Supervisor Kuehl Continues Her Attack on Vineyards On November 17th

The Supervisor for the 3rd District is attempting to carry on the legacy of her predecessor, Zev Yaroslavsky, and virtually eliminate all forms of agriculture from the Santa Monica Mountains. She has chosen to attack vineyards because she know it is the preferred crop of land owners in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Earlier this year without sufficient notice, Supervisor Kuehl, deceived her colleagues to thinking that there was an unknown reason for an increase in the number of new vineyard applications. Supervisor Kuehl told the other Supervisors that there was an immediate need to implement an urgency ordinance against vineyards until this could be sorted out.

When the Malibu Coast Vintners and Grape Growers Alliance examined the new vineyard applications with the county representatives we found that increase in applications was a direct result of a meeting that took place in 2014 between the LA County regional planners and the Triunfo Lobo Canyon Home Owners Association in the North Area. At this meeting, which was recorded, the county planners encouraged homeowners to submit their vineyard applications immediately, before the new SEA rules were implemented so they would be “grandfathered” under the more easy to comply with current rules. When we brought this to the Supervisors attention, it fell on deaf ears because it under minded her basis for restricting agricultural development. As of today not one of the existing vineyard applications have been approved by the County and no new vineyard applications have been received by the County. To see the video on YouTube follow this link. Triumph Lobo Home Owners Meeting
If the ordinance is implemented in it’s present form, it will degrade the value of private agricultural property in the Santa Monica Mountains North Area.

There are two onerous provisions that need to be addressed in the ordinance, which if allow to stand will make it virtually impossible to farm a vineyard in the Santa Monica Mountains.

First, the new ordinance will require a land owner to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), which can take up to five years to complete and will cost thousands of dollars in consulting fees and permit fees. Currently, if you want to plant a vineyard or another crop on your AG zoned land, the law only requires a land owner to complete an over the counter application at the regional planning office. This significantly changes the ability of the average landowner to use their agricultural zoned land because only the super rich will be able to afford the new process.

Second, the requirement of permeable fencing will not allow a farmer to defend his crop from predators. This provision was adopted from the recently passed LUP for the Los Angeles County Coastal Zone because the regional planners were not given sufficient time to research the subject and collect expert information. A permeable fence is designed for open space use to allow wildlife such as deer, coyote and such to pass through an open space not a farm. Deer, coyote and other forms of wildlife will eat and destroy the crops if allowed to enter the farmer’s property. We proposed a fencing solution that would allow wildlife to pass around the farm and not destroy the crops but the county rejected our proposal claiming they did not have sufficient time to conduct the research.

We are asking the Supervisors to do the right thing and not approve the ordinance as proposed, but instead delay a decision and give the county planners sufficient time to conduct further research on fencing alternatives and provide the County with a plan that will stand the test of time. LA County tax payers do not need more legal expense defending a poorly written ill-conceived ordinance.

Please call the Supervisors on Monday, November 17th, and request they vote NO on this ill-formed ordinance. Come to the LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday, November 17th and voice your opposition to this poorly written ordinance.

Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor District 3 Phone: 213.974.3333 Email: Sheila@bos.lacounty.gov

Michael D. Antonovich, Supervisor District 5 Phone: 213-974-5555 Email: FifthDistrict@lacbos.org

Don Knabe, Supervisor District 4 Phone: 213.626.6941 Email: Don@bos.lacounty.gov

Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor District 1 Phone: 213.941.4111 E-mail: FirstDistrict@ bos.lacounty.gov

Mark Ridley-Thomas, Supervisor District 1 Phone: 213.974.2222 Email: MarkRidley-Thomas@bos.lacounty.gov

November 17th Hearing Address:
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple St, Room 381B
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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