SodaCanyonRoad | Mountain Peak at the Planning Commission Jul 20th

Mountain Peak at the Planning Commission Jul 20th

Bill Hocker | Jul 21, 2016 on: Mountain Peak Winery

NVR 7/21/16: Napa County grapples with remote winery proposal

On July 20th the Mountain Peak project was presented to the Planning Commission by the planning department and the applicant. In a surprise move (at least to me), the applicant's representative, Donna Oldford, proffered a reduction in the tourism component of the project. Gone were the 6-per-month evening events. In this subsequent email the exact proposed reductions were itemized to exclude 3911 visitors/year from the previous 18486 bringing visitation down to 14575/yr. The elimination of the frequent evening events were a significant and beneficial change to the marketing plan.

As Chair Basayne opened the meeting to public comments, vintner Stu Smith barged to the front of the line to voice his law-and-order support given to every tourist attraction to come before the county, and then the residents of Soda Canyon Road spent most of the day voicing their concern about the changes to their rural lives that a tourism facility in their midst will bring. The commissioners expressed some displeasure at the amount of material added to the administrative record at the last minute (see the Arger dossier linked below) but agreed that a continuance was needed to insure due process, and their day of decision was continued until Oct 19th.

The word "remote" in the NVR article is the key to understanding what this project really represents. As tourist attractions are being proposed all over the county, promoted as necessary for the survival of the wine industry but really representing just an expansion the tourism industry, with new projects continuously being reviewed (46 at present) and approved (97 since 2010) by the planning commission, this project still raises the question: are there places so untouched by the county's commitment to tourism that we should even ask if maintaining their living community of residents is more important than retooling them as a tourist experiences.

County website's Mountain Peak page (Mar 2016) (documents)
July 20th Meeting Agenda and Docs (w/ meeting pdfs and correspondence)
Staff Agenda Letter
Anthony Arger letter and dossier (35mb file)
Neighborhood powerpoint presentation at hearing
Video of the hearing
Transcript of the hearing
County Initial Study EIR Checklist