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Bottoms Up-Wine & Beverage Study Review

  • Written by David B. Clark
The Woodinville City Council met on Tuesday, July 17. The meeting began with a Special Presentation by King County with their proposed response to the Sammamish Valley Area Wine & Beverage Study. The Special Presentation was given by the External Relations Specialist of the King County Executive Office, Calli Knight. Knight worked with her colleagues to show councilmembers how the Sammamish Valley Area has progressed with both the demand for land and their standards concerning how wine and beverage companies are using it. Karen Wolfe, the Project Manager of the program, explained how initially 60% of producer’s products came from the Puget Sound region. Now, 15 years after the initial proposal, the next step is to have 60% of products used to come straight from the very land itself; “on-site” materials such as grapes, hops, or apples, rather than the numerous other properties scattered across the Puget Sound area.
 
One of the major changes, explained Interim Director Jim Chan, was removing “home” brewery or winery operations. Chan explained how some breweries and wineries had started as small operations in their garage or basement but how they quickly boomed into larger scale operations and were using “loopholes” to get around regulations to keep their businesses as “homes.” Chan said that just because there is a bed in the establishment does not make it a home.
 
Wolfe explained how they have segmented the three types of wineries: Winery 1 being production facilities, while Wineries 2 & 3, larger productions that offer tasting rooms and other operations geared towards hospitality business, being required to hook up to Group-A or other large or City water systems. “We’re being more clear about the size and scale of events,” explained Wolfe. “They have to grow what they produce… they have to grow that product,” finished Wolfe. This makes it so individuals that utilize agricultural land are using it for farming, harvesting, and creating their product rather than housing their product on top of otherwise fruitful properties. The committee also stressed the importance of not allowing parking on agricultural areas.
 
Councilmember Paula Waters commented, “It’s good to have density downtown and not elsewhere.”
 
City Manager Brandon Buchanan recommended that Council appoint a task-specific committee to review all of these new potential standards regarding the new code held before the September 11 meeting. City Council will go on a three-week recess at the end of August through the beginning of September making the September 11 meeting the one to handle this matter.
 
Mayor James Evans made a special announcement. He began, “I want to take a point of personal privilege… tonight is Jennifer Kuhn’s last meeting.” Mayor Evans shared that Kuhn had been with the City of Woodinville since August 2, 1999, originally holding an Administrative Services role before procuring the title of City Clerk in 2006. “She has been an unrelenting advocate for some of the most important parts of city government and those are transparency and city services.” Mayor Evans continued, “It’s always people like [Kuhn] that make the difference… you’ve made the city one-thousand times better.” Mayor Evans presented Kuhn with a plaque before the other councilmembers joined them both in a commemorative photo.
 
City Council then moved to Interview for City Council Candidates. While the other seven hopeful councilmembers opted on next week’s meeting for their interviews, Paul Hagen was the first to grace council. Fielding questions from councilmembers, Hagen explained that he has lived in Woodinville for four-and-a-half years. When asked why he should be chosen for council by councilmember Paula Waters, Hagen said, “I’m passionate about the city of Woodinville… I have three sons. We were looking for a community fit for us.” Hagen’s continued to describe why he was a good fit for the councilmember position when he said, “I really believe in the power of public service. To dedicate oneself to that is vital.” He then spoke how his experience as Dean of Students at a school of over 400 students directly reflected his understanding of truly representing a diverse community. He answered Mayor Evans’ question regarding what compromise means to him with a distinctive sense of understanding and compassion utilizing his background in education with a recent example from his institution.
 
There are seven more interested individuals whom seek to acquire the vacant City Council position. Their interviews will be held at the next City Council meeting Tuesday, July 24. 

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