SodaCanyonRoad | Agriculture by Definition

Agriculture by Definition

Shelle Wolfe | Oct 19, 2015 on: The WDO

[Sent to the Planning commissioners on Oct 12th]

Dear Commissioners,

I was traveling last week and couldn’t attend the meeting, but as a local Corporate Event Planning business owner, I’d like to weigh in on the topic of “Agriculture", by definition.

I would like to say explicitly… this valley has enough new wineries and wineries that can host events. Further stretching the definition of Agriculture to allow wineries to host more events that are for ‘marketing’ purposes based on a misinterpretation of a word is a horrible mistake.

Wineries are already abusing these terms "Education" and "Marketing". They are adding the word ‘Educational’ to a corporate dinner booking and it becomes a marketing event? Wineries are stretching this definition and I can send you copies of contracts where this is the case. Are you choosing to look the other way while wineries take advantage of a technicality and basically, flat out lying?

After almost 20 years of business ownership in St Helena, I recently moved to rural Napa. St Helena had become tooooo congested because of the disgustingly liberal amount of growth which is approved in this county, creating traffic nightmares for anyone Up Valley. Now I find, that my new home on Soda Canyon… which I believed would be ‘quiet’ without traffic issues… is NOT quiet and does have significant traffic issues. Beginning at 3 AM I hear cars racing down the road … people going to work. Evidently there was a traffic examination on Soda Canyon a few years ago that didn’t show an inordinate amount of traffic… but it was apparently in December! There is no vineyard traffic in December!

Between the large semi trucks, water trucks, bottling trucks, hauling trucks and the inordinate number of speeding vehicles that pass by daily to go to work at the vineyards on this little two lane country road (narrowing to one lane in front of my house)… it has literally become a commuter freeway.

It seems there is no escaping the out of control growth in this county. Or is there? PLEASE re-examine the approval process. Growth in this valley needs a TIME OUT. Let the dust settle. DO NOT approve any new wineries or give approval for more event spaces until everything that is planned and approved is completed. Wait to see if we can even drive the roads and highways with the thousands of new cars that are already anticipated with the current plans. That includes hotels also.

I recently read an article in the "World Food and Wine Tourism" newsletter about the nightmarish traffic in Napa Valley and recommending that people stay away from Napa and try the new Wine Country… ANY other Wine Country. Is that really your goal? To chase people away?

Thank you for your consideration,