|Stephen J Donoviel - Aug 21, 2017 5:11PM |
[Letter to Napa County Supervisors 8/21/17]
A final Appeal on Mountain Peak
August 20, 2017
Belia Ramos, Chair
Napa County Board of Supervisors
1195 Third Street
Napa, CA 94559
re: Mountain Peak Winery Appeal Decision
Dear Ms. Ramos and Members of the Board:
On Tuesday August 22, 2017, you have the fortunate opportunity to rectify what I think was an egregious error in your decision in May to tentatively approve the above project which, if carried forward, will negatively impact the lives hundreds of citizens living off Soda Canyon Road and present serious risks to the water supply to thousands of others. I think that the data, detailed analyses, references (submitted in attachments to appellants NCC form 2.88.050) and testimony presented by the appellants at hearing was far more convincing than that presented by the applicant and, were it trial by jury, my bet on the finding would be in favor of the appellants beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The fact that enormous amounts of matter from the tunnel diggings will be spread near feeder streams to the water supply for Yountville and the Veterans Home creates a significant increased risk of contamination--a colorful portrayal of this type of problem was recently shown in the Napa Register (August 11, 2017). This increased risk, I think, far outweighs any positive environment attributes of LEED construction touted by the applicant’s spokesperson.
I sympathize with the residents and others who, on a daily or regular basis, have to drive the narrow, winding roads with only one access point. I fail to understand how you and some members of the Planning Commission and a few others acknowledge the situation and yet can rationalize and dismiss the increased danger to drivers/residents that will accompany the increased vehicles that will result from the project. Also, from the almost cavalier attitude and minimization of dealing with the issues surrounding the risk of wildfire, I gather those presenters had not witnessed the Atlas Peak fire or interviewed residents who lost homes or otherwise suffered through it. There was a suggestion that monies for road surface repairs might be forth coming next year which I’m sure would be welcomed. However, the bigger safety issues, it seems, concern the fact that there is only one point of entry/egress to the neighborhoods/residences and the width of the road (for which widening is undoubtedly out of question) is not conducive to evacuation concurrent with transport of fire trucks, other equipment, etc., and would be further hampered with increased traffic requested by the applicant, thus increasing the danger for all concerned. While, I have made only occasional drives up Soda Canyon Road, one time was a garbage pickup day which was enough to demonstrate the perils of driving the route and obvious dangers if there were a wildfire (or being on the road facing drivers who had spent the day wine tasting). The offered “voluntary condition of approval” is certainly in keeping with expectations and requirements for the AVA and NV branding (and seemed a determining factor for most of you) but it really offers almost nothing to the conversation of fire danger, road safety, water supply degradation for Rector and the host of other environmental problems which are addressed in detail in appellants presentations and never adequately rebutted by the County.
I must add that with this project, as well as others I’ve studied or read about, you (as well as the Planning Commission and City Officials) seem to give little or no consideration to the cumulative impact each approved project adds to the degradation of ecology and quality of life in our county. Residents are complaining about their quality of life, be it at town hall meetings, letters to the editor, testimony at hearings, in the locker room or other social gatherings and, while we have lived here for fifty years, the drums are beating louder and louder the past few years.
I write to recommend and request that you RED TAG this project and note that in doing so you will fulfill your responsibilities as Supervisors by protecting the environment and not increasing the risk of harm to the citizens living in the area.
Thank you for considering my input
Stephen J. Donoviel
|Shelle Wolfe - Jun 8, 2017 11:11PM |
[First published as an LTE to the Register, 6/8/17: Voices, not grapes, get crushed]
Voices, not grapes, get crushed
As expected, Napa citizen concerns were once again squelched, their voices disrespected during the May 23 appeal hearing with the Board of Supervisors on Mountain Peak Winery – Napa’s most recent 4-0 approval by the board of yet another 100,000-gallon commercial winery event center that is primarily focused on tourism -- 14,575 annual visitors to be precise -- and will add some 40,000 additional annual auto and big rig trips to the already dangerous, dead-end Soda Canyon Road.
This remotely located commercial winery is proposed by an extremely wealthy family whose members are not local residents and have no relationship to, or concern about, Napa and its citizens. We elect the supervisors whom we assume represent us and our concerns, not foreign investors.
Supervisors? No. Caretakers of a corrupt system, calculating appearances to seem caring and absences to avoid accountability (or perhaps to avoid upsetting a winery consultant and longtime friend?) They pretend to listen to those of us they represent, all the while complaining that we, the citizens to whom they are supposed to answer, are submitting too many documents, too many pages of evidence.
Environmental impacts? Not according to the supervisors; a silent nod of approval to the applicant’s phony focus on environmental purity propaganda. These elected officials are pretenders: pretending to care, to listen, to engage, to “reach out.”
Instead, they complain we are too late with information, annoying them with facts about public safety (639 government reported incidents on Soda Canyon Road in 2014, 2015, and 2016), reminding them of the dangers of driving Soda Canyon Road (which is in horrible shape and twists and turns with steep hills where big rigs and tour buses are regularly stuck for hours), and environmental impacts (removing and heaping nearly 2 million cubic feet of earth near two blue-line streams that feed directly into the Rector Reservoir water supply), slapping down the appellant’s request for a 5-minute recess before having to rebut numerous misleading statements made by the applicant – “no!” – but quickly thereafter providing a 5-minute recess to review new documentation provided by the applicant.
These pretenders disdain our very presence. Just get the vote over so we can go home. These citizens have already wasted enough of our time.
In a display of arrogance and disrespect, our own elected supervisor for District 4, Alfredo Pedroza, personally and gleefully made four separate motions to deny each appeal, to silence our voices with grinning disdain, obviously his mind long ago made up; campaign payback? Deny his voice in the next election, and maybe then we, the people, will finally be heard.
Whose government is this, anyway?