October 1, 2022
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A rift in the valley

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Los Olivos, a sleepy town of about 1,000 in the Santa Ynez Valley, has been experiencing some classic symptoms of growing pains, and now community leaders are poised to make a few crucial decisions about tourism — the area economy’s bread and butter.

The town, located a short distance from Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch, has a  few new restaurants and wineries added to its mix each year. While some organizations are gearing up to welcome more visitors — and more income — with renovations and a new farmers market, others are trying to put a lid on expansion, starting with the wine industry.

Los Olivos’ 22 tasting rooms have come under fire at recent town meetings, and are trying to dodge appeals and a potential zoning moratorium. Los Olivos Business Owners President Mark Herthel said the appeals would ban tasting rooms in town — a notion he finds absurd.

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