Moratorium would block
Sonoma County vineyards
Growing unease about a wave of vineyard projects that call for clear-cutting forested hillsides has Sonoma County officials calling for an emergency halt until new regulations are crafted.
| by Kevin McCallum
January 26, 2012
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
. . .
How two large timberland conversion projects already in the pipeline could be affected by new county regulations is unclear. Napa’s Artesa Vineyards wants to develop 151 acres of pinot noir and chardonnay vineyards, while Premier Pacific Vineyards’ “Preservation Ranch” hopes to convert 1,800 of its 20,000 acres to vineyards. . .
The county allows the development of hillside vineyards on slopes up to 50 percent under an erosion control ordinance passed in 2000. The ordinance, known as Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, or VESCO, contains no restrictions on tree removal. . .
Not including guidelines for tree removal in VESCO was an “oversight” because “clearly, tree removal affects erosion,” Linegar said.
It’s not just tree roots that keep hillside soil in place, but the canopy, as well, which slows rain before it hits the ground, Linegar said. . .
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Moratorium would block some
proposed Sonoma County vineyards.