Yountville Hill Farce
Carl Bunch | Jul 10, 2014
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Subject: "Your Turn": Napa Valley Register (Tuesday, July 8)
Those of us who attended the Napa County Planning Commission hearing on July 2 pertaining to the application of Yountville Hill Winery for a use permit for a new winery on the top of Yountville Hill have had our views made known to the general Napa public by Bill Hocker, a resident of Napa. His letter, as published and characterized by the Register, refers to the process of governmental consideration of future wineries (or should I say wine tasting and "wine events") in Napa as as farce - as pure political theater. If you haven't seen the article please look for it and read it carefully. It affects all of us.
Although it should come as no surprise to those citizens who take an interest in local government activities, the County Planning Commission rolled over in a most clumsy way to approve the application of Yountville Hill Winery to build a winery on Yountville Hill, a prominent hill in the middle of the county. Mr. Hocker's observations about how the Planning Commission does its business represent a very important recitation of the kind of "work" which is done by some of our elected and appointed officials. You need to read his letter to be horrified (but not necessarily surprised).
One of the Commissioners, Matt Pope, after voicing his intention to deny the winery's request, decided, after what the Commission called a "comfort break", to fall on his sword" and reverse his position - thus resulting in a 3-1 vote to approve the request. Mr. Hocker accurately characterized Pope's change in position as a "clumsy act of political capitulation that called into question the very foundation of the public deliberative process". If you were at the meeting it was enough to make you sick.
Unfortunately, this is merely yet another example of the County officials' prevailing determinations to corrupt Napa's Ag Preserve in favor of tourism, traffic problems and water shortages and debase citizen involvement in important decisions affecting Napa Valley and the people who live here.
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