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I am a citizen of Calistoga concerned that we are on a threshold of losing what we cherish most: The charm of a small community. The prospect of a new development going in at Yellow Rose with so many homes is frightening. 

I believe that we should honor the General Plan to one-acre parcels. The citizens who wrote the last General Plan kept in mind the flavor of a small community. 

We have thousands of people visiting us every year for that very same reason. People want to leave the big city behind and enjoy our sweet little town. It's really special. 

The infrastructure cannot support the proposed plan. Consider every house and condominium with at least two cars. The impact is going to be a nightmare, and if any of you experienced the traffic jam on Foothill Boulevard this weekend, God forbid if we have to evacuate again due to a fire, it will be impossible to get out. Not to forget, we only have one grocery store in town and parking is difficult now.

Next, we'll have to start widening the streets to accommodate all the cars. It's inevitable.

I can only see our city growing into a Walnut Creek situation. Then we'll start seeing the big-box stores, i.e CVS, Starbucks and McDonalds. Why? Because we have more people with more needs. Oh, and the General Plan indicates no big-box corporation stores ... yes, that can change too. Is this what we really want?

We should also put into this equation how large of a carbon footprint will this project bring. Our planet Earth is being exploited and this will only add to it.

What contributes to a carbon footprint? Practically everything we do contributes to the carbon footprint. These are a few of the most significant factors:

Driving your car: The operation of personal transport equipment is the single largest contributor to the carbon footprint of the average American citizen. We can reduce our impact by driving less. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation. Utilities: Electricity, gas, and other fuels used to power households are the second-biggest contributor to carbon footprints in the United States. This project is just more, more, more.

When we had a drought a few years ago, we were all asked to conserve water. Our aquifers are getting depleted. More houses, more water used. 

I ask the Planning Commission and City Council to be brave. Please consider not voting for the project the way it is now. One house per acre, period. Honestly, I would rather see one house every 2-3 acres, because this is such an exquisite property, and it is the second gateway to Calistoga. Let's not clutter it up. This should be a showcase.

Help save our planet and help save our beautiful city. Better yet, make this an extraordinary park. 

Carolee Arca

Calistoga

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