Open Letter to S.B. County Supervisors:
As a 33-year-old entrepreneur in Santa Barbara County, I am truly in shock by your lack of justice. You have stopped me from opening a gourmet market in Los Olivos, even though everyone who testified at the hearing and the two North County Supervisors all encouraged you to approve it.
To Supervisors Carbajal, Wolf, and, especially my supervisor, Doreen Farr: You claimed your stance was against more access to alcohol in Los Olivos, but, by banning an off-premises license for our proposed gourmet market, you have created yet another tasting room. This will contribute to the “concerns” you voiced at the board meeting, i.e., traffic, accidents, crime, etc. It seems to me and all of the people supporting me at the hearing that it would be in the community’s best interest to have more to-go food options taking up a location in town instead of yet another wine-tasting room.
You were asked by the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) to review strictly the Type 20 license saturation, of which there is only one other brick-and-mortar location, along with a handful of virtual wineries, which only sell over the Internet, called 17/20s. (The state ABC, not the county, regulates Type 2 licenses, which include tasting rooms.) Rather than look at this from an objective and reasonable standpoint, you looked at Los Olivos and all of the other alcohol establishments as a whole, not fulfilling your elected responsibility. Your actions proved to be oppressive and anti-small business. Santa Barbara County is now the first county in California to deny a PCN [Public Convenience or Necessity] determination based on the 17/20 saturation.
Supervisor Farr, You cannot regulate tasting rooms in Los Olivos, so you took advantage of your seat in office to let out your frustrations on my proposed gourmet market. By doing this, you will get exactly what you claim you are so concerned over, the 53rd tasting room in Los Olivos, where consumers can drink on the premises. Los Olivos has you to thank for an additional tasting room that you cannot regulate and the continued lack of business diversity in our community.
It was abundantly clear that your motive was to regulate something within your power, rather than use logic and a fair sense of the law to do what was best for the community, and you coerced supervisors Carbajal and Wolf to vote with you.
Supervisor Farr, Santa Barbara county relies on tourism and small business, and you clearly are not a supporter of these attributes. I am a hardworking, young, successful professional that has now been thwarted by the bureaucracy in this county.
This county should encourage successful young, responsible professionals to build lives in Santa Barbara and become active members of this wonderful community.