There Goes the Neighborhood

Under the current county winery ordinance if your neighbor has a vineyard on five, ten, 20 acres or more he or she can build a winery: wine production, tasting room, events, amplified music, etc. I am not anti-wines and wineries, but I believe they need to either be in a commercial or industrial zoned area or possibly be allowed on larger properties in areas where their impacts on neighboring properties are of no significance.

Country living often includes a big backyard. When I say I am opposed to having a winery in my backyard I am talking about a winery going in 400’ from our home. The vines are about 50’ away. I have a question for [rural residents of the Santa Ynez Valley]: How many wineries could be built in your peaceful, bucolic and enjoyable neck of the woods? If you want to save our valley and your neighborhood you may want to be part of the processthat will update our Winery Ordinance.

Living in the country on property that is zoned for agriculture we expect the noise that goes with it. We are adjusting to living with the noise of the harvesting and farming of grapes. We are hoping that there will be no night harvests – none so far. We country folk know how sound carries. We already hear music from the nearest wineries. We and our neighbors have stated our concerns regarding a proposed winery’s potential to affect our enjoyment of our backyards.

If you think it can’t happen to you, because your road(s) can’t handle it, think again. The proposed winery next to us has an entrance that is approximately 10 seconds/a few car lengths from the intersection of Highway 154 at Roblar Avenue/Roblar at N Refugio Road . The latest accident at this intersection was Friday night 10/26. My sister heard it from her yard. I hate to belabor a point, but I will. The folks driving to and from wineries will be tasting wine and there is a potential for impaired drivers to be driving to and from wineries. We have stated very emphatically the hazards, but we seem to be insignificant.

Keep in mind that once a project is approved and built if the owner does not comply with noise, traffic, special events, “organized gatherings” and other conditions of use we as neighbors only recourse is to file a complaint. In our situation we can’t give the property owner a shout, because he isn’t there.

Our right to enjoy our homes and to be able to travel somewhat safely to and from them will be lost. Buildings will obstruct our views. The value of the adjoining properties going down adds insult to injury. It is as if our homes will be moved from our peaceful place and plunked down next door to a commercial/industrial enterprise.

Let’s keep the country in our country.

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