Coppola's winery pyramids rejected

April 18, 2008 2:29:37 PM PDT
Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola's plans to renovate the former Chateau Souverain winery in Geyserville have been scaled back by the Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments.

By a 5-0 vote Thursday, the board rejected Coppola's plan to illuminate from within two 24-foot-tall fiberglass pyramid-shaped skylights atop existing towers of the main building. The board, however, approved other elements of the famed filmmaker's plans for his new Rosso & Bianco winery at 300 Via Archimedes in the Alexander Valley.

Board members were concerned the pyramid-shaped skylights that would let in natural light and conserve energy would be a distraction to motorists and neighbors if illuminated from inside the building by theatrical or stage-colored spotlights. The two towers including the 988-square-foot skylights would rise 65 feet.

Sigrid Swedenborg, project planner with the Sonoma County Permit and Resources Management Department, said Coppola has 10 days to appeal the decision to exclude the board's decision to the county's Board of Supervisors.

She said Coppola's project manager, however, said if the nighttime illumination of the pyramids is the only issue, it would be "taken off the table."

Coppola's Rosso & Bianco Winery on four parcels covering 76 acres also will include a 900-foot bandshell and stage that would host live music, theater and other events; a 2,000-square-foot dance floor for 128 people, a 257-square-foot refreshment bar; a split-level swimming pool with a capacity of 175 people and 33 cabanas; and a new 1,430-square-foot outdoor restaurant with 44 seats near the pool.

Coppola will be allowed to hold 18 special outdoor events a year, only one of which would be for up to 3,000 guests.


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