry needs as well as the long term comfort and convenience of their neighbors. We feel requiring a CUP for a Tier A winery is inappropriate. A Land Use Permit (LUP) can be revoked as a consequence for not adhering to the Tier A conditions and we feel that is adequate at this level.

5. The draft allows too many events with too many people. There should be no events allowed at Tier A wineries, and two events at Tier B wineries.

6. Noise abatement. The threshold should be set at no more than 50dB at the property line.

7. Hours of operation. Events and tastings should end no later than 5:00 pm.

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