Calif. Wine Country Voters Reject Hotel Restrictions

Tourism-based economy will keep tourists


Voters in the city of Sonoma appear to have shot down a ballot measure that would have restricted hotel development in the Wine Country community.

Measure B on Tuesday's ballot would have prohibited existing hotels from expanding to more than 25 rooms, and limited new hotels to fewer than 25 rooms unless Sonoma's hotel occupancy rate exceeded 80 percent the previous calendar year. This hasn't happened in recent years, and opponents argued that the threshold would have been impossible to reach.

The group behind Measure B, the Preserving Sonoma Committee, said it would have kept the city of 10,850 from being overwhelmed by out-of-towners as Northern California's tourist economy picks up. Sonoma now has about 500 hotel rooms.