On September 18 Amber Manfree sent us an email asking us to sign the protest forms for the Type 02 Alcohol and Beverage License applied for by Relic Winery. I have the good fortune to see and listen to the traffic that goes up and down the driveway to Relic from my once quiet deck. I have also lately had the unfortunate opportunity to be almost run off the road by truckers driving well over the center line at Soda Canyon's s-curves below Relic. I cannot say where the truck cam from but all I know is that the road is getting worse and worse and after the closure of Soda Canyon Road last week from a flipped truck I am more alarmed - we have some real concerns here that someone needs to address.
No one wants or expects to stop growth completely, and no one is talking about shutting down anyone who is already in business, but somewhere, sometime, someone has to stop and say "what are we doing here?" If studies are done that can show the aquifers can handle the sort of sort of growth and water consumption that all these new proposed wineries will demand, then fine - but do some studies. If we allow a large commercial business (or two) to open up shop on a what is a residential road without perhaps the county requiring them pay for road improvements - something is just simply wrong with the way things work. If we sit by and allow a just wait-and-see approach, then we may as well stop being American's and give up our right to think and question.
We are being asked to conserve water. Some of our wells are already drying up. Yet they will take our water and give it to a big conglomerate (not a local vineyard owner) and then no doubt raise our taxes to pay for water conservation.
We are being asked to drive up and down Soda Canyon Road with already treacherous conditions (narrow, winding, no turn outs, no shoulders, horrific potholes, loose rocks, etc) and expected to share what little we have with a large number of trucks and then additional visitors to these new wineries without requiring those new wineries to improve the road? No doubt when the road deteriorates further - our taxes will rise to pay for the improvements necessary. More importantly, someone is going to get killed.
We cannot allow Napa County Planning and Zoning to just continue to rubber stamp these projects without some consideration for the impact it has on not just our neighborhood - but the whole valley. It is us right now - but it will be other neighborhoods later. If they can do it to Atlas Peak and Soda Canyon and Yountville - then they can (AND WILL) do it, without conscience, anywhere in this valley.
Please take a few minutes to go back and pull out that email - and fill in the form and mail it Monday morning (or email too). Please - call your neighbors and friends and ask them to do the same.