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County’s vineyard vs. forest debate escalates

County’s vineyard vs. forest debate escalates

Supervisors deciding on what types of restrictions needed, if any, for converting timberlands to grapes

Published on August 21, 2005
© 2005- The Press Democrat
byline: Kerry Benefield

[excerpt:] A proposal to place greater restrictions on conversion of forests to vineyards is being called the most-watched issue to come before Sonoma County officials in almost a decade.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider seven options – ranging from no action to an outright ban – on how to address the practice of clear-cutting timberlands and planting grapevines.

Environmentalists contend the practice is becoming increasingly common, but opponents of more government intervention say the practice is limited and any action by the board would be unnecessary and duplicative…

Supervisor Mike Reilly, who in June successfully lobbied the rest of the board to consider the proposal quickly, is backing a plan that would ban conversions unless a public benefit can be established. More people have called, written and e-mailed him on this issue than any other in his nine years on the board, Reilly said…

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