Good Brewing ordered to cease operations

Good Brewing Co. is one of nine local beverage establishments in violation of King County’s zoning code. Hannah Saunders

By Hannah Saunders

King County Code Enforcement sent Good Brewing Co. a letter on Aug. 16, telling them to cease operations within 30 days or they may be subject to civil penalties. On Sept. 10, the King County Superior Court stated in legal documents that the properties owned by Icarus Holdings LLC, which are Rooster Bakery and Café, Three Monks Distilled Spirits and Chateau Ste. Vladany Winery is a “public nuisance.”

In a stipulation and order, King County Superior Court ordered that Rooster Café and Bakery cease all operations. Defendants Vladan Milosavljevic and Stefka Gocheva were ordered to submit a pre-application for a clearing grade permit or demonstrate to King County Permitting that the land has been plowed for horticultural activities within 30 days.

If Milosavljevic and Gocheva fail to complete these tasks by the deadline, defendants New Properties LLC and Icarus Holdings LLC must submit a pre-application for clearing grade permits within 90 days of the Oct. 10 deadline order or demonstrate to King County Permitting that the land has been plowed for horticultural activities within 90 days of the order.

Nine local wine bars disguised as wineries have been disobeying King County’s Rural Area (RA) and Agricultural land (A) zoning policies in Woodinville. Friends of Sammamish Valley (FoSV), a non-profit organization that focuses on protecting and preserving the Sammamish Valley and rural lifestyle, has been fighting Adult Beverage Ordinance 19030, which opened RA and A farmlands for urban use in 2018.

“That ordinance was sponsored by King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, and it was being pushed by a handful of code violators who had already established bars on rural area lands and farmlands,” said Serena Glover, executive director of FoSV.

According to Glover, wineries are legal in RA and A lands although there are strict operation limitations which include selling only what is produced onsite. Good Brewing Co., Hollywood Taproom, Castillo de Feliciana, Cougar Crest Winery, Cave B Estate Winery, Forgeron Cellars, Chateau Lill, Sky River Meadery and Rooster Bakery and Café (whose owner also runs Three Monks Distillery and Chateau Ste. Vladany Winery) are all producing their products outside of Woodinville’s RA and A areas.

“All the good wine, the grapes are from eastern Washington. So, they grow their grapes over there and they manufacture over there because it’s costly to transfer grapes,” Glover said. “But what they all want is retail distribution here because this is where all the people are.”

The illegal operations of the listed facilities impact the Sammamish Valley in numerous ways. With the greater influx of individuals visiting these establishments, rural character slowly dissipates. Traffic increases on the two-lane roads which allow for greater automobile emissions into the environment. Furthermore, RA and A lands are not allowed to have sewage systems in place and rely on septic systems or porta-potties.

“The farmland sits in the bottom of the valley where the glacier originally sat through. Sidewalls of the valley are steeply sloped, and all of these bars are sitting upslope from the farmland,” Glover said. “So, all the toxins and sewage run into the ditches in the side of the road.”  

Many of the retail businesses illegally operating on RA and A lands are homes that have been converted. Glover mentioned that the increase of home purchasing for retail use has allowed for farmland prices to jump.

“Farmers can’t afford to farm. They can’t afford to buy land,” Glover said.

FoSV suggests that all illegal operating businesses move their businesses into authorized Urban Area zones.

“None of us are against the alcohol industry at all, we just want them located in the legal locations,” Glover said. “We’ll take this all the way to the Washington state Supreme Court if we have to.”

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