Hollywood Hill Association

Tasting Rooms ≠ Wineries

 This discussion is related to properties and businesses in Rural Unincorporated King County. 

 
Inside the Urban Growth Area, the individual cities - ie: Woodinville - have different regulations.

 It was not long ago that wineries were not legal at all in Rural King County. In the early 2000’s, the Hollywood Hill Association joined with the County and others to draft codes that would allow wineries to be located in our Rural communities. Once in place, these new regulations led to several estate-style wineries becoming established on lower Hollywood Hill, DeLill’s winery being perhaps the first.

 For the next 15 years, we have witnessed rapid expansion of the celebrated Woodinville Wine Tourism phenomenon. Along with a few more estate wineries that were developed in the Rural area south of DeLille, the majority of investments in new wineries, breweries and distilleries took place largely inside the city limits of Woodinville. 

 Most of this activity has contributed a welcome economic and cultural vitality to our area. However, around the fringes of this success we have some problems. The fringes we are concerned with are outside of the cities and are part of Hollywood Hill and/or the Rural parts of the Sammamish Valley.

 To the issue at hand, there has been some confusion due to the common practice of intermingling the terms “tasting rooms” and “wineries”. However, they are different animals. 

Wineries are where grape juice is turned into wine and packaged, which on a larger scale is an industrial food processing activity.

Tasting rooms are for sampling and sale of the products.

 Wineries frequently have tasting rooms that are located at the winery itself and this is permitted in our Rural area. But increasingly we find tasting rooms located remotely from the actual winery. In this case, a stand-alone tasting room is considered a “liquor store” and is not permitted on Hollywood Hill nor in the Rural parts of the Sammamish Valley. 

In the discussion below, you will find references to where and how the County describes and allows (or not) wineries and tasting rooms. Direct links to King County’s web site will allow you to look at the specific codes on the subjects being discussed. Here is the link to the home page for King County’s zoning and associated codes:

 http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/legislation/kc_code/24_30_Title_21A.aspx

 For simplicity, we will use “winery” to describe all of the associated uses which include breweries and distilleries.

 (If you decide to look at the codes on the County’s website, it can be confusing at first. If you are having trouble finding your way, you might refer back to this paragraph to gain some perspective on how to navigate.    Basically, you scroll down to the sections that are applicable. Each section is headed with a table. The activities are listed in a column to the left and the various land zonings are listed across the top. The zonings that we are interested in here are under “RESOURCE - AGRICULTURE" and “RURAL - RURAL AREA”. Where the activity’s row intersects with the zoning column, you will find a code (ie: P3 C12). These refer to the text below that lays out the actual laws for that combination of activity and land use. Basically, the “P” stands for Permitted and the “C” stands for Conditional use. "P" is permitted outright and “C" is dependent on meeting additional requirements and a permit from the County.)

 On the county website, link above, you can click on links to each section. Here are some of the places you can look to see for yourself what the laws say on these issues:

 21A.04 ZONES, MAPS AND DESIGNATIONS will provide a good general description of the various zones in the unincorporated county.

 Hollywood Hill zoning is all RA 2.5. In the Rural parts of the Sammamish Valley, we have a mix of RA 2.5 and A (Agriculture).

 21A.06 TECHNICAL TERMS AND LAND USE DEFINITIONS will provide definitions of terms. There is no definition here of “tasting rooms”, but there is one for “wineries”:

   21A.06.1427 Winery.  Winery:  An establishment primarily engaged in one or more of the following:

A.  Growing grapes or fruit and manufacturing wine, cider or brandies;

B.  Manufacturing wine, cider, or brandies from grapes and other fruits grown elsewhere; and

C.  Blending wines, cider or brandies.  (Ord. 15974 § 5, 2007).

 21A.08 PERMITTED USES will include the section that lays out the codes that allow for “wineries”. 

 Scroll down to: 21A.080.080  Manufacturing land uses.   On the table, you will see that, in our zoning, it refers you to P3 C12 for wineries. Scrolling to the text below, you will find this description of what is permitted in our zoning (bold accents added):

 Under P3 (permitted use):

  3.a.  Limited to wineries,  SIC Industry No. 2082-Malt Beverages and SIC Industry No. 2085-Distilled and Blended Liquors;

b.  In the A zone, only allowed on sites where the primary use is SIC Industry Group No. 01-Growing and Harvesting Crops or No. 02-Raising Livestock and Small Animals;

c.  In the RA and UR zones, only allowed on lots of at least four and one-half acres;

d.  The floor area devoted to all processing shall not exceed three thousand five hundred square feet, unless located in a building designated as historic resource under K.C.C. chapter 20.62;

e.  Structures and areas used for processing shall maintain a minimum distance of seventy-five feet from property lines adjoining rural area and residential zones, unless located in a building designated as historic resource under K.C.C. chapter 20.62;

f.  Sixty percent or more of the products processed must be grown in the Puget Sound counties.  At the time of the initial application, the applicant shall submit a projection of the source of products to be produced; and

g.  Tasting of products produced on site may be provided in accordance with state law.  The area devoted to tasting shall be included in the floor area limitation in subsection B.3.c. of this section.

 And under C12 (conditional use):

 12.a.  Limited to wineries,  SIC Industry No. 2082-Malt Beverages and SIC Industry No. 2085-Distilled and Blended Liquors;

b.(1)  Except as provided in subsection B.12.b.(2) of this section, the floor area of structures for wineries, breweries and distilleries and any accessory uses shall not exceed a total of eight thousand square feet.  The floor area may be increased by up to an additional eight thousand square feet of underground storage that is constructed completely below natural grade, not including required exits and access points, if the underground storage is at least one foot below the surface and is not visible above ground; and

(2)  On Vashon-Maury Island, the total floor area of structures for wineries, breweries and distilleries and any accessory uses may not exceed six thousand square feet, including underground storage;

c.  Wineries, breweries and distilleries shall comply with Washington state Department of Ecology and King County board of health regulations for water usage and wastewater disposal.  Wineries,  breweries and distilleries using water from exempt wells shall install a water meter;

d.  Off-street parking is limited to one hundred and fifty percent of the minimum requirement for wineries, breweries or distilleries specified in K.C.C. 21A.18.030;

e.  Structures and areas used for processing shall be set back a minimum distance of seventy-five feet from property lines adjacent to rural area and residential zones, unless the processing is located in a building designated as historic resource under K.C.C. chapter 20.62;

f.  The minimum site area is four and one-half acresIf the total floor area of structures for wineries, breweries and distilleries and any accessory uses exceed six thousand square feet, including underground storage:

(1)  the minimum site area is ten acres; and

(2)  a minimum of two and one-half acres of the site shall be used for the growing of agricultural products;

g.  The facility shall be limited to processing agricultural products and sixty percent or more of the products processed must be grown in the Puget Sound counties.  At the time of the initial application, the applicant shall submit a projection of the source of products to be processed; and

h.  Tasting of products produced on site may be provided in accordance with state law.  The area devoted to tasting shall be included in the floor area limitation in subsection B.12.b. of this section.

 As you can see, wineries are permitted on lots of at least 4.5 acres along with additional requirements. Size is limited for permitted use wineries, but can be increases with a conditional use permit. The idea is to allow wineries of up to a certain size to be located on large lots in the Rural areas. After a size point, larger facilities belong inside the cities where they can be hooked up to sewers and generally not infringe on the “rural character” of our less dense Rural communities.

 Using just this information, it is clear that “wineries" are not permitted on the small lots that we have been most concerned about around the bottom of Hollywood Hill, which currently are being used for “tasting rooms” and one tavern.

 

TASTING ROOMS

 The county offers no specific definition of “tasting rooms” other than the references in the codes above to “Tasting of products produced on site may be provided in accordance with state law.which is permitted on-site in conjunction with a legal winery.

The codes that pertain to “tasting rooms” can be found in: 21A.080.070   Retail land uses.  

Look down the left column to find “Liquor stores”. It references P13, which says:

13.  Only as accessory to a winery or SIC Industry No. 2082-Malt Beverages, and limited to sales of products produced on site and incidental items where the majority of sales are generated from products produced on site.

Also look under “Eating and drinking Places” in this same section. It references P21 and C19. Here is the text of those sections:

21.  Accessory to a park, limited to a total floor area of seven hundred fifty square feet.

 
- and -

 

9.  Only as:
 a.  an accessory use to a permitted manufacturing or retail land use, limited to espresso stands to include sales of beverages and incidental                                         food items, and not to include drive-through sales; or
b.  an accessory use to a recreation or multiuse park, limited to a total floor area of three thousand five hundred square feet.
 

This is clear that stand-alone tasting rooms (liquor stores) are not permitted in Rural Unincorporated King County, yet this is exactly what we have in increasing numbers on RA 2.5 lots on Hollywood Hill.

There is more to be looked at on this issue and this posting may be expanded in the future. If you have any questions on this, feel free to contact one of the HHA board members.

(2/1/2016)