The return of Yountville Hill
Bill Hocker | May 11, 2017
NVR 5/11/17: Yountville Hill winery to receive more scrutiny
The cost of the EIR goes from $213,000 to $450,000 to sign off on the outrageous traffic problems to be created by a major tourist attraction at that congested stretch of Hwy 29. Even from the standpoint of developers, corporations and plutocrats used to throwing money at their fantasies of profit and fame to be made from good-life marketing, this is a substantial sum to address the political pro forma of an EIR.
The County Yountville DEIR page
NVR 3/3/17: Sklar makes case for controversial Yountville Hill winery
Prepping the public for more grief later in the spring over his plans to rubbish a prominent oak hillside in the center of the valley, the developer promises "this will be the end of my career". Sooner rather than later let's hope.
NVR 8/4/16: Napa County taking another look at Yountville Hill Winery
At the Planning Commission meeting of Aug 3rd, 2016, Commissioner Heather Phillips announced in disclosures that she would be recusing herself from the review of the Yountville Hill DEIR. She read a statement (transcribed here) indicating that council for Yountville Hill would challenge her right to hear the project based on the fact that a member of her family had participated with a neighborhood group opposing the project, allegedly representing a conflict of interest. She chose to recuse herself rather than bear the intimidating legal costs of a defense. The video of the hearing is here.
As she notes and as you can read here, this is not an isolated incident. Heather Phillips, as the most outspoken commissioner concerning the negative impacts of continued winery proliferation, has been challenged now three times by those interested in furthering a development agenda in the county. In a one-industry place like Napa it is unlikely that everyone who serves in a public capacity will have no connection to the wine industry or be free from its impacts. As an example noted before, one commissioner has been an officer in a limo company that will ultimately benefit from each new winery and winery expansion approved, yet he has never had his ability to make a fair judgement challenged. This is an attempt to influence commission decisions through strategic legal intimidation and is another indication how aggressive the industry has become in response to community opposition to the ongoing destruction of the county's rural character.
An extension for the comment period to the DEIR was granted by the commissioners through Sept. 29th. The hearing was lightly attended and the opponents' attorney was brief in her remarks, which seemed to indicate that the extension was a predictable decision.
My most recent rant on the project is here. This project should really not be built.
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