Where can one begin to respond to Stephen Pepe’s mischaracterization of the hearing at the Buellton City Council held on April 26, 2012? And why is this a thing four years later?
It must be an election year.
Just to set the record straight, the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance and others in attendance at the council hearing were there to encourage good long-term planning. The County of Santa Barbara was just starting the process to update the Winery Ordinance first approved in approximately 2002. This is an open process charged with taking into account many differing perspectives. The process looks at how the original ordinance is working and what can be done to make it a better ordinance for the next 10 years, balancing many competing interests but keeping in mind the larger goal of support for this industry.
In 2012, the Valley Alliance, represented by myself and Gail Marshall, believed it was premature for elected officials to take a position on any aspect of the proposed ordinance without understanding how all aspects must work together. We, therefore, encouraged the council members to wait until they had more information to vote.
The final ordinance is still moving forward toward completion. Wineries that are allowed special events will still be able to hold charitable events as part of the proposed ordinance and in compliance with their permit. The number of events any individual winery can hold annually is set out in each individual winery’s permit.
Recently a winery was approved on Santa Rosa Road with 32 special events/gatherings.
It is misleading to say that the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance and other participants at the council meeting are against charitable events.
Stephen Pepe is just another peddler of inaccuracies — are we tired of this yet?
The Santa Ynez Valley Alliance exists to protect the rural character of the valley and support good stewardship of natural and agricultural resources through education, comprehensive planning, and public participation.
Mark Oliver is president of the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance.