In an e-mail to the Board before the Raymond Vineyard vote, Norma J. Tofanelli, former president of the Farm Bureau and fourth-generation Calistoga farmer, wrote, “Before denying the appeal of the Raymond Use Permit application, the Board would do well to consider the attached letter from Michael Honig, which appeared in the Napa Register last month...Michael Honig is not only the President of Honig Vineyard & Winery, he is the current chair of the Napa Valley Vintners' Board of Directors.”
“It is not just the "little people" of Napa County who are outraged by the deferential treatment given to winery use permit violators,” Tofanelli said. “The responsible portion of the industry has now spoken out.”
Michael Honig’s letter was short and sharp, entitled, STOP ALLOWING THEM TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS.
“I hope our county government starts to see the harm these projects are doing to the environment, and indeed our industry, and stops allowing owners the opportunity to ask for forgiveness versus permission,” Honig said.
At the Tuesday hearing, appellant Beckstoffer implored the supervisors to do their duty to protect agriculture.
“Napa County has two choices. One is to have an agricultural economy supported by tourism and the other is to have a tourism economy supported by agriculture,” said Beckstoffer.
“The [Raymond] project makes a mockery of the county’s protections for the agricultural preserve,” the written appeal by the appellants’ law firm, Shute Mihaly & Wineberger said. Raymond Vineyards is known to be particularly glitzy and outrageous.
However, Supervisor Pedrosa sees this differently. “This is not Disneyland. I just think it’s agriculture in the 21st century. I think Napa is fortunate to have experiences that are not one-dimensional.”
Napa Vision 2050 supports the protections afforded by the Ag Preserve. THIS IS NOT AGRICULTURE, but a VIOLATION of the Ag Preserve resulting in the urbanization of our ag lands.