Executive Constantine proposed legislation that will modernize regulations to support the region’s wineries, breweries, and distilleries while protecting the environment and rural integrity of unincorporated King County.
Executive Dow Constantine today sent a proposal to the King County Council to support the region’s growing winery, brewery, and distillery small businesses while protecting the natural environment and rural character of unincorporated communities.
The legislation modernizes the regulatory structure for wineries, breweries, and distilleries, establishes a new business license for the industry, and provides clarity on how rules will be enforced. It is based on extensive outreach and engagement with residents, farmers, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and other stakeholders.
“We are modernizing regulations to support our region’s thriving wineries, breweries, and distilleries while protecting the natural environment and rural integrity of unincorporated King County,” said Executive Constantine. “By working together with residents, farmers, and entrepreneurs, we created a plan that will promote vibrant small businesses and preserve historic farmland."
King County’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Review will enforce the new business license to ensure that wineries, breweries, and distilleries do not negatively impact agricultural land and the surrounding residential areas. The staff will produce a toolkit to help businesses navigate the revised permit requirements.
Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Food Safety Division will continue to ensure that wineries, tasting rooms, and breweries adhere to health requirements consistent with all other businesses that serve food and beverages.
"The voters’ decision to preserve the Sammamish Valley for agriculture in the 1970s created one of the great legacies that we all enjoy today," said King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. "Preserving the Valley into the future means protecting farmland while also allowing appropriate economic activity to ensure continuing viability and vitality in the Valley. Alongside farms, wineries and tasting rooms could provide this economic anchor for the Valley, but we must find a balance that allows them to succeed while preserving the incredible agriculture and rural environment. I look forward to working on the Executive's proposal to modernize the land use code and finding a balance that preserves our rural and agricultural areas around the county while supporting the growing adult beverage industry."
"The amendments will improve protections for King County’s working farms while allowing wineries, breweries, and distilleries that add value to locally grown agricultural products," said Tim Trohimovich, Director of Planning and Law at Futurwise.
"As a winery owner, property owner and resident of the Sammamish Valley in Woodinville, I can very much appreciate the efforts by the King County Council and King County Executive Dow Constantine to address the myriad of issues surrounding the winery and tasting room zoning requirements and the impact it has on our area," Greg Lill, President of Cashmere Partners and President Emeritus of DeLille Cellars. For the vast majority of the wineries this clarity is needed and will give a structure on how those businesses can operate in harmony with our residential neighbors to create a dynamic and vibrant wine industry within our county."