The pros and cons of revising the Santa Barbara County ordinance governing winery activities will be discussed at a series of five topic-based public meetings from next week through February.

The county Planning and Development Department is hosting the meetings to get public comment about controversial issues that have pitted the local wine industry against neighbors of various wineries who complain about noise and traffic created by “special,” or “winery” events.

The first meeting in the lengthy process of modifying the ordinance was held in August. At some point the issue will come before the county Board of Supervisors, but Chris Henson, administrative aide to 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, has said that won’t be for awhile. 

 

The biggest issue involves special events at rural wineries — how they should be defined and how many should be allowed.

People who are interested in the ordinance revision can participate in three ways, according to the county — comment in person at a meeting, fill out a comment card at the meeting, or send comments by email. Attendance at a meeting isn’t necessary.

Meeting agendas and materials will be posted on the Planning and Development website one week before each meeting, and a reminder email will be sent to all people on the winery ordinance update email list, according to county officials.

For more information, contact Stephanie Stark at ststark@countyofsb.org or call 568-2048.

Meeting schedule:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 4-6 p.m., supervisors’ hearing room, fourth floor, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. The topic to be discussed is tasting rooms, and the agenda was to be made available on Tuesday of this week.
  • Thursday, Dec. 13, time and Santa Ynez Valley location to be determined. The topic will be food service, and the agenda material will be available Dec. 6.
  • Thursday, Jan. 10, 1-3 p.m., Santa Maria Valley location to be determined. The topic will be special events, and the agenda material will be available Jan. 3.
  • Monday, Feb. 11, 1-3 p.m.,  supervisors’ hearing room, fourth floor, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. The topic will be neighborhood compatibility; agenda material will be available Feb. 4.
  • Thursday, Feb. 21, 3-5 p.m., supervisors’ hearing room, fourth floor, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. This meeting will focus on the structure of the winery ordinance, permitting, monitoring and enforcement. Agenda material will be available Feb. 14.
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