SodaCanyonRoad | SCR April 2015 Update

SCR April 2015 Update
Bill Hocker | Apr 1, 2015 on: Soda Canyon Road

April 2015 Update

Members and friends of the Soda Canyon Community,

This has been a significant month.

The Mar. 10th Joint BOS - Planning Commission meeting

On March 10th 2015, a year and a week after most of us found out about the Mountain Peak project on Soda Canyon Road, the county begun a process of reviewing not just the Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO) that allowed the project to be proposed, but also discussions with the cities over the trajectory of future development that threatens both the resources necessary for an agricultural economy and the quality of the rural, small-town life that is its byproduct. Bill Hocker's summary of that meeting with links to related documents is here.

Creation of APAC

The first action to come out of that meeting has been the creation of the Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee. The committee, composed of 17 members representing a wide constituency of interest groups including 2 members specifically representing community groups such as ours, will begin to review the WDO and other related ordinances. The Napa Vision 2050 organization that was formed in February to serve as an umbrella for the many community groups in the county has presented its slate of candidates to serve on the committee. An article on Vision 2050 was just published in the Register here.

Diane Shepp, of Protect Rural Napa, the group lobbying on behalf of Soda Canyon Road has been proposed as an alternate to Dan Mufson of the Watersheds Alliance for Atlas Peak, who is also the chairman of the Vision 2050 coalition.

Coming up this week (the calendar is here):

Planning Commission: Wed Apr. 1st: Napa Custom Crush (aka The Caves of Soda Canyon) Update

Planning Commission hearing Wed April 1st, 9:00 am
The Planning Commission agenda is here
Location: 2741 Napa Valley Corporate Drive

The Caves of Soda Canyon has requested a modification to their use permit to "recognize and allow" unpermitted terraces and a new portal to their caves. Also included is a request to use the terraces for tastings and events (up to 11:00pm!). The additional portal was dug straight through the ridge to access a view overlooking the Napa Valley.

The county is accepting letters of opposition at any time prior to the hearing. Contact planner Suzie Gambill at the County. Protest letters are shown in the comments on the the SCR Caves Page

The drawings are here

Other Issues on the Apr 1st. agenda

There are two other issues on the Apr. 1st agenda that are also quite meaty and worth commenting upon.

Bell Winery Use Permit Modification to allow a sixfold increase in visitation, commercial kitchen, out door wine consumption, unlimited busses, large volume wastewater system - all the necessities required to turn a normal winery into a full-food-service event center. This is another poster child for the transition from an agricultural to a tourist economy.

Water Availability Analysis (WWA): Approval of these new regulations will make the review of groundwater available for the development of projects like Mountain Peak, a much more rigorous affair.

If possible please show up for the hearing. It is always important that the county sees that the residents of Soda Canyon Road are concerned about the impacts of tourist event centers in their neighborhood.

April 19th Memorial for Volker Eisele

A memorial for the man who had more to do with protecting the agricultural character of the county than any other individual will be held at the Charles Krug Winery, Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. The invitation with RSVP is here (you will have to log in).

Upcoming Community BBQ in May

On April 19th it will be one year since our first community meeting around the potential of the Mountain Peak project. We had been hoping to have another Soda Canyon Road community BBQ on that date but it is the same day as the Volker Eisels memorial for Volker Eisele and so well are tentatively scheduling it for May. We will send out an announcement as food as possible.

Mountain Peak Update

Planner Sweveta Sharma indicated last month that the Mountain Peak project has not yet been resubmitted and that a notice to neighbors within 1000' of the project would be notified at the time of re-submission. Once submitted, it will take several months for the county to review the project at this point.


Community involvement in the last year has managed to change the climate at the county government from a concentration on increased development to a concern for the undesirable future that development is creating. Your voice matters to the future we will all share on Soda Canyon Road and in the rest of the County. Write letters, make a sign, speak or just show up at the meetings. You may also log in on the website and add comments or email them to bill and he will add them.

Bill Hocker
Diane Shepp
Glenn Schreuder