Inn at the Abbey
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Bill Hocker | Dec 6, 2023

Update 5/4/24
On 5/21/24 the Supes will be "considering" the proposed Development Agreement for the the project, a 79 unit hotel, staff housing and 5 residential units, taking public comment and giving direction to staff prior to the project being reviewed at the Planning Commisssion at a later date.
Hearing Notice
Project Documents

Update 12/5/23

NVR 12/6/23: Napa County supervisors see housing an issue for The Inn at the Abbey

Supes voted to have staff come back at beginning of year for another scoping session based on their comments. As with the Oak Knoll Hotel, Supes, led by Sup. Pedroza, saw the need to produce actual affordable housing (more commensurate with the number of added employees) as part of the project rather than just affordable housing fees. This is a hopeful trend in obtaining approvals, one that should also apply to wineryies. Tying the actual impacts of job creation to the projects that create those jobs would bring a much more deliberative process in the potential urbanization of the county.

Staff Agenda Letter
Video of 12/5/23 Board Meeting

Update 11/28/23
NVR 11/28/23: Proposed Napa Valley hotel near Freemark Abbey back in public arena

In their own scoping session, Supervisors will assess the project in consideration of a possible development agreement. If the project is realized it will be one more precedent on the road to a true Las Vegas of Wine where entertainment revenues totally eclipse the need to produce or sell wine.

Update 8/6/20
NVR 8/6/20: Napa County takes initial look at proposed Highway 29 hotel
8/5/20 PC meeting video
8/5/20 PC agenda and docs
Project Documents

A "scoping session" will be held by the Napa County Planning Commission on Aug 5, 2020 for The Inn at the Abbey, a resort project being developed as an extension of the Freemark Abbey north of St. Helena. The meeting agenda with project documents is here. The project will be presented, and the public and planning commissioners will have a chance to weigh in on the project prior to the Planning Department's preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.

Notice of Preparation of the Environmental Imapct Report

This is one of several projects under government review in which the wine industry is making its way into the hotel business. The Farmstead Hotel and the Hall Winery Hotel are also under review. In addition there are at least a couple of projects in which a winery is integral to the resort being developed: Marriott AC Hotel being developed with a winery next door. And the under development Calistoga Hills Resort bought the Reverie Winery and vineyards next door. And then, of course, there is the mammoth Guenoc Valley development proposed just over the county line.

The combination of wine making and hotel accommodation is a new paradigm in Napa County but also, in fact, just represents a continuum in the conversion wine production facilities into tourism venues, first with paid wine tasting and then with food service. Wineries are now only being built based on the tourism related "experiences" and income they produce. The incorporation of lodging into that "experience" is the next step. It is an ominous direction for those that feel that Napa County has already become overburdened by tourism impacts: traffic, housing shortages, loss of local businesses and small-town life.

There are well over 500 official wineries in Napa County. As more winery-hotel projects are realized, the wineries currently prohibited from increasing their revenue stream with overnight guests will agitate for the further loosening of the WDO, as they did for food service, to allow them to compete. Converting wineries into hotels puts Napa County on the road to become a wine-themed Las Vegas. It's easy to imagine what the Palazzo di Amorosa or The Prisoner Cells will be like. Considering how hard Napa has resisted the incursion of casinos into the county, it is odd that they seem to be so willing to consider this transformation.

George Caloyannidis, in a written comment for the scoping session, has asked county planners to consider the cumulative impacts of similar projects, existant and proposed, near the project as required by the State for the production of an Environmental Impact Report. It is an analysis often glossed over with token mitigations in the planning review resulting in a conclusion in the EIR of less-than-significant impacts. Yet the impacts of project after project being built in the county, bringing ever more visitors, employees, traffic, strain on services and resources, loss of rural character and small-town life, have begun to impact everyone that lives here - very significantly.
Caloyannidis Comment about cumulative impacts of resort projects

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