Reasons for Exemption
Permit Sonoma has determined that the project is categorically exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to the Provisions of Title 14 of the California Administrative Code, under Section 15301 (Existing Facility), which provides for negligible expansion of an existing use, Section 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures), which provides for construction of a single-family residence and the conversion of such structures from one use to another where only minor modifications are made to support the use, and Section 15061(b)(3), Common Sense Exemption. The proposed winery will increase the applicant’s current production which occurs offsite from 500 cases to 1,000 cases annually to occur onsite. The proposed project will provide for minor alterations of 1,775 square feet of a single-family residence and construction of a 1,500 square foot crushpad, but does not include new structural development to support the use.
A categorical exemption is appropriate because the evidence supports the conclusion the project will not have a significant impact on local traffic conditions. The proposed project is expected to result in 10 new trips per day over existing conditions. While the proposed project does increase production levels, the increased grape importation would be offset by the reduced grape exportation therefore the total daily trips associated with winery activities would remain relatively unchanged and will not have an impact on local traffic conditions.
Furthermore, Section 15061(b)(3), is appropriate because it can be seen with certainty that the rezone of the project parcel from Rural Residential to Agricultural and Residential will not have an indirect and reasonably foreseeable impact as the zone change will not result in any changes in the site’s land use designation or density. The proposed zone change allows for a negligible increase in permitted and conditionally permitted agricultural uses which is appropriate as the property is presently engaged in agricultural production.
No exceptions listed under CEQA Section 15300.2 apply, including the “unusual circumstances” exception because the evidence in the record supports the conclusion that there is no reasonable possibility the Project will have a significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances. The evidence does not support a finding that an unusual circumstance exists and the traffic analysis did not identify significant effects on the environment.