Despite the many fears surrounding the County of Santa Barbara’s ongoing revision of the 10-year-old winery ordinance, only about 20 people showed up to the hearing on Wednesday night to comment on what should be studied in the upcoming environmental report. The event’s total head count included the three county planners running the meeting, two photographers, and at least two reporters.
Of the dozen or so “regular” citizens, only eight issued comments. Five spoke from the perspective of neighbors concerned about the negative impacts of wine industry growth (traffic, drunk driving, and impacts to deer populations were mentioned among other impacts). The three others showed support for the wine industry by criticizing certain definitions (particularly over what constitutes a “winery visitor”) and calling proposed restrictions confusing and onerous.
County planners will now integrate those issues into the scope of the environmental impact report and then begin that study. A draft is expected toward the end of summer, when a new round of hearings will commence.