Fish and game officials push for more extensive review of St. Helena Road project

State fish and game officials warn that a proposed winery northeast of Santa Rosa could damage critical habitat for endangered wildlife species and are urging a more extensive review of the project.

That view supports property owners along St. Helena Road who are opposed to winery plans submitted by Wall Street executive Henry Cornell.

Cornell, a managing partner for global investment firm Goldman Sachs, contends the 10,000-square-foot winery and 8,000-foot storage cave he wants to construct on Wappo Road will use as much water as a two-bedroom house and pose no threat to the environment.

But echoing neighbors' concerns, state Department of Fish and Game officials stated in a report to Sonoma County planners their fear that runoff from roads and buildings related to the project could lead to more sediment in Mark West Creek.

Any additional blockage or reduction of water flow in the creek could pose a threat to steelhead trout and Coho salmon, particularly during dry summer months when the fish are at their most vulnerable, the report states.

"Any adverse effects of reduced flow should be avoided, minimized or mitigated to a level of insignificance," the report stated.

The report was submitted to the county's Board of Zoning Adjustments, which is considering whether to approve Cornell's use permit.

A Nov. 13 hearing to settle that issue was delayed indefinitely after neighbors opposed to the project voiced their concerns.

"I've not seen anybody other than somebody retained by Cornell that has anything good to say about the project," said Steve Krimel, a retired criminal defense attorney who lives on St. Helena Road.

Cornell's attorney did not return a phone call Friday.

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