Some want winery ordinance corked |

Some want winery ordinance corked

Rural Nevada County neighborhoods could begin looking more like Napa County, with vineyards nestled between residential properties, if a proposed winery ordinance is approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The ordinance would allow rural wineries to open their doors to tourist activities such as retail sales, tours, wine tasting rooms, weddings and other special events. A subcommittee presented the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday with a proposal that supporters say might not be perfect, but is close.

Skeptical neighbors urged the board to consider the impact this type of business activity could have on the safety of rural private roads. Rural county resident Adrienne Winters called into question the safety in having businesses in areas that are not specifically zoned to be a commercial site.

The “land use regulations are clear and precise – to prevent one specific use,” she said.

On the other hand, those in favor of the winery ordinance said they believe that wineries preserve the culture of agriculture that is fundamental to Nevada County life.

“Agriculture needs to be given a lot of leeway because of the benefits they give to this community,” said Margaret Urke, executive director of California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners. One benefit is that it keeps large amounts of land open in a county that is developing quickly, she said.

Others said the leeway given by the ordinance may be too loose.

Helen Zimmerman, a rural county resident, said she felt the proposed ordinance does “not adequately address my concerns. It is complex, confusing, and unenforceable.”

Supervisor Barbara Green said the best way to oversee the growth of commercial vineyards is to review each application to the county on a case-by-case basis.

No final decision on the proposed winery ordinance was made this week. The Nevada County Planning Commission will now review it and can make changes based on public comments. The ordinance must come back to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

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