Letters to the Editor
Traffic fiasco in KenwoodDear Editor,
I just read Christi Warren’s article in this morning’s Press Democrat reporting on the “massive” traffic jam caused by a festival at Sonoma Lavender in Kenwood on Saturday, June 18.
What was not mentioned in her story is the potential for the cumulative impacts caused by the many events permitted (and not permitted) that happen with increasing frequency in the Sonoma Valley, where Highway 12 is our only option. In only a five-mile stretch of our highway, between Melita Road and Deerfield Winery, there are 255 already permitted events. Now Kenwood Vineyards (Pernod Ricard) has submitted a new permit application for 22 events, six industry-wide events, plus seated food and wine pairing in a large facility carved out of the hillside with 50,000 visitors projected annually. Cunningham (Ledson) Winery has applied for 24 special events. VJB has applied for two of the many industry-wide events, as well as expanded hours - until 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays May through October, special dinners and food and wine pairings.
What happened at the lavender festival last weekend needs to be a red flag to county officials regarding the serious consideration that should be given to areas of concentration in the permitting process as the issue of events (at wineries and otherwise) is debated.