Vintners Lose Challenge to Ban on Vineyards

A California Court of Appeal upheld denial of a petition by vintners challenging the prohibition on new vineyards within the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone (SMMLCP) in deference to the California Coastal Commission’s finding that viticulture adversely impacts sensitive habitats, water quality, water supply, and scenic resources. (Mountainlands Conservancy, LLC v. California Coastal Commission, No. B287079 (2d Dist., Apr. 1, 2020). 

An excerpt from the report states: “The court pointed to a UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability report, which studied urbanization within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and found that “additional vineyard development has the potential to severely disturb natural areas, which could result in fragmentation and loss of native species.”  

“The court also relied upon administrative testimony from the Commission’s staff ecologist, who opined at the Commission hearing that new vineyards in the LCP area would threaten habitat loss, disrupt wildlife corridors, reduce biodiversity, and impact freshwater resources. Evidence of the economic feasibility of new coastal vineyards, such as federal recognition of the Malibu Coast American Viticulture Area, did not override competing environmental and ecological factors in the view of the Commission or the Court of Appeal.”

Read the article and see the judgment:

The Las Virgenes Homeowners Association gave a tip of the hat and great gratitude to L.A. County’s Third Supervisorial District, and to the California Coastal Commission for prevailing.


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