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Sonoma City Council tackles tasting rooms

The agenda for Monday night’s City Council meeting includes one of the most contentious issues to hit Sonoma in years: whether, and how much, wine tasting rooms around the Plaza should be regulated.

The discussion – which picks up from a joint session of the council and Planning Commission held on Feb. 24 – will include possible new zoning designations of “wine tasting, limited” and “wine tasting, extended,” as well as other recommendations sent to the council by the Planning Commission. The designations, if adopted, could determine whether tasting room operators would require a use permit.

On one side, local vintners say the current system is working fine without any interference, and that tasting rooms are improving Sonoma for tourists and locals alike. On the other, some residents say the sheer number of tasting rooms is threatening the character of Sonoma’s historic downtown and Plaza.

The council is not set to ratify any regulations for wine tasting rooms at its meeting Monday evening, but rather will likely provide direction for city staff, which in turn will give the council a draft ordinance to be voted on at a later date.

Other issues before the council Monday include following up on a previous bid to alter city ordinances for riding bicycles on sidewalks, consent calendar approval of the pink door at Grandma Linda’s Ice Cream, and a possible letter of support for the Sonoma Stompers minor league baseball team.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday, March 17, in the Community Meeting Room, 177 First St. W.


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