Star Wars creator George Lucas aims to settle legal row over new vineyard at Skywalker Ranch
Star Wars creator George Lucas has upset neighbours in California by planting a vineyard at Skywalker Ranch that locals claim is an eyesore.
Skywalker Properties, Marin County and the Nicasio Land Owners Association have now entered into an agreement in an effort to settle the disagreement over the vineyard’s location without going to court.
Marin County had originally approved an application from Lucas’ property business for a permit to plant a vineyard on 3838 Lucas Valley Road in June this year.
But the Nicasio Land Owners Association later challenged the decision. Stephen Lewis, the association’s vice president, told the Marin Independent Journal that residents were concerned with “where the vineyard is and what it is like now as opposed to what it was like before: opebn space with oak trees and wildland grasses.”
Skywalker properties’ attorney, Andrew Giacomini, however, told the paper “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“My belief is that some Nicasio land owners love the vineyard and others would rather see a pasture.”
The land association was formed in the 1960s with the specific aim of protecting the area from overdevelopment.
The association wants Lucas to relocate the 642-acre vineyard, which has been planted further away from his Big Rock office complex on Lucas Valley Road, which the director gained a permit to convert into 57 guest units in 2016.
Now the three parties have entered into a “tolling agreement” which enables them to work together to find an amicable solution without going to court.
According to the agreement, the association argues that the vineyard permit was granted “contrary to applicable law, including, but not limited to, a contention that the decision was contrary to the California Environmental Quality Act.”
In addition, it says that Skywalker Properties and the association will continue to discuss how to relocate the vineyard “to avoid certain, perceived negative impacts.”
Skywalker Ranch is the movie ranch and workplace of film director, writer and producer Lucas located in Nicasio, California, in Marin County.
Lucas’ Skywalker Properties acquired Château Margüi, an estate winery in the southwestern Bessillon mountain range, in April 2017, adding to a portfolio which already includes vineyards in California’s Marin County and an estate in Italy.
Skywalker’s estate acquired Il Convento in Umbria, Italy, in 2007.