SodaCanyonRoad | Letter sent to PBES regarding generator

Letter sent to PBES regarding generator

Steven Stull | Apr 28, 2014 on: The Caves at Soda Canyon

[copy of letter sent to County Planning Building & Environmental Services]

April 22, 2014

Linda St. Claire
Code Enforcement Officer
Napa County PBES
1195 Third Street, Second Floor
Napa, CA 94559

Via email to

RE: The Caves at Soda Canyon - 2275 Soda Canyon Road

Dear Ms. St. Claire:

Our home is located at 2291 Soda Canyon Road and is adjacent to the Caves at Soda Canyon winery located at 2275 Soda Canyon Road. Please accept this letter as a formal complaint regarding the winery's use of a portable generator as its sole power source.

We started hearing the winery's generator around August 2013. At that time, we contacted Michael Freeman, CFO of Waugh Winery regarding the generator noise. Mr. Freeman seemed apologetic and asked for our patience until the winery completed the 2013 harvest. After that time he indicated that the generator would only be on during business hours. He indicated that they were working with PG&E and that electricity would be installed by the end of the year. Because we live in an agricultural community and we appreciate that construction comes with a certain amount of noise, we did not contact Napa County at that time. However, the generator use has continued far past the 2013 harvest, and we are concerned that there may not be a viable plan to connect to PG&E within a reasonable timeframe. In my most recent conversation with Mr. Freeman he assured us that everything had been worked out with PG&E and that electricity would be installed within the next six months.

We owned our home when the winery was first permitted, and we received notice of our neighbor's planned winery. However, running the winery with an outdoor generator was not part of that proposal. The generator is quite loud and has been run day and night. This is a burden on us and other neighbors, and we do not feel it is appropriate (or consistent with County regulations) for the winery to continue using the generator for an unlimited period of time. It was our understanding Mr. Waugh must get power from PG&E as a condition of approval to operate their winery.

In the near term, we ask that the County require screening and muffling of the winery's generator to reduce the noise. Our counsel advises us that the County has the authority impose this requirement under the winery's conditions of approval regarding outdoor winery equipment, which must be muffled to avoid impacting neighbors. Also, we ask that the generator only be allowed to run during the normal business hours (9-5).

To address the operation of the winery over the long term, we ask that Napa County work with the winery to establish a defined timeframe for connection to PG&E through the underground utilities proposed in the winery's permit. We believe it's in everyone's interest to set a defined timeline now. Since they have assured us that this will be completed within six months it would seem like they would have no problem agreeing to an October 15th date. Knowing when the winery is expected to connect to PG&E will give neighbors comfort that the situation will be resolved and allows Napa County to set forth its expectations for the winery.

Please feel free to contact us should you need any additional information. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Steven & Claire Stull