The City of Calistoga is poised to own and control the future of the Napa County Fairgrounds property following agreement announced by Napa County and City of Calistoga officials.
Under the agreement, the City of Calistoga would acquire the entire Fairgrounds property for $225,000 per acre, in an “as is condition”, for the total estimated price of $15,885,000. The agreement also includes a revenue-sharing formula on future development of the property.
The 70-acre Fairgrounds property was for many years home to the Napa County Fair, the Calistoga Speedway, the Mount Saint Helena golf course, the Calistoga RV Park, and other public assets. While parts of the property are still rented for meetings and special events, it has been largely inaccessible to the public and has fallen into serious disrepair. The golf course officially closed in 2019.
City and County officials said the agreement represents a bright future for the Fairgrounds property and especially for Calistoga residents and businesses, who will have significant input into the property’s future uses.
“After many years of discussions and compromise by both parties, the City of Calistoga and the County of Napa are poised to present an opportunity for Calistoga to acquire ownership and operation of the Napa County Fairgrounds located in the heart of the City of Calistoga and return it to its intended purpose of public use. While some of the terms and conditions may not be ideal, they are acceptable to both parties at this point and ready for consideration by the public,” said Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning.
“The parties have persevered, through wildfires, a pandemic and an economic downturn, and have finally produced a positive result for the people of Napa County and especially for the City of Calistoga,” said Napa County Board of Supervisors Chair Ryan Gregory. “I’m optimistic that the County and City will continue to collaborate so that this important community asset can return to long-term, beneficial public use,” said Gregory.
To facilitate the transaction, the City of Calistoga has begun to assess the formation of a Community Facility District (“CFD”) in accordance with the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, and the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, which will be subject to approval by Calistoga voters, likely via all-mail ballot in early 2023.
Key Milestones Leading to Today’s Announcement
- In 2016, the Calistoga City Council appointed an ad hoc Council Committee to discuss the creation of a Joint Powers Authority with Napa County for the Napa County Fairgrounds, pursuant to which the City and the County would jointly operate the Fairgrounds. In March 2018, following the reordering of priorities by the County, Calistoga’s ad hoc committee shifted focus and began discussions with the County related to the purchase by the City of some or all of the Fairgrounds. The Napa County Board of Supervisors also appointed an ad hoc committee for this purpose.
- Over the course of the following two years (2017-18), the City and County negotiated for the City to purchase approximately 34.3 acres of the Fairgrounds property. The Fairgrounds property was at that time the home to the Napa County Fair in Calistoga, the Calistoga Speedway, the St Helena RV Park, several buildings, and other community facilities.
- On January 23, 2019, the Calistoga Planning Commission considered the location, purpose, and extent of the acquisition of the approximately 34.3 acres of the Fairgrounds property pursuant to Government Code 65402(a) and confirmed that the acquisition of the Property was in conformity with the City’s General Plan and was consistent with Objective OSC-4.5 and General Plan Policies P4.5-1, P4.5-2, and A4.5- 1.
- Unfortunately, in May 2020, due to the unprecedented financial conditions associated with the COVID19 Pandemic, the City and the County mutually concurred that the transaction contemplated by the Purchase and Sale Agreement should not move forward due to changed circumstances related to the COVID-19 crisis; accordingly, the City and County both moved to terminate the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
- In the fall of 2021, the City reached out to the County to determine if there was interest in selling the entire Fairgrounds property (approximately 70.6 acres) (the “Property”). The additional acreage primarily consists of the 9-hole golf course, pro shop and two residences.
- The City Council appointed a Subcommittee consisting of Mayor Canning and Councilmember Donald Williams to work with the City Attorney and City Manager to negotiate a new Purchase and Sale Agreement with the County.
- On September 8, 2022, the City’s negotiating team completed negotiation of the major terms and conditions of the Purchase & Sales Agreement (“PSA”) and Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions (“Declaration”) including provisions for sharing of certain future net revenues and certain RHNA credits attributable to the Property (Attachment 2). Under the proposed terms of the PSA the City would purchase approximately 70.6 acres at $225,000 per acre for the approximate total purchase price of $15,885,000.
For additional information the please contact [email protected] or by calling 707-253-4111.