Bill Hocker | Sep 20, 2014
[sent to Judy.Barrett@abc.ca.gov with hard copy followup]
Soda Canyon is a 7 mile long crooked rural dead end road that serves an agricultural and residential community. Beginning in 2010, following the meltdown of the high-end wine industry in the recession, Napa county began passing all winery applications submitted (save one) - a total of 70 new wineries and winery expansions to date - in a desperate attempt to revive the economy. (The economy revived even before the first was built.) No consideration was given to the unique circumstances of each application. Two of these wineries were on Soda Canyon Road. On minimum properties with no grapes and up steep access roads these wineries were designed solely to attract tourists for a view of rural Napa as part of their daily wine tastings and nighttime events - at the expense of the remoteness, quiet and dark rural life that residents enjoy. A few profiteers now affect the lives of hundreds of residents on the road, and each alcohol license you approve along the road only encourages more bars to come.
This winery location is 4 miles up the road. The road is hazardous. It has blind curves and rises, blind driveways, and a one-lane bridge. Because it is tortuous with a steep grade and quite untravelled it is used by cyclists. There are only two side roads so most residents must use it for jogging and dog walking. It is not a tourist route. It is not a road appropriate for a government-sanction alcohol consumption. The permitting of alcohol service on the road is potentially injurious to drinkers, visitors and residents alike. I urge you to deny this application in the interest of public safety.
This winery is located in a rural residential community in which quiet evenings and dark nights are an important aspect of life. Noises and light are much more noticeable at much greater distances than they would be in non-remote areas. The consumption of alcohol at parties in the evening and night has a direct impact on the rural character of the community and would interfere with the quiet enjoyment of their property by the residents of the area. I urge you to deny this application. If you do not deny the application in its entirety I urge you to restrict this application to regular daytime business hours.
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