During the County hearings on the Mountain Peak Winery project, numerous Soda Canyon residents and other Napa citizens implored the County to significantly reduce the project size. With the requested 14,575 annual visitors bringing 40,000 additional vehicle trips to the very end of the 6.75 mile dead-end Soda Canyon Road, the proposed Mountain Peak Winery is one of the largest projects ever proposed in Napa’s hillsides. Aside from the myriad of environmental issues that this project poses,(such as the adverse impacts of moving more than 2,000,000 cubic feet of earth and soil at the mouth of Rector Canyon, which feeds directly into Rector Reservoir), Napa citizens opposed to the project addressed public safety concerns related to accidents and fire (tourists causing a fire, impeding escape routes, getting trapped at the end of the road, among others).
Tragically, all of those concerns and many more played out less than two months after the County’s permitting of the project. On Sunday night, October 8, 2017, more than 100 individuals– residents, property owners, and vineyard workers– were trapped with no escape route on Soda Canyon Road at the very entrance to Mountain Peak Winery. Lower Soda Canyon was ablaze. Surrounded by the firestorm, they were either forced to shelter in vineyards or be evacuated by CHP helicopters in 60+ mph crosswinds. In addition to two individuals on lower Soda Canyon who perished in the fire, 82% (134 of 163) of homes on Soda Canyon. were either totally or partially destroyed by the fire.
After the Atlas Fire, and as part of the ongoing lawsuit against the County and Mountain Peak, plaintiffs (composed of Soda Canyon residents/property owners), specifically requested that the Supervisors and the owners of Mountain Peak attend the January 26, 2018 mandatory CEQA settlement conference in person, as opposed to just sending their attorneys and/or “representatives,” so that the parties could have meaningful discussions.The Atlas fire has proven virtually all of plaintiffs’ public safety concerns correct. There a history of devastating wildfires in and on Atlas Peak/Soda Canyon occurring every 20-40 years since the late 1800s when records began.
While all of the plaintiffs attended, the Supervisors and Mountain Peak owners sent people without decision-making authority. Nothing was resolved.
Continued disregard of citizen concerns must stop. The catastrophic fires we endured this past October warned us that when development in rural areas is driven by greed rather than health and safety, the results can be catastrophic.
We encourage you to:
1) Write a letter to your Supervisor and/or State Legislator(s) urging them to reconsider the Mountain Peak project and the bad precedent it sets in light of the Atlas Fire:
Brad Wagenknecht, District 1
Ryan Gregory District 2
Diane Dillon District 3
Alfredo Pedroza, District 4
Jerry Brown , California Governor
Mike Thompson , U.S. Congressman (Fifth District)
Bill Dodd State Senator (District 03)
Cecelia Aguiar-Curry, State Assembly Member (District 04)
2) Make a donation to the Protect Rural Napa Education Fund, which can be done by clicking here.
Or send a check to:
Protect Rural Napa Education Fund
P.O. Box 2385
Yountville, CA 94559
3) Attend a fundraising event to continue the legal effort later this Spring or Summer (a fundraiser was scheduled for October 20, 2017, but was postponed due to the fire) – Exact date TBD.