VOTMA looking forward
Coming up – Rancho Los Guilicos Day
By Linda Hale, VOTMA board member
This summer the Valley of the Moon Alliance (VOTMA) is looking forward to celebrating our work with neighbors, local organizations, and our past founders. This includes a celebration of the founding of the Los Guilicos Ranch in Kenwood with our Rancho Los Guilicos Day on Saturday, Aug. 8, 3 to 7 p.m., in Kenwood Plaza Park. Come celebrate with Mariachi, authentic Rancho food prepared by the Vineyards Inn as well as other local restaurants, and a dessert auction. We are going to honor special guests and the founders of VOMTA who had a vision and made things happen. Tickets will be on sale at our table in the Park after the 4th of July Parade.
VOTMA is a grassroots organization that was started in January 2002 by people living in the northern end of Sonoma Valley. Its formation was prompted by two proposals to build luxury resorts in the area. Beyond addressing the immediate future, VOTMA has undertaken a broader mission to work out a vision of a sustainable community.
Over its 14 years of existence, VOTMA’s vision has not changed. VOTMA President Kathy Pons was recently appointed to the long-awaited Sonoma County Events Advisory Committee to look at areas of over-concentration throughout the county that cause parking problems, traffic, noise, and safety issues. This Committee was partially motivated by VOTMA’s Potential Events Study done in 2004, and updated in 2014 thanks to some generous donors. We also participated in the County-sponsored forums to address the issues that neighbors have raised about vacation rentals and the update to the County’s Vacation Rental Ordinance. We are making liaisons with vintner, neighborhood, and environmental groups throughout the Valley and county-wide to help establish policies that will insure responsible planning for sensible growth and sustainability of the finite resources of Sonoma Valley.
And water is on our radar, too, as a key resource for agriculture, business, and residents. To ensure that your concerns are heard, VOTMA participates on the Sonoma Valley Basin Advisory Panel, their technical committee (TAC), and the Sonoma County Water Coalition. Did you know that many Kenwood and Glen Ellen well owners allow their wells to be monitored semi-annually so that there can be a record of water levels?
We also recently addressed the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission on the issue presented by adding additional wine processing at the Sequoia Warehouse on 8th Street East in Sonoma. Although located near other industrial facilities, their request for the capacity to process grapes and bottle 500,000 cases of wine brought up the issue of the declining groundwater table that invites salt water intrusion in that area. Issues like this keep us busy, and we cannot operate without input from and the support of the community.
Together we are making a difference. We’ll be in the Kenwood Park on 4th of July. Come see our updated Google map to get a bird’s eye view of our Valley. You can also buy a ticket for Rancho Los Guilicos Day then and join us on Aug. 8. Come meet our founders, current VOTMA Board members, and local historians.