SodaCanyonRoad | Davies Family Winery appeal update

Davies Family Winery appeal update
Geoff Ellsworth | Jan 11, 2015 on: St. Helena

Dear Friends,

We’re writing to bring you up-to-date on the proposed Davies Family Winery/Event Center in St. Helena.

As you may know, we are in the process of serving the City of St. Helena with a lawsuit to reverse the Planning Commission’s approval of the permit and the City Council’s upholding their decision. We maintain that this project is not a proposal for a winery, but rather it’s a proposal for a hospitality winery event center that negates our General Plan, zoning ordinances, and Winery Definition Ordinance. In addition, it has not properly addressed safety, traffic, and water impacts. We are now pushing to get this reviewed by a judge and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Our intent is not to deny the Davies a project but rather to ensure that their project adheres to the rules and scale of our town.

You can read this week’s cover story in the St. Helena Star for more details.

To that end, we have engaged an attorney, Ellison Folk, from the respected San Francisco environmental firm of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger. We have also gained the financial and personal support of many local citizens, including prominent members of the wine community who share our concerns about the impact this project will have on our community and infrastructure. These include John Shafer, Andy Beckstoffer, Robin Lail, Leslie Rudd, Stacy Bressler, Peter and Christy Palmisano, Gary Wagner, and many others.

You can show your immediate support in several ways:

1. We have reserved a full-page ad in next week’s St. Helena Star asking the St. Helena City Council not to defend against the suit - thereby allowing the judge to realize the current administration has shifted position and agrees with our appeal - which could save the city considerable revenue in administrative hours. We would like you to stand with us by allowing the use of your name in this ad. Please email me to let me know that your name can added.

2. You may also write to the Mayor and St. Helena City Council, asking them not to defend against the suit. (Email addresses are provided below.)

3. You can communicate directly with the Davies family, urging them to do an Environmental Impact Report and have the project re-submitted to the Planning Commission. We believe that hearing this from their peers in the community might help them decide to do the right thing.

4. You can forward this post to your friends ('email' link above) asking for their support. We have organized a group, Citizens’ Voice St. Helena, whose first objective is to have the Davies Winery/Event Center project reviewed and resubmitted. We want to unite all the citizens of St. Helena who agree that we must continue to be in compliance with the General Plan, zoning, and safety ordinances.

This is an issue that critically impacts our future quality of life in St. Helena. We believe we can reverse this decision - but we can only do it with the broad support of our community. Please join us in standing up to this project. We need your involvement as volunteers!

Sincerely yours,

Geoff Ellsworth 323-691-9621
Susan Kenward 707-246-6389

Email addresses for city government:

City Manager -
City Clerk -
Mayor -
City Council -

Sharon Crull -
Peter White -
Greg Pitts -
Paul Dohring -