I am writing to object to the proposed Farmstead Lodging project as it has been submitted. Mr. Hall, the project’s creator, claims his proposal: “Is right for our community and its values.” I disagree for the following reason.
In the past 10 years, California has sustained its most severe drought period in the state’s history. St. Helena’s City Council has imposed water restrictions three times in the last six years with the most recent restriction taking effect July 1, 2020. City Council imposed its latest restriction as a warning to remind our community that we need to, once again employ additional water conservation practices or be subject to greater restrictions later in the year. If Phase Two water restrictions are approved, occupants of single-family homes will be allotted 65 gallons per day per occupant.
Mr. Hall’s proposed lodging concept includes 65 lodging rooms, two swimming pools, a fitness center, spa, and a multipurpose building consisting of a demonstration kitchen, customary kitchen, bar, and breakfast room. According to consultants, the entire facility will only use 1.8 million gallons per year. However, it’s doubtful this estimate is realistic. The figures beg the question: how many customers, paying more than $900 a night for lodging, will be mindful of the number of showers or toilet flushes made in a day?
My question to Mr. Hall and to our City Council is; where is the additional water going to come from to support this project? Hundreds of low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets will still use a large quantity of water. In consideration of our city’s limited water supply, Mr. Hall’s project will use more water than we can afford to share. And, as things currently stand, the only way to provide Mr. Hall the water he is seeking is to require current water customers to use less.
I understand our city is in search for more revenue to provide the services we want and need. I just want our city leaders to concurrently find ways to provide the water for new developments as they arise, rather than expect the rest of us to use less.
Tom and Margot Belt
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