Norm Manzer | Sep 17, 2015September 16, 2015
City of St Helena
1480 Main Street
St Helena, CA 94574
Dear Members of the City Council,
Have you ever read the headlines of a newspaper that were so beyond belief that you had to check the date of the paper to be certain it was not an April Fool’s joke? Well, that is what I had to do when I read the St Helena Star of September 10 - CITY COULD ALLOW HOTELS IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS.
Is it possible that each of you could have recommended a vacant lot somewhere near each of your own homes where you would like to see a hotel located, in spite of the fact that it is an area not zoned for a hotel? No doubt you also saw the political cartoon of the Star with the two slot machines, one labeled Calistoga and the other labeled St Helena. The Calistoga slot machine was overflowing with money while the St Helena machine was dry. There is a price to pay for what Calistoga is doing.
We have Las Alcobas under construction on Main Street. You have given encouragement to another hotel by the owner of Farmstead, and now you want to encourage some more. Take a walk in downtown Napa on a Saturday night and come back and tell us if that is what you are proposing for our St Helena.
Yes, we all know that our City of St Helena finds itself in a serious financial situation, but trying to balance the City budget upon the lives of its citizens with more hotels and neighborhood Bed and Breakfasts is an even larger disaster in the making. It is a short sighted promise for a very destructive future for our community.
Even though you say that the City is not getting many complaints about your 25 B&B permits, I believe there is a disconnect between the neighbors’ complaints to the Police Department and those same complaints making their way to the Planning Department, or even to you. Rest assured, the natives are upset about what is going on next door to them when a B&B comes to life.
I ask you to knock in the head this fantasy of more hotels and B&Bs being the answer to our financial woes, and explore other options for income. Remember, those who say “we want to take advantage of the tourists” are at the same time taking advantage of us.
103 Camino Vista
St Helena, CA 94574