Reverie Winery

Sep 10, 2015

Just adjacent to the Calistoga Hills Resort, on Diamond Mountain Road, is the Reverie Winery, now at the epicenter of the "enforcement" debate in the valley by asking the county to "recognize and allow" its unpermitted construction and visitation. The county did so, and, in fact, the Planning Commission actually increased the allowed visitation numbers from those that the planning department determined were the current being hosted. This property is in the process of being bought by the Calistoga Hills developer, making the "allowance" of its illegality a necessity.

NVR 10/13/15: Supervisors give Reverie winery less than it wants
NVR 10/11/15: Supervisors to hear Reverie Winery appeal
NVR: Planning Commission grants most Reverie requests
NVR: County sympathetic to Reverie Winery request

12/17/15: Caloyannidis letter to County Council Minh Tran
12/8/15: Caloyannidis letter to BOS
10/13/15: Caloyannidis statement at the hearing
10/11/15: BOS appeal agenda and documents (item 8A)
July 14, 2015 Appeal document and attachments
George Caloyannidis: Comment on Reverie Winery use permit modification
George Caloyannidis: Napa County Grand Jury 2014-2015 - Addendum to the Complaint
Email and Applicant's Letter
State conditional use permit definition
June 3rd hearing notice


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The Reverie revelation

Bill Hocker - Oct 14, 2015 9:05AM  Share #1035

NVR 10/13/15: Supervisors give Reverie winery less than it wants

This was a modest victory for Mr. Caloyannidis and for us all. Visitation was reduced, after some horse trading by the Supervisors, from 10,200 down to 5640 visitors per year, or from 3900 down to 2200 cars passing through American Canyon and St. Helena each year. Of course 2200 is still 1800 more cars than their original use permit allowed.

The issue of cars versus other forms of transport came up. Supervisor Luce started pushing an idea that was first heard during the discussion on the CEQA small winery definition at APAC and the planning commission. The definition doesn't specify any numbers for visitation but establishes a 40 vehicle trips/dayr limit for all vehicles entering the winery, visitors, employees, deliveries, etc. The commissioners passed the small winery definition on to the Supervisors with the proviso that it also include a 15 visitor/day limitation on visitation. Under the county formula 15 visitors would represent about 6 cars, or 12 vehicle trips out of the 40. Without the visitor limit, those same 6 vehicles could be 50-passenger buses, representing 300 visitors/day.

It was in this context that Sup. Luce's comments at the hearing struck me as a little ominous. Supervisor Luce was the lone wolf on the Board this time. The other supervisors favored Option 2 from the Jun 3rd agenda letter: keep the illegal improvements in place but deny visitor entry to the caves and deny any increase in the visitation from the legal use permit maximums of 20 vis/day and (oddly) 20 vis/wk. (Sup. Dillon wanted even stronger sanctions.) Sup. Luce felt that the original decision of the Planning Commission should stand.

But he also brought up the issue of a different metric for winery visitation that might be used going forward: vehicles rather tourists. He made it clear in his "dissent" that he felt increased visitation was a sign of economic health and should be encouraged, but that it was traffic that needed to be mitigated. He implied that encouraging buses rather cars would allow equal visitation with less traffic. It would, of course, also allow increased visitation with the same traffic.

And as Mr. Caloyannidis pointed out later, such a solution at Reverie would actually increase traffic in the valley because all the cars would still come, perhaps as far as the Calistoga Hills resort, and then another fleet of limos or buses would be required to move them around. The only realistic approach would be to corral the visitor cars (and employee cars) at the entrance to the valley and have shuttle bus or light rail transport from there. The approach of limiting cars in favor of limo transport to the wineries would, of course be a huge boone to the limo companies, a business already beginning to control access to the hundreds of small wineries around the county.

In March, Sup. Luce dismissed traffic as a good problem representing a robust economy, so it seems here that he is seeking a solution to that good problem that doesn't inhibit its cause. I am still trying to square, however, this enthusiastic support of tourism with his previous call to eliminate future wineries in the AP zone. I'm not sure I can.

On last thing. Ginna Beharry made a final statement on behalf of the public speakers that should be repeated in essence at the end of every public comment period of every project going forward. She said:

    I just wanted to briefly point out, if you listen to the comments that have been made up to this point, most if not all of the comments in support of Reverie have been made by people who have a financial interest. And that will be also true of the attorneys who speak to you shortly. They are drivers who bring people to the winery, they are people who worked at the winery, they are fellow vintners who have financial interests in seeing their business succeed. While on the other hand those that are speaking in support of the appeal have spent their own time without compensation and have actually spent a lot of their own money to ask you to do the right thing. We have to understand what our biases are here and I think if you look at the people who are supporting the appeal it's a much more difficult and much less self-interested thing to be doing. It's not fun, it's not cheap. but we're still here.

"Recognize and allow" on trial at Reverie, Oct 13th

Bill Hocker - Oct 13, 2015 8:27AM  Share #1031

The verdict NVR 10/13/15: Supervisors give Reverie winery less than it wants
This is the statement made by Mr. Caloyannidis at the hearing: Appeal Statement

NVR 10/11/15: Supervisors to hear Reverie Winery appeal

The Reverie Winery appeal is coming up before the Board of Supervisors on Oct 13th. It has become a cause c

Reverie Appeal supporting letter

George Caloyannidis - Jul 16, 2015 12:06PM  Share #898

This the final document for the appeal to be filed later today.
A lot of interesting basic issues.

Reverie Appeal Supporting Letter

Reverie wrongdoing rewarded

Bill Hocker - Jun 24, 2015 10:54AM  Share #876

Christina Tittle LTE: Break the law, get a reward, Part 2 (read the comments)

Reverie Conditional Use Permit Breaches

Yeoryios Apallas - Jun 3, 2015 4:52PM  Share #852

[email sent to John McDowell, with copies the Heather Phillips and Anne Cottrell]

Dear John,

I have read with interest the Reverie staff report, and I must say, that this is a poster child of what is wrong with the permissive nature of the

Reverie Winery "recognize and allow" permit, Jun 3rd

Bill Hocker - May 13, 2015 10:37PM  Share #804

Another winery operating beyond the boundaries of their use-permit wants both recognition of illegal improvements and setback encroachments as well as increases in allowable capacity (80%) and visitation (900%). The project is near Calistoga, just behind the Calistoga Hills resort. It will come up before the planning commission on June 3rd.

The notice of hearing is here

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