Appellate court sides with vintners

The California Appellate Court announced Tuesday that it affirms the lower court’s ruling against the San Diego Citizenry Group’s challenge to the four-tiered county winery ordinance, reported Carolyn Harris, a winery owner and general counsel of the Ramona Valley Winery Association.

The ruling means that, absent an appeal to the California Supreme Court, San Diego County will not need to revisit the environmental impact report that was prepared in advance of the county supervisors’ adoption of the ordinance in August 2010, and the enforceability of the ordinance should remain unchanged, said Harris.

The three-judge panel heard oral arguments June 14 on the citizenry group’s appeal of its 2011 environmental challenge. According to Harris, the panel disagreed with each of the appellants’ arguments that the EIR had an inadequate discussion of mitigation measures, failed to adequately address a measure adopted in 2008 to mitigate boutique wineries’ traffic impacts on private roads, provided insufficient information regarding impacts to water supplies, had a misleading discussion of grading permits, and included an inadequate statement of overriding considerations.

In the appellants’ favor, the judges granted a $6,067.94 credit on the fees they were charged by the county for the cost to transcribe the proceedings of the San Diego County Planning Commission hearings on the winery ordinance.

To read the opinion, visit  

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/D059962.PDF

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