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The proposed Yellow Rose Development, with its 121 single-family detached residential units, 50 multifamily dwelling units, and five (or more) accessory dwelling units, discredits Calistoga’s General Plan and poses an imminent threat to Calistoga’s small-town character.

The first stated goal of the Land Use section of the General Plan is to “Protect the small-town qualities of Calistoga, which include walkability, vineyards, orchards, natural habitats and open space.” The Yellow Rose property currently includes vineyards, orchards, natural habitats and open space. It would be a crying shame to lose all of that, not to mention the open vistas of the Palisades from Foothill Boulevard, and replace it with a Windsor-like cookie-cutter development.

I am particularly worried about future emergency evacuations given that the proposed high-density Yellow Rose Development has both means of egress spilling out onto Foothill Boulevard. What happens if there is a fire on Foothill Boulevard, or a downed tree, or another emergency?

I feel strongly that for safety sake, without a direct exit to town from the east side of the party, the property should not be permitted to be developed.

Less worrisome than emergency evacuations, but still troublesome, is traffic in general. We all know that the Petrified Forest Road and Foothill Boulevard crossroads is a failed intersection. The newly released traffic study states that, “the project impact to this intersection is a significant impact” and it recommends a number of mitigating measures, including a traffic signal that I’m told is already in the works. While a traffic signal might help the existing failed intersection, I have serious doubts that it will be adequate to handle the additional vehicles.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of a large development such as Yellow Rose must be considered before approval is even contemplated. I trust the city has or will require an EIR.

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Lastly, I understand the city’s desire to create workforce housing and I implore them to use Calistoga’s General Plan as the litmus test.

The General Plan states that, “By reducing the level of density allowed on the outskirts of the city, infill development is encouraged and density is feathered downward in intensity from the downtown to the city’s edge.”

The Yellow Rose property is on the outskirts of the city and as such, should remain rural residential. “Lands designated Rural Residential serve as a buffer between the agricultural lands around the city and the urbanized part of Calistoga. The intent of this land use designation is to establish a limit to the urbanized parts of Calistoga.”

Calistoga is charming … let’s keep it that way and honor its General Plan.

Betsy Kane-Hartnett 

Calistoga

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