The file on this project is good. I think that they have met the threshold supporting the need for an EIR – under CEQA. Their attorney is the best.
Thank you for this update. You clearly and succinctly explained this issue and in an objective justice system would prevail. We will see.
Subject: Pelton House Winery Use Permit, Knights Valley, Sonoma County
On March 24, 2009 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MDN), and formally approved the Pelton House winery development proposed by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke in an Ag preserve in Knights Valley.
In response a Petition of Writ was filed on April 22, 2009 in Sonoma County Superior Court in order to petition the court to set aside the County’s adoption of the Mitigated Negative Declaration, and to rule in favor of the public trust by ordering that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be done for this project.
This legal action 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. The suit maintains 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 effects on the environment and the biological resources of Knights Valley.
The approved project is now 3 times larger than originally proposed, and is essentially two developments with two separate buildings that 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 built as approved, would be precedent-setting for Knights Valley. The project’s more intensive land use will impact this valley’s over-allocated water supply and thus, impact sensitive riparian communities. The applicant currently uses water from YellowJacket Creek for on-going activities on the property, and as documented has in the past turned off the flow causing fish kills in waterways used by Coho and steelhead.
By continuing our work together we will be successful in changing the outcome of projects like the Dutra Asphalt Plant and the Pelton House Winery.
Thank you for your interest and participation. Craig Enyart