Woodinville Weekly
June 20, 2017

County study recommends zoning changes for wineries, and draws fire from small-agriculture proponents

A wine industry study commissioned by King County recommends that the wineries, breweries, distilleries and tasting rooms be permitted on some parcels of Sammamish Valley land zoned for rural uses.

The study recommends two pilot projects that would allow the businesses along 140th Place NE, 148th Avenue NE and the Woodinville-Redmond Road, on the eastern edge of land currently zoned as rural that borders the 1,100-acre Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District (APD).

One of the pilot projects would allow up to 10 standalone tasting rooms in the area; The other would authorize winery, brewery and distillery operations that would be allowed to hold events without a special-use permit from the county.

The recommendations quickly drew criticism from the Woodinville-based Sammamish Valley Alliance, a Woodinville-based non-profit organization that focuses on increasing public knowledge of local, sustainable, small-farm agriculture.

In a letter to the county responding to the study, the alliance said the greatest threat to the APD is lax code enforcement on nearby rural lands, and that allowing the new commercial action will worsen the threat.

“Land speculation will always occur, but firm code enforcement slows speculative purchases,” the alliance said. “Allowing commercial use of rural lands that were so designated as a buffer to the APD is not acting to protect the APD.”

The Sammamish Valley Wine and Beverage Study was commissioned by the county in the spring of 2016 and conducted by Community Attributes Inc., a Seattle consulting firm. Among its goals is to nurture the wine, brewery and spirits industry, while complying with the state Growth Management Act and the policies of the county’s Comprehensive Plan>>>Read the entire article on the Woodinville Weekly