Santa Clara County Supervisors vote on parks and wineries

Parks: on Tuesday, August 21, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to preserve the longstanding policy of using the County Parks Charter Fund only for regional parks and trails of countywide significance. The Board considered a proposal to allow the Fund to be used for small, neighborhood-serving parks, but they ultimately decided to adopt the proposal made by CGF, the Friends of Santa Clara County Parks, Greenbelt Alliance, and many other parks advocates, to instead focus on serving parks-deficient urban unincorporated areas through the provision of parks and trails of countywide significance. We view this as a “win-win” because it both preserves the decades-long County Parks Charter Fund policy, and also proposes a solution for the problem of parks-deficient urban unincorporated neighborhoods.

Wineries: the Supervisors also voted today on proposed changes in winery regulations, deciding to allow wineries to hold unpermitted events of up to 50 people for all wineries, and 100 people for larger wineries who have met certain standards for parking, access roads, buffer zones from neighbors, and environmental health and fire safety. Wineries wanting to hold larger events would be able to apply for permits to do so. The Board also approved other proposed changes concerning commercial kitchens, promotional signs, bed & breakfast inns, and other issues. A contentious issue was that of amplified music; the Board approved an ordinance revision that would require permits for all outdoor amplified music in order to evaluate noise impacts on neighboring residents on a case-by-case basis. The Board adopted nearly exactly the position which CGF supported, only differing on the exception for 100 people at small events if wineries meet certain conditions. We are glad that the Board has struck an appropriate balance between promoting agri-tourism and protecting the environment.

Thanks to all of our members who contacted the Board of Supervisors to express their opinions! The Supervisors commented at the meeting about all the emails they had received — it really does make a difference!

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