Meeting Minutes regarding Caves Generator
on the web at: http://sodacanyonroad.org/forum.php?p=136
Glenn J. Schreuder | Apr 28, 2014

A meeting regarding the Generator noise emanating from the Caves at Soda Canyon was held at 2pm, Sunday April 27, 2014 at the Arger residence at 3030 Soda Canyon Road.

The attendees included Kosta and Julia Arger, David Hallett, Bill Hocker, Yeoryios Apallas, Mr. Johnston, Glenn Schreuder, Draselle Muscatine, Peter and Jessica Martin, Tony Fernandez and Dana Estensen and Steven and Claire Stull. Ron and Catherine Miller had planned to attend but Glenn accidentally failed to include the Miller’s email addresses on the email that set forth the revised meeting location (my sincerest apologies to the Millers) Two adorable children Holden and Alden Martin were watched/entertained by teenager Jessica Schreuder during the meeting, “hide and seek” operations were conducted by the children:

The meeting was called to order and a discussion in regard to the generator operating at the Caves at Soda Canyon began:

· The original owner of the Caves at Soda Canyon apparently gave the original lessors a 99 year lease, the caves were bored and the original lessors apparently ran out of money.

· Owner apparently tried to sell the property but there was much litigation and the property never sold.

· The current operator is “Napa Custom Crush LLC” (Ryan & Crystal Waugh) dba “The Caves at Soda Canyon”.

· Napa Custom Crush LLC has two ABC Licenses a type 02 (winegrower’s permit) and a type 17 (off-sales)

· There are currently four partners, Waugh Family Wines LLC, Lobo (Wolf), Buoncristiani and Patland that share the facility and equipment to produce their wines (up to 30,000 in aggregate) under the ABC licenses of Napa Custom Crush LLC.

· One attendee indicated he believes it is possible the operating business may not make economic sense. The project has the outward appearance of being potentially under-capitalized.

· Some contractors who worked on the project may have been asked if they wanted to settle up with an investment in the company rather than being paid in cash for the work they completed.

· The estimated costs to run a generator full time is believed to be many times more expensive than purchasing commercial electricity from PG&E.

· The electrical service must be run underground and given the distance involved as well as the rocky terrain, this is believed to cost on the order of $250K to $500K. This may be a reason why Napa Custom Crush LLC has not undertaken the work yet.

· It is believed the planning department apparently made a mistake by granting final sign off on the construction of The Caves and issued a certificate of occupancy without permanent commercial power in place, so the final sign off on the project with a generator as the primary power source was an apparent “mistake” by the County Planning department. The County may be disinclined to reverse the mistake as that could reflect negatively on them and cause the operators to object to any such reversal, even if it was originally a mistake by the county.

· The Stulls were told that in August, 2013 the winery would be running the electrical service to the winery soon, but that has yet to actually materialize.

· Is there a way to compel the county to enforce their use permit (which does not contemplate the long-term use of a generator)?

· The Stull’s have recently filed a formal complaint, attached to this email, to the County Planning Department.

· Claire Stull emphasized that the more affected neighbors that take up writing letters to the county planning department and the supervisors, the better the chance that the county will compel the Caves to fix this unusual problem.

· Someone made the point that the County doesn’t want to generate lawsuits. Neighbors should write letters to our supervisor, the honorable Bill Dodd, explaining this noise nuisance in detail and request the County require the Caves at Soda Canyon to obtain permanent commercial power from PG&E without further delay.

· Glenn suggested checking to see if the Bay Area Air Quality Management District BAAQMD to confirm that the large stationary generator is permitted by that regulatory agency.

· Tony indicated that the new Director of Planning appears to be becoming aware that compliance with County codes and ordinances is an area that may need some attention within the County department he oversees.

· There was discussion in regard to a general sense of opposition to the Mountain Peak Vineyard project, but those conversations were not part of the purpose of this meeting.

· Claire Stull is currently the lead on this project but the Stull’s and the other affected neighbors have the full and complete support of the current steering committee of Concerned Residents of Soda Canyon/Loma Vista Road. Email Clair here

· The group concluded the meeting with general sense of agreement that we will continue to work together on all fronts to preserve and protect Soda Canyon/Loma Vista from poor planning decisions and over-the-top development projects that are not in keeping with the spirit and the intent of County regulations and ordinances designed to preserve the agrarian nature of Napa County.

The Meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:15pm in time for neighbors to make it down to the Fire Station for the FireWise Meeting and BBQ lunch.

The Minute/Note Takes recommends a follow up meeting at the next appropriate juncture when new relevant information is available on this important issue. Respectfully submitted.

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