We are writing to express grave concerns regarding the proposed development of the Yellow Rose property in Calistoga.

We have lived in Calistoga since 1999, as weekend residents from the Bay Area for the first two years, and then as full time residents on Franz Valley School Road where we built a home on 43 acres of property, in Sonoma County. About seven years ago we sold that property (which subsequently was destroyed in the Tubbs fire) and moved into town. We live on Cedar Street and have always loved the small town atmosphere and spirit that Calistoga stands for.

We feel that the proposed development on the Yellow Rose property would fundamentally change the small-town character of our town, adding congestion that we can ill afford if we are to maintain that character. In the General Plan, under the heading of “Rural Residential Land Use Designation,” just about every bullet point listed is violated in this proposal.

We are aware that our community is in need of affordable housing. The prices of homes in the proposed development would be in the range of $700-$800,000, which would attract weekend buyers, we feel, and would definitely not be affordable to most working people in our community.  

The hundreds of vehicles that would be added to our roads with a project like this would not only add congestion but also pollution to our Valley air and could be catastrophic in case of evacuation due to fires. We were very fortunate that the Tubbs fire allowed Calistogans to evacuate gradually but if the fire had come towards our town with the speed that it went over the hill, it could have been a much different story. The lessons learned from that fire should never be forgotten or ignored in the name of growth.

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We understand that the Yellow Rose property will be sold and developed but we sincerely hope that it will be developed as specified in the General Plan, “at or near one unit per acre” leaving the beautiful rural nature of that property, and allowing Calistoga to remain the “small town” that it is, not another Windsor.

As for truly affordable housing we need to explore all avenues that would provide that without sacrificing the reason that we all live in and love Calistoga.

Molly McGowan and Robert Marvan


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