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Despite opposition, winery events bill leaves Legislature

Published on June 30, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on July 28, 2011 8:58AM

Senator warns of creating 'special rights and privileges'


Capital Press

SALEM -- Oregon wineries can hold an unlimited number of marketing events under a bill lawmakers pushed through the Oregon House and Senate June 27.

House Bill 3280 also allows wineries to rent out their facilities for up to 25 weddings and other celebratory events a year.

To hold additional events, they'll need to get a permit.

"The bill reflects the changes that have occurred in our industry since 1989, when the last comprehensive land-use law was passed, and will help write a new chapter for Oregon wineries sited in farmland," said Sam Tannahill, chairman of the Oregon Winegrowers Association.

Despite vocal opposition on both floors, House Bill 3280 sailed through the House, 48-10, and the Senate, 25-3.

Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Portland, voiced the concerns of the American Planning Association in her floor speech.

"They believe that this bill creates special rights and privileges for wineries that aren't available to other farms ... and significantly expands nonfarm related commercial events and entertainment into EFU (exclusive farm use) zones. It is unenforceable, confusing and uncoordinated with other legislation," Bonamici said.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, countered: "There is nothing in this bill that stops a county from regulating where they should be regulating."

HB3280 caps a winery's allowable revenue from incidental items at 25 percent of the gross income from a winery's on-site sale of wine.

HB3280 is the second bill lawmakers sent to Gov. John Kitzhaber in recent days that define what commercial activities are allowed on farmland.

Previously, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 960. It requires farmland owners obtain a permit to conduct events in farm use zones.

Wineries in counties that choose to adopt provisions of SB960 still could elect to obtain permits under those provisions, if they so choose, said Shawn Cleave, a lobbyist for the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Provisions of HB3280 sunset Dec. 31, 2013.


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