By John Trinidad of Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty
St. Helena’s City Council will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 11 to consider repealing amendments to the Small Winery Ordinance approved just a few weeks ago after a months-long process.
From May – August 2013, the St. Helena Planning Commission held four hearings to consider amending provisions of the St. Helena Municipal Code that govern small wineries, and ultimately recommended that the City Council adopt an ordinance to amend the Municipal Code. The City Council also held a number of hearings starting in September 2013 to consider amendments to the Municipal Code. On December 10, 2013, the Council introduced the proposed amendments, and on January 14, 2014, the Council approved them by a 4-1 vote. The amendments (contained in Ordinance Nos. 2014-1 and 2014-2) were to go into effect 30 days thereafter.
During the Council’s January 28, 2014 meeting, opponents of the Ordinance urged the Council to rescind the Ordinance and stated that they were circulating a referendum petition to place the Ordinance on the November ballot as a referendum item. If the petitioners gathered the required number of signatures, the Ordinance will be suspended pending the outcome of the November vote.
Last week, St. Helena’s interim planning director submitted a staff report recommending that the Council repeal the Ordinance and “reopen the review process to encourage an even broader community involvement and attempt to find new alternatives addressing most if not all concerns of the public.” The Staff Report as well as the amendments approved on January 14, 2014 can be found here: http://www.ci.st-helena.ca.us/sites/default/files/11%20Winery%20Ord.pdf
The City Council meeting is open to the public, and will commence at 6pm at Vintage Hall on the campus of St Helena High School, 465 Main Street. The agenda for the meeting can be found here: http://www.ci.st-helena.ca.us/sites/default/files/2%20Agenda_0.pdf.