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Released by: Permit Sonoma
For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Planning Commission to Hear Draft Winery Events Ordinance

Santa Rosa, CA  –  May 18, 2021  –  Permit Sonoma has published Sonoma County’s first draft Winery Events Ordinance, which would set new standards for winery events like parking requirements, food service, event coordination, traffic management, and noise standards to address the impact of winery visitor-serving uses on agricultural land. 

“The wine industry plays a critical role in Sonoma’s economy,” said Tennis Wick, Director of Permit Sonoma. “We are proud to work with the industry and neighbors to develop regulations which balance winery needs while protecting our rural communities and agriculture.”

The standards will provide a baseline for how the County balances preservation of agricultural areas with sustainable development of wine industry events when evaluating individual projects and their impacts. Permit Sonoma will utilize these standards when considering new and modified use permit applications for winery visitor-serving uses. The draft Ordinance provides consistency and clarity to the use permit evaluation process, reduces impacts to surrounding properties, protects agricultural lands, and preserves rural character. 

This draft is the culmination of years of outreach and engagement with stakeholders and communities across the county. In addition to noise and traffic studies, the ordinance is informed by community input received during numerous stakeholder meetings and community workshops, including a 195-person public workshop on February 18. Additionally, Permit Sonoma has worked with three areas with a concentration of visitor-serving wineries in Sonoma Valley, Westside Road and Dry Creek Valley to establish supplemental local guidelines for their respective communities.

Staff will present the draft to the Planning Commission at a virtual public hearing on June 3 at 1:50 p.m. The Planning Commission public hearing will be conducted via videoconference. Members of the public may watch, listen and participate in the hearing through Zoom or by phone. Additionally, written comments can be submitted through May 28, by 5:00 p.m. via email at PRMD-WineryEvents@sonoma-county.org

After the Planning Commission Hearing, staff expects to present a final draft Winery Events Ordinance to the Board of Supervisors for approval on August 17.

The draft Ordinance is posted on the Winery Events website: www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/WineryEvents

The agenda for the virtual Planning Commission hearing and project staff report will be posted one week before the hearing on the Planning Commission calendar. https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Planning-Commission/Calendar/Planning-Commission-Meeting-June-3-2021/

For more information about the public hearing, to submit comments, or to review project files digitally, members of the public can send an email to PRMD-WineryEvents@sonoma-county.org, call (707) 565-1900, option 5, or visit the project website: www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/WineryEvents

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Contact Information

Bradley Dunn
Policy Manager
County of Sonoma
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