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Anne Ward Ernst/The Weekly Calistogan

Michelle Gervais, who is working with the Bounsall family on their winery project, presents the new design to the Calistoga Planning Commission. More than an hour was spent prior to this presenting a much larger plan that was rejected by officials.

Sent away again by the planning commission, the Bounsall Family Winery project is still a no-go and still presents traffic and safety concerns, but officials said the scaled-back project is headed in the right direction.

“This is in the direction of what we were thinking for the property, but it’s for half the property. I don’t think you’re listening,” said Jeff Manfredi, chairman of the Calistoga Planning Commission.

At first looking for a go-ahead from the commission on a plan that Manfredi and others called too big and included two wineries, an event center, produce stand, deli and other buildings, a new plan was presented that left the back half of the Foothill Boulevard property as-is.

The new project’s plan is for one winery on the east side of the property with a tank room, barrel storage facility, tasting room and office building, a deli and wine shop, and a building for a fruit stand.

The fruit stand may “change a bit,” Michelle Gervais said Tuesday.

Gervais presented the new plan at the meeting and said discussions with the Bounsalls are continuing as they are “still sorting” out details of the property plan.

Officials said they would be unlikely to approve a plan that included anything that might take away from existing businesses in the center of town, and said limiting the plans to just one winery would be looked upon favorably.

Gervais said the feedback from the commissioners was useful.

“The comments are helpful though not altogether surprising,” she said at the meeting.

Audience members bristled when Gervais presented the newer, scaled-back plan after more than an hour was spent presenting the larger plan.

“See, they knew,” one woman whispered to another when the new plan came out.

The Bounsall property’s boundary is shared by Jennifer Barkley’s grandmother, Elizabeth Hammond. Barkley read a letter written by Hammond to the commission, which in part expressed concerns for the floodplain, the process of the extensions given, and water usage.

“There’s been a lack of consistency,” Barkley said about the project’s changes.

The half-property plan that now works with about four acres — or about 31 parcels — was met with more encouragement by the commission.

“If I didn’t know about the other (plan), I could support this one,” said Commissioner Walter Kusener.

And Commissioner Scott Cooper found the “less complicated” plan “easier to understand.”

Commissioners applauded the elimination of an event center that the Bounsalls had intended to host weddings and other events.

Still the size and scope of the project needs work, officials said.

“Maybe we need to work harder at trimming,” Gervais told The Weekly Calistogan.

“The Bounsalls are very earnestly trying to meet direction from commission,” she said.


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