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Proposed Lake Berryessa, Napa County Airport renovations see behind-the-scenes action
Proposed Lake Berryessa, Napa County Airport renovations see behind-the-scenes action

Proposed Lake Berryessa, Napa County Airport renovations see behind-the-scenes action

Spanish Flat Resort

Spanish Flat Resort at Lake Berryessa is one of the resorts targeted for renovation.

Contenders are seeking to renovate Lake Berryessa resorts in eastern Napa County and Napa County Airport in the south county, but to date, the action has been behind closed doors.

Somebody wants to build new marinas and other features at Lake Berryessa. Somebody wants to build an additional terminal and bring new services for planes to the airport. That much has been made public, but little more.

Napa County previously announced interested parties answered request-for-proposals for both projects. It didn’t say how many or reveal the identities.

The county Board of Supervisors has in recent weeks met in closed sessions to address both the Lake Berryessa and airport projects.

For all the public knows, the Lake Berryessa resorts and the airport renovation efforts could be thriving or unraveling behind closed doors. While not giving details, Board of Supervisors Chairperson Alfredo Pedroza on Monday struck an upbeat tone.

”We're very fortunate to be in this moment of time when people want to do business here," Pedroza said. "We have to make sure it’s not short-term, that it's sustainable.”

California’s Ralph M. Brown Act open meeting law allows supervisors to hold closed sessions for real estate negotiations limited to price and terms of payment. The agenda must identify the negotiating party. But don’t look there to figure out who wants to renovate the resorts and airport.

County agendas for both the Berryessa and airport closed sessions identify the negotiating party only as the “firm to be selected.” The Napa Valley Register asked the county to explain how that complies with the law.

The person/entity the Board of Supervisors selects will be publicly identified, as well as other respondents, the county said in an email statement.

“However, at this stage, the law is intended to protect and maintain the leverage the county has going into negotiations with some or all of the respondents, so the Board can arrive at the best price and terms of payment for the public,” the statement said.

Supervisors know the names of the parties the county is negotiating with, but have been instructed to keep the information confidential, the statement said.

Napa County is overseeing redevelopment and operations for the Spanish Flat, Steele Canyon, and Monticello Shores resorts, which are on federally owned land. That involves selecting concessionaires to do the work.

The county is waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to say proposals from prospective concessionaires comply with Bureau requirements. Next, the county Board of Supervisors will give direction on negotiations, the county's May 3 statement said.

Before the Board of Supervisors votes on a staff recommendation, the county will reveal the names of all respondents. Supervisors will consider the staff recommendation in public session before giving final approval, the statement said.

“I’ve never been more optimistic than now about Lake Berryessa," Pedroza said Monday. "I’m very excited about the future of the lake, of having economic development that is sustainable, that works for Napa County and Lake Berryessa residents.” 

The Napa County airport is a separate closed session matter. In this case, the county is looking for another fixed-base operator for the airport, in addition to long-time operator Lynx FBO Network.

Once again, the closed session agendas identify the party the county is negotiating with as “the firm to be selected.”

The county’s goal is to remake part of the World War II-era airport that it calls the “Skyport to Wine Country.” The airport located near south county wetlands serves corporate jets, charter and cargo flights, and private aircraft owners.

An additional fixed-base operator would build an additional terminal. It would provide additional hangar space, fueling, and other services.

“In order to maintain its negotiating position, the county does not release the names or number of firms that respond to (request for proposals) until the selected firm has committed to all deal points and lease language,” Public Works Director Steven Lederer said.

Meanwhile, the county is also negotiating with Lynx. Lynx would also build new facilities of its own, with the existing 1952 terminal expected to be torn down in 12 to 14 months, county officials said. The county would have two fixed-base operators.

“The county anticipates these new facilities will provide for an attractive entrance, both from Airport Road and the taxiways to the airport,” Lederer said.

Napa County recently agreed to waive $32,000 in unpaid rent and late fees for “The Runway by Patrick” restaurant in the airport terminal. It also terminated the lease.

The county in February 2020 had reassigned the lease to Bouazza Kostali and Mohamed Alshaer in an effort to keep the financially struggling restaurant open. However, COVID-19 restrictions halted restaurant operations, county reports said.

Napa County plans to do $25 million in road maintenance projects in unincorporated areas this year.

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You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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