Anthem Winery

Jan 8, 2015

The Dry Creek Road Alliance

In the free-comment period at the beginning of the Planning Commission meeting on Jan 7th. 2015 (video), several neighbors got up to voice their concerns about the Anthem Winery major modification being proposed at 3123 Dry Creek Road. The project is still under review at the planning commission. It comes on the heels of the Woolls Ranch approval, the first of the tourist event centers allowed in the Mt. Veeder AVA (beyond the humoungous Hess Collection built in the late 70's). More will surely follow.

The initial application is for an increase of 20,000 gals/yr, 3400 sf of additional structure and 22,000 sf of caves, 21,000 visitors/yr, tasting hours 8am to 8pm, evening events til 10pm weekdays, midnight (a new record) on the weekends. 7 full time and 5 part time employees. All documents are on the County's Anthem Winery page.

Just as we felt in March of 2014 on Soda Canyon Road, the immediate neighbor described the project as a nightmare. The outraged reactions of the other neighbors were also familiar. For those of us who have cherished our lives of rural tranquility in the county, the idea of a tourist event center next door is a nightmare come true. It is a personal violation of our reason to live here, of the paradise we thought we had found. Call me a "little sister" (Volker Eisele's term) but for me the nausea and the sleeplessness have not disappeared even after 9 months. That sense of violation continues to drive this website.

The neighbor was made aware of the project by the developer in the course of other property line discussions. The project did not apparently fall under the new notification procedures put into place, procedures that came into being in part because of community activism. The procedures, which require notification at the time of application rather than at the end of county review, give the neighbors whose lives will be degraded by these projects an opportunity to weigh in during the review process, with at least the possibility of mitigations being worked out before the projects reach the Planning Commission.

There are perhaps 40 project applications in the planning department. All will have major impacts on their neighborhoods and cumulatively an impact on the future of the county. The importance of a public vetting of the projects well before the 20 day "public review" period, after which they go to the planning commission for judgement, is an important step in our battle to insure that all constituencies are represented in the land use battles necessary to protect the future and the soul of Napa County.

The county's Anthem page is here


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A capitalist manifesto

Bill Hocker - Sep 11, 2015 3:10PM  Share #996

I have just begun this separate Anthem Winery page. Their request for the expansion of their small winery to become 25,000sf event center will be a long process.

At one of the APAC meetings, Julie Arbuckle, owner of Anthem Winery, read a statement of her concerns about the amounts of visitation that Planning Director Morrison was proposing for future wineries in an effort to try to stem the torrent of tourism currently being requested by developers of winery projects. In it she exemplified everything that is currently wrong with the tourism processing approach to winemaking. It is an approach that lifts capitalism straight out of the 19th century, that concerns itself only with rate of return on investment in a conspicuous display of wealth, and has little regard for the impact on the community in which her capitalist adventure takes place or of the long term impacts of a county increasingly urbanized to accommodate an ever expanding number of tourists. Her statement is here. My response to her letter is here.

More contingents join the NIMBY Army!

Bill Hocker - Jan 11, 2015 10:34AM  Share #539

At the Planning Commission meeting on Jan 7th, a community of residents used the open comments period to voice their concerns about the Anthem Winery expansion on Dry Creek Road. One neighbor also expressed the threat to the rural character of their neighborhood here: Planners please preserve watersheds.

A group has also coalesced around the Syar expansion project.

It is now more obvious than ever that the projects that each of us are encountering in our backyards do not just debase our neighborhoods, but are harbingers of a suburbanized, commercialized environment for the entire county. There are no more individual backyards, there is only the county's backyard, and it is being inundated with development.

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