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New wine controversy fermenting

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Another wine-related controversy will greet members of the Sonoma Planning Commission when they meet Thursday.

The Cottage Inn and Spa, a bed and breakfast and vacation rental at 310 First St. E., has applied for a Type 67 ABC license. This is a special permit that would allow them to sell bottles of wine to registered guests on their premises, if allowed by local laws.

Joe Costello and Jon Diederich, members of North of the Mission Neighborhood Association, are opposed to the request because the lodging is in a residential zone, and they have asked the commission to overturn the staff’s decision to allow what they consider a retail use.

“We continue to believe that the retail sale of wine or other alcoholic beverages to guests is not permitted in an R-M zoning district, nor do the B&B’s conditional use permits allow such sales,” said Diederich.

“Further, we now believe that the bed and breakfast inn is a nonconforming use in a residential-medium density zoning district, and the sale of wine or other alcoholic beverages to guests are additional uses which are not now allowed,” he said in his statement to the commission.

Three other inns currently have Type 67 permits from the ABC – Inn at Sonoma on Broadway, Cinnamon Bear Creekside Inn on Sonoma Highway, and Hidden Oak at 214 E. Napa St. The latter is in a residential zone.

Also on the agenda will be a discussion about the city’s tree ordinance and how to better protect trees that are supposed to be retained in new developments.

The commission meets at 6:30 p.m., May 8, in the Community Room at 177 First St. W.