Having attended the Calistoga City Council meeting on May 21, I would like voice my concern about the haste in which a matter of significant public interest was rushed through an “approval” process.

On May 9, PG&E sent a proposal to the City of Calistoga to build a permanent power plant infrastructure for seven seasonal diesel generators on city property. Within 10 days, the proposal was put into a formal resolution and placed on the city council meeting agenda, where it was to be voted on without discussion, debate, or public comment. Once the meeting was underway, the council agreed to allow discussion.

PG&E representatives gave a presentation. Board members from the Calistoga Little League and the Calistoga Community Garden voiced their concerns after their members alerted them of the proposal. The representative from the Dog Park submitted their objections to being displaced. Other neighboring businesses and residents were absent, seemingly unaware of the proposal. Residents from the west side of the Napa River voiced fears that while they will hear the generators, they will not benefit from them.

People asked for more details, like why it could not be moved farther down the bike trail, and what’s it going to look like? What is PG&E’s plan to safely fuel and refuel diesel tanks stored in the flood zone? What part of Calistoga with be supplied by the generated electricity? Unfortunately, the PG&E engineer was unable to give many specifics, but did agree to collaborate with the community after they had been granted the easement.

A day later, the planning commission approved a use permit and design review application for a preschool to be built on city property. Is PG&E going to provide detailed plans and go through a similar review process?

I get the sense of urgency, but minimizing public participation in an important matter of public interest is never a good idea. 

Brian Fennen 


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