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My workshop was built to code in 1991 and I used it for 23 years consistent with the permit, storing and working with wood and power tools. There were no red tags.

Recently, a local craftsman rented the space to store wood and make his fine wood products, continuing the previous usage of storage and light manufacturing. Beforehand, I checked the General Plan which generally encourages “small scale light industrial uses” there, and Calistoga’s Urban Design Plan which describes the area as suitable for commercial work and storage. This craftsman seemed like a perfect fit.

However, a strict reading of the current code and conditions for usage listed 29 years ago shows his operation may not satisfy them in every way today.  Mea culpa. The enumeration of those ways may seem sensational.  Compliance may thwart the craftsman’s operation. Still, we will comply. 

Any story may emphasize selected aspects. The story of the previous tenant who precipitated a red tag includes, in addition, heart-warming features such as compassionate police diligence, waiving of thousands of dollars in rent, and averting homelessness. 

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Election to office doesn’t endow anyone with special knowledge. Like others on council, I’m basically a volunteer -- fallible but also pretty positive in my outlook and disposition. Ideally, we can work together respectfully as a community; engage in adult conversations; and grow in wisdom and compassion.

Reader, please contact me personally if you’ve questions or comments.

Don Williams

Calistoga

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