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Fulton Lane offices in St. Helena

This rendering shows a pair of office buildings proposed on Fulton Lane next to the railroad tracks in St. Helena. The final design approved Tuesday adds a fence along the east side of the property and more trees to the west. Unlike the design shown here, there will be no sidewalk along Fulton Lane.

A pair of office buildings proposed along Fulton Lane just east of the railroad tracks won unanimous approval Tuesday from the St. Helena Planning Commission.

The two 30-foot-tall buildings will total 11,000 square feet on the 0.9-acre parcel at 1030 Fulton Lane, which is zoned Service Commercial. The buildings will feature barn-inspired architecture. No tenants have been identified.

Applicant David Wignall made several concessions in response to neighbors’ concerns about the size of the buildings, drainage, noise and visual screening. Wignall agreed to reduce the building height from 35 feet to 30 feet, install sump pumps to help with drainage, confine HVAC units to the attic, plant more trees on the west side of the property, and build a fence screening the 35-space parking lot from the house just east of the site.

Commission Chair Lester Hardy thanked the applicant and the neighbors for compromising and maintaining a civil tone during the two-hour hearing.

“They don’t always go this way, (but) this is the better way,” Hardy said. “All of us here appreciate that because we know what it took to get to this point.”

The project was designed with a full sidewalk to comply with city code, but neither the applicant nor the neighbors were in favor of it. So instead of a full sidewalk along Fulton Lane, the commission approved an alternate pedestrian access leading across the tracks and onto the property.

Under the terms of a deferred improvement agreement, the landowner will be required to build a full sidewalk, curb and gutter along the front of the property if the city ever deems it necessary. A full sidewalk is unlikely in the near future, but if sidewalks are installed along the rest of Fulton Lane in the coming decades, the agreement will prevent there from being a gap in front of the office buildings.

Other action

  • The commission also approved a small brewing system behind Cook Tavern. Owner Jude Wilmoth plans to use wort transported from off-site to brew 100 barrels of beer per year, the minimum required to qualify for a Type 75 “brewpub” liquor license.
  • The commission allowed Snowden Vineyards to offer limited tastings in a small office on the second floor of the Vasconi’s building.
  • The commission approved the relocation of a tasting room use permit on the Vineland Station property along Vidovich Avenue. The permit will move from one space to another space on the same property.

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St. Helena Reporter

Jesse has been a reporter for the St. Helena Star since 2006.