[For the Planning Commission hearing October 21, 2015]
These are additional comments to my ones dated August 10, 2015.
I will limit them on the various County Policies, Use Permit Standards, CEQA Mandatory Findings and Case Law which this use permit, if approved and following a variety of previous ones which this Commission and the County Supervisors have been consistently ignoring when approving projects which specifically increase traffic:
A . GENERAL PLAN POLICY CIR -‐ 116:
"The County will seek to maintain arterial Level of Service "D" or better on all county roadways".
B. ORDINANCE CHAPTER 18.04.010 -‐ FINDINGS:
F. "Further, this Board deems it necessary, for the purpose of promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the county, to revise the existing ordinance...in accordance with the General Plan and the following objectives:
1. To lessen congestion on roads and highways.
4. To promote health, safety and general welfare".
C. CASE LAW ON USE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS:
Upton v. Gray, 1969: "The proposed use is in the best interest of public convenience and necessity and will not be contrary to the public health, morals or welfare"
And O'Hagen v. Board of Zoning Appeals, 1971: "That such use would be essential or desirable to the public convenience or welfare or be detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare".
D. CEQA REQUIREMENTS:
"Does this project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulative considerable? ('Cumulative considerable' means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects and the effects of probable future projects)".
E. THIS PROJECT AS IT RELATES TO THE ABOVE:
The W-‐Trans traffic study is tailored to fit the project, conveniently ignoring its own findings on the Silver Rose on the Silverado Trail and Calistoga Hills resort on Hwy 29, both within 1 and 2 miles to the north, a CEQA mandatory finding. Together W-‐Trans had projected that they will generate 2,900 daily vehicle trips (dvt).
The intersection at Hwy 29 and Lincoln Avenue in Calistoga, only one mile away, has such a dismal level of service, that the City's Final EIR projected that the 930 of the 1,400 additional dvt generated by the Calistoga Hills resort is impossible to mitigate. Master Response #4 of that FEIR recommended that the City accept an in lieu fee of $ 267,795.00 because the impact is "beyond the developer's ability to mitigate". The City had to invoke "Overriding Considerations" before it was legally able to accept such a fee.
While the City of Calistoga was able to justify this unmitigatable condition by citing the imminent threat of bankruptcy, this avenue is not available to the County.
Today, even before either of these resorts have come on line, that intersection is at level "E" and "F" during several hours of the day; a far cry from the General Plan level "D". The congestion on Hwy 29, stretches from Dunaweal Lane all the way to Petrified Forest Road.
On Friday, October 16 at 4:15 pm I drove that stretch of the Hwy, covering its 2 miles in an unacceptable 22 minutes. No one can argue that this is in the interest of the public convenience and welfare. As this travel time becomes worse, drivers will opt to use Dunaweal Lane to Silverado Trail and back to Tubs Lane (something many do already) so as to circumvent that bottle neck.
Neither the 2,900 vdt of the two resorts, nor the ones you consider adding through this application have come on line and considered in the traffic report as required by CEQA Mandatory Findings.
F. TRANSPORTATION DEMAND PROGRAM:
At this point in time, this program is anything but credible. Visitations between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm can no longer claim to account for any mitigation as traffic congestion throughout the valley begins as early as 5:30 am, a time when the tens of thousands of wine business and hospitality industry low-‐paid commuters form a continuous chain entering the valley from Solano county.
Adding any more low paying jobs at these industries as far north as Calistoga, impacts traffic congestion as far south as American Canyon.
G. SEE ATTACHED TRAFFIC LOG ON ROADS AROUND THE VALLEY:
They show that traffic conditions have already entered the brink of a collapse. They do not in any way conform with the requirements under A, B, C, and D.
H. THE DECEPTIVE CULTURE OF "LESS THAN SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS" PILED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER:
Assessing traffic impacts of individual projects by casting a limited radius around them, ignores serious and quantifiable impacts on the general traffic patterns in the Napa Valley. This practice is deceptive and makes all of us suffer by degrading public convenience and welfare as the County's General Plan, its Ordinances, CEQA and the established legal precedent all Use Permits are required to honor and respect.
The continued actions by this Commission and the Board of Supervisors which consciously contribute to the increase of congestion well beyond Level Service "D" on our roads from Calistoga to American Canyon, is subject to challenge unless it stops.