The winery ordinance in Santa Barbara County is undergoing an update, and local wine industry groups would like a seat at the table to discuss modifications. Last week, Buellton City Council passed a resolution telling the county that they support giving two groups – the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association and the Santa Rita Hills Wine Growers Alliance – a chance to voice their opinions.

Other cities in the County are considering passing similar ordinances. The main concern behind the push for giving winery groups a say in the update is the county’s special event ordinance for wineries. Currently, the ordinance limits the number and size of special events a winery can hold in a year, and defines “special events” broadly. The industry groups are asking that the county exclude from the definition¬†any occasions sponsored by and for the primary benefit of religious, civic, educational, health care and humanitarian organizations, other charities or tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. This would allow the wineries to host community and charitable events without limiting the number of events they could book on their property for a profit.

Opponents of the proposed change, many nearby residents, complain about the noise, traffic and night-time light that they create. They also argue that the events are a commercial use of agricultural property, an argument that has been raised against allowing special events at wineries around the state.

The current Santa Barbara County Ordinances can be accessed on their website. As of now, no specific date is set for the County to consider a new ordinance, although they have noted that any concerned groups or individuals will be allowed to participate in public comment at the Board of Supervisors’ meetings.


1 Comment so far

  1. mary beth kerr on November 14, 2012 7:13 am

    The first meeting is on November 27th in SB.

    At the hearing where the Planning Commission approved the winery project next door to where I live one of the commissioners made a valid point. The noise, traffic, dust and other impacts on the environment and area residents is the same for all events – hence there needs to be a finite number of events. Where there is little impoact there can be more events.

    As a neighbor and a longtime valley resident I will be speaking up for safety, for common sense and a well-rounded, well thought out ordinance that keeps the country in our contry.

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