After sitting vacant for years, the Calistoga Beverage plant on Silverado Trail will be put to use as a wine barrel storage facility.
The Calistoga Planning Commission on Sept. 8 unanimously approved a permit for a maximum of 8,000 barrels to be stored within about one-third of the 123,600-square-foot industrial building.
The applicant for the permit is Calistoga Vintner Services, represented by Jeffrey Redding of Napa. At the planning meeting, he said only that the enterprise is made up of locals in “Calistoga or St. Helena, with no other business interests in the city.”
The intent of the project is to help local wineries, including those in Calistoga and St. Helena, who were impacted by the wildfires and had operations disrupted. Barrel storage facilities are in short supply, Redding said, and in some cases wineries have since been denied insurance or seen their rates skyrocket.
“There is certainly a need for this (kind of project) with the current environment," said Vice-Chair Tim Wilkes. "This is certainly also a quieter, less intense use than projects we have previously approved on this site.”
The Calistoga Beverage plant, operated by the Nestle company, closed in 2009. Calistoga Vintner's plans for the use of the facility are in compliance with the city’s municipal code, and would generate less traffic and water and wastewater use than with other operations at the facility, city staff said. Plans call for up to 10 employees, and the project would operate seven days per week, from about 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to employee trips, the project would generate approximately five daily vehicle trips except during the typical six-week harvest when barrel related vehicle trips would increase to a maximum of ten trips daily.
The only question commissioners had about the project concerned plans for a second egress from the proposed Lincoln Avenue Apartment project near the property, and the 60 or so unused parking spaces at the former beverage company. That discussion has yet to take place with Calistoga Vintner Services, but there might be some arrangement made between the tenants of the property in a shared parking arrangement, staff said.
Further permits would be required to repurpose the rest of the building that won’t be used for barrel storage, should the tenants expand their interests in the future.
“Let’s wake the building back up again,” said Planning Commission Chair Scott Cooper. “I can’t imagine a better use, serving a very timely need. I think it’s a brilliant idea."
You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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