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How soon they (conveniently?) forget

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Measure C was, indeed, contentious and hard fought on both fronts. Even so, one of the things that those both for and against Measure C seemed to agree on is that event centers are a significant cause of traffic congestion on our roads and highways.

In case you have already forgotten, here are some points taken directly from the “No on C” campaign literature that was delivered to households throughout Napa County:

“Measure C will encourage the development of luxury homes and event centers that are the real threats to our hillsides and viewshed.”

“As a result, Measure C will increase traffic on our already congested roads and on Highway 29.”

Interestingly, some of the staunchest backers of the No on C campaign have forgotten—most significantly Marc Mondavi, co-proprietor of C. Mondavi & Family, which was identified by the Napa Valley Register as one of the earliest major financial backers of the No on C campaign. (Napa Valley Register, May 28, 2018.)

Marc Mondavi and his wife, Janice, have submitted a proposal for a new 50,000-gallon-per-year winery (Aloft Winery), to be located on a 50.07-acre parcel in Angwin. Among other things the proposed winery would include 28,106 square feet of wine caves; production uses totaling 31,770 square feet; accessory uses totaling 5,066 square feet including a 353-square-foot commercial kitchen; a 630-square-foot outdoor covered work area; and a 3,000-square-foot outdoor hospitality area.

In other words, this new winery would be an event center, which, according to the campaign Mondavi helped fund, would be a threat to our hillsides and an additional source of traffic congestion.

The proposed winery’s marketing plan includes 20 visitors per day “on the busiest day.” However, it also includes:

-- Two “Wine & Food Pairing Events” per month with a maximum of 40 people at each one.

-- Four “Release/Wine Club Events” per year with up to 75 people at each one

-- Two “Larger Auction-related Events” per year with up to 125 people at each one

That’s a significant number of visitors a year, not to mention whatever number of employees will be required to serve them, in addition to the additional employees required to operate the enlarged winery and whatever additional trucking will be required. (And that’s just until they ask to increase the number of visitors, which seems to be happening more and more frequently.)

And while those numbers might seem like a drop in the bucket considering the millions who visit the Napa Valley each year, it will represent a significant impact to the folks who live or work in Angwin and represents yet another incremental increase in the overall traffic problem throughout the county.

Plus, those numbers need to be looked at in conjunction with all of the new event centers, both proposed and underway, and the proposals to increase the size and visitation to existing ones. And there needs to be some coordination between the county and the various municipalities, because what happens in any one of those places, impacts us all.

I think the voters (and the applicant) made their concerns very clear in the last election. Traffic is one of the major issues that must be addressed in the Napa Valley, and event centers are one of the leading causes of the traffic congestion that plagues everyone, including visitors.

So, until the county has developed a realistic plan to deal with traffic, there should be a moratorium on any and all proposals such as this, for new event centers, or proposals requesting increases in visitation at existing event centers.

I think the backers of the No on C campaign would agree.

Elaine de Man

St. Helena

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