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By Pat Doody 

Tehachapi City Council Update


August 1, 2020

Council supports AVA designation

On June 26, the City of Tehachapi was notified that the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau was reviewing the application submitted in 2018 by the Tehachapi Winegrowers Commission to establish the approximately 58,000-acre “Tehachapi Mountains” AVA (American Viticultural Area).

This division of the U.S. Treasury Department assigns specific viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase.

At the time of submission, Tehachapi had approximately 25 acres planted with six commercial vineyards and one winery. Approval would allow local vineyards and wineries to print “Tehachapi Mountains” on their commercial wine labels.

The report released by the TTB in June reviewed details about the geography and climate of the area and opened a 60-day comment period, ending Aug. 25, inviting comments from individuals and entities like the Tehachapi City Council. At the July 20 City Council meeting, the Council discussed the benefits of the designation to local winegrowers, to the City of Tehachapi, the Greater Tehachapi area and the County of Kern and voted unanimously to send a letter of support to the TTB from the City Council and signed by Mayor Susan Wiggins.

The Tehachapi Winegrowers Commission is a subcommittee of the Greater Tehachapi Area Economic Development Council. The documentation and development of the application was the result of countless hours of research, meetings, study and collaboration by the local vintners with the final document completed by Julie Bell, PhD. owner of Per la Vita LLC, a resident of Cummings Valley.

City to purchase back-up generators

Last October when Tehachapi and much of the Greater Tehachapi area experienced the public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) as part of Southern California Edison’s wildfire mitigation, the City rented multiple generators to make sure that the City’s water and wastewater systems were able to operate without power. The rental cost for the month of October alone was $6,623. With fall quickly approaching again, Edison is forecasting more shutoffs this year and in the future.

Public Works Director Don Marsh told the City Council that in the fall of 2019, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) made grant money available to municipalities for use in strengthening their ability to withstand the PSPS. In April of this year, Tehachapi received a grant for $300,000 for the purchase of backup generators.

The City Council approved the purchase of two trailer-mounted generators, a 250 KW and a 50 KW, for the purchase price of $190,625, which was less than the original estimated cost. As the City had already received the grant funds, the remainder will be used to improve fuel storage with the purchase of larger tanks.

New housing tract on Robinson?

A tract map that was initially approved in 2003/04 for 29 residential lots located at the south end of Robinson St. was again given a six month tentative approval by City Council. Six months ago Young Woo Park of Bakersfield acquired the property located where the Mountain Festival carnival is usually located with the intent of beginning construction on the property. Development Services Director Jay Schlosser said that it is the oldest residential subdivision project still on the City’s records and it was the first tract map he looked at when he joined the City on 2004.

According to the agreement with Park, should construction not begin with the next six months, the map will expire and the developer must start over. According to Schlosser, there are some minor ways in which the map no longer complies with the City’s 2012 General Plan. Also, the zoning code and CQUA requirements have changed. At the recommendation of City Council members, Schlosser said he would warn the developer about possible construction problems during a Tehachapi winter lest he miss the six month deadline.

Per the State of California Executive Order N-29-20, this meeting was held telephonically. City Council meetings may be observed (or heard) online at


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