Judge Blocks “Small” Knights Valley Winery in PD

This no “small” winery.

The expanded winery project that is now set to aside by the court order is
3 times larger (22,700SF) than originally proposed, and is essentially two
developments, with two separate buildings that both could be used for
public tastings and events, something a majority of the residents are in
opposition to.

This expanded project proposes to use water from a new well, while the
surrounding properties’ ground water levels continue to be depleted.
Residents have been forced to dig new and deeper wells to supply on-going
farming and residential needs.

Already Knights Valley property owners have been affected by this
developer’s existing ground and surface water usage. The project is not a
“restoration/reuse” of the property, but rather an entirely new and
expanded use which, if ever built as approved, would be precedent-setting
for Knights Valley. The project’s more intensive land use would impact
this valley’s over-allocated water supply and thus, impact sensitive
riparian communities.

The court order which is supported by local residents, business owners,
ranchers, and growers provides a significant public benefit by protecting
the environment, and by upholding the protections set forth in the Franz
Valley Area Plan, and further shows that the County of Sonoma, as the lead
agency in approving this discretionary decision, failed to uphold the law
under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

At a minimum, the County and the applicant must demonstrate that this
development will have no cumulative impacts, and no negative affects on
the environment nor the biological resources of Knights Valley.

Craig Enyart
Maacama Watershed Alliance