The Caves at Soda Canyon
|Mar 16, 2014|
Caves requests modifiaction in its use permit to increase tourism and employees.
County courtesy notice
Following the lodging of an appeal to the Planning Commission's approval in April 2017, a revision to the Conditions of Approval have been negotiated between the Caves and the appealing neighbor. Those changes in the COA are scheduled for discussion and BOS approval at the 2/27/18 BOS meeting. See Item 9D here.
NVR 3/1/18: Napa County wraps up The Caves at Soda Canyon saga
Within days of the April 2017 Commission's recognition and allowance of illegal construction and approval of additional capacity and visitation use of the ridge, the Caves at Soda Canyon was put up for sale at $12,500,000. It has now been removed from all listings.
An appeal has been filed to the Planning Commission decision and the Supervisors will hear the appeal now tentatively scheduled for Jan 23rd, 2018.
The property was damaged in the Oct 2017 fire, though the wine inventory survived in the caves. Their experience is described here.
In a 3-1 Commission vote The Caves at Soda Canyon will be allowed to expand its production from 30 to 60,000 gal/yr, continue to operate under generator power, build a cover over its crush pad and host marketing events on the ridgeline and the bootlegged patio.
The hearing documents are here
Napa Custom Crush has just applied for a major modification to their use permit to allow an increase from 30,000 to 60,000 gal/yr plus awning over the crush pad. Chutzpah? Perhaps they feel the new determination of the supervisors to approve everything is now in their favor. Time will tell. The bootleggers of Soda Canyon really know how to thumb their noses at the neighborhood. Twice as many trucks on the road and on that steep, steep driveway to their vineless rocky perch. Another noisy generator perhaps?
The announcement is here
The one year probation on their illegal 4th portal is up next month.
The Caves was penalized by the Planning Commission by having to board up their illegal 4th portal until this time next year when the may re-apply for another "recognize and allow" permit (perhaps with the hope that enforcement issues will not be such a hot topic by then). Enforcement of violated use-permit conditions at wineries is bound to be a significant topic of discussion at Planning Commission meetings this year. This letter to the Commission and the Supervisors from Beckstoffer Vineyards has set the stage.
5/6/15 PC hearing agenda and docs
email regarding developer's intent from the Caves former neighbor.
Napa Custom Crush aka The Caves of Soda Canyon has requested a very minor modification from the county to recognize and allow an unpermitted portal to their caves. The additional portal was dug straight through the ridge to access an also-unpermitted terrace overlooking the Napa Valley. The county is accepting letters of opposition or support through March. Contact planner Suzie Gambill at the County.
The notice of intent is here
The drawings are here
The first of the tourism-oriented wineries to be built on the road is the Caves at Soda Canyon at 2275 Soda Canyon Road. The name of the parent company is Napa Custom Crush.
30,000 gallon per year winery with, ±16,000 square feet of caves to be used for all winery operations, on-site parking for six vehicles, three full-time employees and one part-time employees, 4000 visitors / yr , three 15,000-gallon water storage tanks. The project is located on a 41.35-acre parcel, up a steep and winding drive approximately four miles north of its intersection with Soda Canyon Road and Silverado Trail.
The project operates as a custom crush and retail facility for 4 member wine labels. It is on a remote property without vines or residence, up a steep driveway unsuited for trucks. It was built here, no doubt, solely for the tourism experience of the views and the sense of remoteness it affords.
The project was already completed before the increasing concern generated by the Mountain Peak project in 2014. Had the developer just kept a low profile and tried to blend in, all may have gone well. But one of the first posts on this website in 2014 related to the Caves request for another ABC license for one of its 5 member vintners. One resident of the road, already concerned about the building of this project and the more recent approval of the Relic project, protested the license. Perhaps 20 residents jammed into a small hearing room to support the protest. It was the first action in the awakening of the Soda Canyon community to the threat of a new era of commercial retail projects on the road heralded by Mountain Peak.
The owner of the project did not ingratiate himself to the neighborhood from the start. An unresolved power supply meant years of a noisy generator on the site. And then, as concern mounted throughout the county about lax use permit enforcement at wineries, the County found that he had built a tunnel through the ridge ending in an un-permitted portal and patio overlooking the Valley. It has meant an ongoing antagonistic relationship with the road community since, now being stirred up again with the request for a doubling of capacity at the facility.
2/27/18 BOS agenda with appeal documents
2/27/18 redline of existing 4/19/17 COAs
2/27/18 Appeal staff agenda Letter
4/19/17 PC agenda with project documents
4/19/17 Final COA packet
4/19/17 PC staff agenda letter
2017 Addendum document page
2017 Addendum to Mit Neg Dec
4/1/15 PC agenda and documents
2010 Use Permit Modification
2006 Use Permit
2006 Mitigated Negative Dec
Aug 2006 Planning Commission agenda
Project Permit History
NVR 3/1/18: Napa County wraps up The Caves at Soda Canyon saga
NBBJ 12/12/17: Cave saves Napa Valley winery from Atlas Peak fire
NVR 8/30/17: Can a Napa winery run on a generator, not PG&E, forever?
NVR 4/20/17: Amid drama, Napa planners approve changes to Soda Canyon winery
NVR 4/17/17: Caves at Soda Canyon returns to Napa County Planning Commission
NVR 4/3/15: County planners ponder unauthorized winery construction
NVR 5/6/15: Planners say unauthorized winery cave portal must go
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The Caves at Soda Canyon wants more tourism
The Caves at Soda Canyon: recognize, allow, increase, sell
To the County Board of Supervisors:
The Caves: a scam from day one?
The Caves portal denied
Napa Custom Crush protest #6
The Caves: planning staff recommends denial
Napa Custom Crush protest #5
My unsent Caves letter
April 1st PC hearing
Napa Custom Crush protest #4
Caves "itty bitty permit variance"
Napa Custom Crush Protest #3
Napa Custom Crush Protest #2
Napa Custom Crush Protest #1
Bootleggers! The Caves pulls a fast one.
The Generator at Soda Canyon
Meeting Minutes regarding Caves Generator
Letter sent to PBES regarding generator
Letter to ABC presented at hearing
The Caves protest hearing Mar 27th
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