As you may know, representatives from Save Yountville Hill attended mediation with the Yountville Hill Winery applicant in an attempt to reach an agreement on change to the project that addressed the concerns raised in our appeal. Despite our best efforts, the mediation concluded without the parties reaching any agreement.
However, in response to our appeal, the applicant has requested that the Planning Commissions original approval of this project be rescinded and that County staff initiate the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
As a result, we expect that County staff will issue a report recommending that the Board of Supervisors grant our appeal by rescinding the Planning Commission’s approval and directing staff to initiate preparation of an EIR to analyze all of the project’s environmental impacts.
If the recommendation comes forward as expected, there may be no need for us to martial a large turn-out at the upcoming Board of Supervisors hearing on December 16, 2014. We will not know anything for certain until the staff report is released later this week, so we will monitor the situation closely and let you know immediately the outcome of their decision.
This is a significant, but temporary, victory. The fight to Save Yountville Hill and ensure intelligently balanced implementation of the Winery Definition Ordinance continues.
We expect that the Applicant will submit a revised version of his application for Yountville Hill Winery in the very near future and we are concerned that the revisions will not substantially alter the hospitality-focused, commercial nature of this project or its clearly excessive scale on an unsuitable hillside.
We remain committed to securing a scaled-down winery project that is in keeping with the site’s size and physical constraints – and that fully complies with the letter and the spirit of Napa County's WDO, General Plan, and all other applicable Code rules and regulations. To that end, we will review and comment on the draft EIR for any revised project before it is considered by the Planning Commission.
We believe that it's time for the Board of Supervisors to engage in a serious discussion with the community about tourism-centered proposals and to make clear that commercial uses masquerading as wineries are not appropriate for, and will not be allowed, in the Ag Preserve. Hopefully this discussion will take place in a town hall setting in February 2015.
As always, thank you for your support. We will be in touch again soon.