Planners, council at odds on tasting room rules

A final look at tasting room rules by the Sonoma Planning Commission April 10, turned into an acknowledgement that disagreements still exist between the City Council and the commission.

“To send the same message back to the council, sadly, is a waste of time,” said commissioner Matthew Tippell.

In the end, the commission decided not to comment further on the language for draft amendments to the municipal code, dictated by the City Council March 17, but instead asked for a change to a regulation related to outdoor seating. The new language would require a conditional use permit for outdoor seating only when a new business goes in next to property zoned residential.

Commissioner Robert Felder voted “no,” based on his belief that use permits are not bad and should be in place for all businesses that serve alcohol.

“Every tasting room is allowed to be open until 10 p.m., which I think is far beyond tasting room use by right,” he said. “By staying open until 10 p.m. you are providing patrons with an opportunity to do more than taste. No way can I support this recommendation.”

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