SodaCanyonRoad | Agriculture in the 21st Century

Agriculture in the 21st Century

NV2050 Admin | Aug 17, 2017 on: Napa Vision 2050

[The email version of this post is here]

Another Gross Violator Granted Forgiveness By The BoS?
Is this "Agriculture in the 21st Century"??

“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 County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza


Recently the Napa County Planning Commission approved the permit for expansion of Raymond Vineyards. This decision was appealed to the Board of Supervisors (BoS) by grapegrowers Andy Beckstoffer, Frank Leeds, and Kelleen Sullivan.

Tuesday, August 15, the Board of Supervisors (BoS) voted tentatively, 3-2, to deny this appeal of Raymond Vineyards use permit application.

This is yet another decision by our BoS to grant forgiveness in expanded permits as away of “correcting” code violations. Of the five appeals to the BoS this year, two feature gross code violators who have been granted forgiveness: Raymond Vineyards and The Caves at Soda Canyon.

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.