The Carneros Inn and Lodge has the potential of being an upgraded addition to the area, or to become a gigantic sore spot. As proposed, it will be a sore spot.
In March, the Napa Valley Register cited five problems. Sadly, only one of the five is solved: The Board of Supervisors removed the main entrance from Old Sonoma Road.
The neighbors of Keep Carneros Country, and members of Get a Grip on Growth still insist that the resort be limited to 120 rooms, a much smaller conference facility, a traffic light placed to solve the Carneros problems and the posting of large performance bonds to guarantee surrounding wells if they dry up.
* Traffic circulation is still a huge problem. Realize that they want to build the largest conference facility in Napa County, able to seat 860 people.
* They propose to help with their "fair share" of a signal, one percent of the cost.
* They want to have 170 rooms, two restaurants, two spas, a store, office and post office. Yet they prefer to send all of this traffic over two county roads, before directing it to the highway.
* Most of these rooms are timeshares. Thus there will be no hotel tax, no property tax to pay for upkeep.
* Water is still a huge problem. When the board allowed them the standard one acre foot per acre, the developers simply adjusted their predicted water use to fit. They used such gimmicks as one minute showers, eliminating 24 units from swimming or eating there and using figures for rooms and restaurants that are well below average in Napa resorts.
* They have failed to prove that their wells can produce the water that will be needed during the peak season. Well tests in 2001 failed and no others have been done.
* Wastewater will all be discharged on their landscaping, a level of watering that prompted one board member to quip that they were also going to do hydroponic gardening. We, the people, will have to fight at the regional board if they spill over onto neighboring parcels or fill the ditches.
* They still do not propose to merge the parcels under common ownership, thus creating a "Mustards/Cosentino" type of joint ownership of utilities. We know that when these systems need work, as they always do, there will be more blaming the other guy than there will be money to fix the problems.
When Supervisor Wagenknecht gave out a questionnaire about this resort, he found that 80 percent of the respondents opposed it. They are going to get some kind of project here due to zoning, but it is up to the members of the board to see that it is a good neighbor.
(Eve Kahn and Ginny Simms live in Napa.)