Bill Swindell, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
After years of wrangling, Sonoma County officials are moving forward this week with a measure that will spell out what wineries can and can’t do when it comes to hosting events.
It’s the latest chapter in a long debate that has pitted the politically powerful sector against local activists and residents who say an influx of tourists is threatening their quality of life with traffic congestion and noise.
The county’s Planning Commission will hold a Thursday meeting in which the panel intends to vote on a draft ordinance that has been crafted by staff.
Planning officials searched for a middle ground between the interests of a main economic driver in the county against mobilized community groups in the areas of Sonoma Valley, Westside Road and Dry Creek Valley where the issue has become a flash point. Permit Sonoma held a virtual forum in February to solicit suggestions from stakeholders and their input went into the document.
The ordinance would set new standards for winery events, spelling out rules covering parking and traffic management; food service; event coordination with neighbors; and noise.