Vineyard & Orchard Site Development Ordinance

(previously Vineyard Erosion & Sediment Control Ordinance)

The VESCO ordinance has been in place since ??, updated in 2017. Its purpose is to reduce erosion and sediment from new and replanted vineyards but it is not doing the job. (See photo taken after heavy rains in ??. This vineyard is a few years old, but was definitely put in under VESCO rules.)

Problems that we see with the current VESCO ordinance:

  • VESCO is ministerial, applicants fill out an application and they are guaranteed a permit, unlike the equivalent ordinance in Napa that requires CEQA evaluation and discretionary approval for any vineyard on a slope of over 5% and prohibits vineyards on slopes over 30%??.
  • VESCO currently allows vineyards on up to 50% slopes. Water quality impacts on steeper slopes, more soil loss. Looking for source controls, including 30% slope restrictions, and 15% slope restriction on Gold Ridge and/or highly erodible soils.
  • Riparian zones
  • Roads
  • Tree Removal
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