Bill Hocker | Jul 5, 2022
NVR 7/5/22: Pacaso causes stir in rural Napa County neighborhood
Pacaso, like Airbnb before it, is quickly becoming the scourge of communities worldwide that are desirable places to live. Time share ownership of luxury homes and estates used occasionally during the year, like Airbnb rentals, reduce the number of residents in a community that have a long term stake in what happens there. The sense of neighborhood disappears. Local businesses that serve real communities disappear in favor of transient oriented goods and services. And, like Airbnb on a more grandiose scale, they are apt to serve as party venues for tenants who see themselves as being on vacation and want to have a good time, an unfortunate addition to any neighborhood. Pacaso is just one more symptom of the disintegration of real life in the county being replaced by a tourism economy. It should be resisted at every opportunity and I'm glad that this neighborhood has organized to fight an unwelcome intrusion into their backyard.
But that is not what makes the story interesting to me. The chief antagonist in this case is Paul Bartelt, a civil engineer involved in the development of numerous wineries in the county, several of which have been contested by their neighborhoods, including the Mountain Peak Winery in my backyard. Not that I wish him ill -- he seems normally congenial and professional -- but I must confess, it is of some ironic comfort to see that someone so instrumental in enabling the intrusion of unwanted tourism into rural communities should now cry foul when it is his community affected.