The Solvang Chamber of Commerce advocates for businesses and supports issues that affect the business community.
The following is a column by Michael Larner, owner of Larner Winery & Vineyard.
These publicly attended meetings comprised of stakeholders on every side of the various issues that face wineries, leaving many wondering what is the next step. County staff has indicated it will release a draft of the revised ordinance in early June. During the initial outreach meetings earlier this year the wine industry shared much of its concern regarding further regulation within the land use code, leaving many industry leaders convinced that educational outreach is necessary for both valley residents and County staff members. Various regional wine marketing associations and tourist-based associations have sent delegates to preliminary meetings with the Central Coast Wine Grape Growers Association in attempts to create a permanent Wine Industry Task Force. The function of this Task Force is to be focused on three areas;
1) Educating the public as to the needs and necessary business components (wineries, tasting rooms, and events) ensuring economically viability
2) Drafting language to aid the County staff in crafting any revisions to the current Winery Ordinance and land use code, and
3) Electing members to that Task Force to serve as a permanent community resource to ensure that both the Santa Barbara County’s wine industry and its residents are both represented and protected in the future. Since this ordinance review is a countywide effort, all business within its borders, even within city limits will experience some sort of impact, the likes of which has not been fully understood. As with all countywide land use policy changes it is in the best interest for everyone to familiarize themselves with these endeavors.