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San Joaquin County supervisors to vote on winery moratorium

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 9:32 pm

San Joaquin County supervisors will vote next week on a plan to temporarily prohibit wineries from applying to hold events such as concerts and weddings until the county’s new General Plan is adopted.

The vote comes two months after the San Joaquin County Planning Commission voted 3-2 against implementing a one-year moratorium on special events.

On Tuesday, the final decision will rest with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, who masterminded the idea and instructed the Community Development Department to begin formulating the terms of the moratorium with a 3-1 vote in Sept. 2012.

The Community Development Department is currently in the process of revising the existing winery ordinance, which has sparked many debates in the past two years about whether wineries should focus primarily on wine production or marketing events.

Wineries argue that marketing events are a necessary component of wine sales and stimulate the economy by bringing visitors to the county.

“Visit Lodi! does not support a moratorium on winery marketing events,” said Nancy Beckman, CEO of Visit Lodi! “A moratorium is not only unnecessary, but will have a negative impact on the growth of our wine and tourism industry, thus a negative impact on our local economy.”

However, neighbors complain that the events produce excessive noise and create parking issues.

Supervisor Steve Bestolarides, who proposed the moratorium, said it would allow the Community Development Department to focus on revising the ordinance without distraction from wineries requesting to host new marketing events.

“We need to do this comprehensively and in a way that empowers staff to not be processing new applications as the politics are flying out here, and to focus on the work we need to do to get the (ordinance) that we really want,” Bestolarides said during the September meeting.

Supervisor Ken Vogel was the only board member to vote against the moratorium. He believes it will only slow the Community Development Department’s ability to revise the current ordinance.

“I don’t know how exactly (the vote) will play out,” he said. “Like I said before, I want (the new ordinance) to move forward as fast as possible.”

A public hearing session will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on the sixth floor of the San Joaquin County Administration Building prior to the vote. The administration building is located at 44 N. San Joaquin St., Stockton.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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