Bill Hocker | Oct 21, 2015
NVR 9/21/15: Deadlocked commission denies approval for Girard winery
The Planning Commission has split 2 yes - 2 no, (Commissioner Gill didn't feel rehabilitated and recused) and the use permit application has thus been denied. The denial was based principally by Commissioners Cottrell and Phillips on the unknown impact of a to-be-shared water and wastewater system and a concept that parcel development should be self sustaining.
Is this the tipping point - or the untipping point - we've been discussing for the last year and a half? This is the first denial the commission has made since the over-the-top 14-winery Flynnville project in 2013 which was the only denial since 2010. (Yountville Hill was infamously close to denial, again with 4 commissioners, and the approval was rescinded prior to the appeal.)
Girard will go on to the BOS for an appeal. It is too early to read anything into the decision. The denial was based on very technical issues and solving those issues will no doubt be the subject of the appeal.
The real issue here is the continued urban development of ag land. If this perfect rectangle of prime agricultural land in the Napa Valley can't be saved from buildings and parking lots, with an owner that already has a winery/event center just across the street and a couple of other in-county wineries to process his Napa grapes, then no piece of property can be saved. Let's hope that this is the first decision we can point to as reflecting a changed attitude ("the new normal") toward agricultural protection in Napa County.
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