Voters in Napa, Calif., will decide in November if the golf course can serve the general public at its restaurant. Agricultural land usage is regularly put to a public vote in the area, and the course’s current permit limits use of the restaurant to patrons who played golf or came in connection with a golf event.
Residents in Napa, Calif., will vote on whether the Chardonnay Golf Club can serve the general public at its restaurant on November 6, the Napa Valley Register reported.
Agricultural land usage in the area has been regularly put to a public vote since 1990. Since then, residents have voted on 14 measures, including restaurant additions, storage facility expansions and the continuation of a pumpkin patch and deli, the Register reported.
Roger Billings, General Manager of Chardonnay, is hoping residents will vote “yes” on the latest measure. Chardonnay’s permit limits use of the restaurants to patrons who played golf or came in connection with a golf event, the Register reported.
County staff said that restriction was difficult to enforce, and Billings said it never was. Though Chardonnay never advertised as a public restaurant, the wait staff never turned people away, the Register reported.
“Obviously, we’re serving them,” Billings said. “And we have been for decades. Essentially the county has looked the other way. We just want to continue to operate this place the way it has been run for 20 years.”
Chardonnay’s restaurant sits on land designated as agricultural, watershed and open space in the general plan, so the board ordered staff to prepare a ballot measure, the Register reported.
Billings said Chardonnay will launch a public relations campaign in support of the measure. He’s also spoken to a Santa Rosa, Calif.-based public relations firm about options for promoting the change, such as reaching out to supporters and regular golfers through email and social media networks, the Register reported.
“We’ve got a strong constituency of supporters,” Billings said. “Word of mouth is the best communication vehicle we have.”
Chardonnay is not looking to expand, Billings added; the club only seeks an official blessing for business it is already doing. No counter-arguments to the measure have been filed, and the Napa County Farm Bureau has decided not to take a position on the measure, the Register reported.
“Through the whole process there really hasn’t been anyone who’s objected to the intent” of what the measure seeks to accomplish, Billings said. “Where they’ve objected is the methodology.”
Billings said the course is perfectly suited to serve lunch to people who work in the airport industrial area. The restaurant offers breakfast, almost exclusively to golfers, and lunch, which includes members of the public. Though lunches do not account for a large part of Chardonnay’s revenue, Billings said anything helps in a poor economy, the Register reported.
If the measure does not pass, Billings said Chardonnay would comply.
“I’ve tried to put myself in the place in the average resident in the city of Napa,” Billings said. “I don’t see what the big deal is about going to the golf course to have lunch.”