Napa Co. enters exclusive agreement that could bring Margaritaville Resort to Lake Berryessa

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Thursday, November 9, 2023
A Margaritaville Resort could be coming to Lake Berryessa
Napa County has entered an exclusive agreement that could bring Jimmy Buffett's Camp Margaritaville Resort to Lake Berryessa.

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A plan to bring a Margaritaville Resort, made popular by the late Jimmy Buffett, to the Bay Area is one step closer.

It would be called Camp Margaritaville and it would be located at Lake Berryessa in Napa County.

The Napa County Board of Supervisors approved a move to enter into exclusive negotiations with local developer WhiTim Napa LLC who represents Camp Margaritaville Resorts. This would be a $95 million investment by the Margaritaville group according to county officials who spoke about the project.

"We'll have a 50 slip marina, gas docks, restaurants, RV parking, cabins, it will be sort of a nice resort once it is up and operating," said Leigh Sears who is the Lake Berryessa concessions manager.

"We're not locked in to a specific number of cabins or slips. What is being proposed here is dramatically smaller than what was there in the 2000's when the previous resort shutdown," said Steve Lederer who is Napa County Public Works Director.

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"I didn't believe that we'd get here and we are, so I think anyone that wants to do business in this area as an incredible opportunity to make sure it is done fair responsibly and it's a win," said Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza of Napa County.

The area on Lake Berryessa that would be developed is the Steele Canyon Resort area. It's on the southwest side of the Napa County lake.

Margaritaville Hotels and Resorts has properties all over the country including four in California. Community members who spoke at Tuesday night's meeting are very concerned about this project.

"That just doesn't seem like nature based recreation to me," said one person during public comment.

"The very idea of something called Margaritaville in Napa County is kind of cringey," said another person.

"I am blown away by the size of this. That's a city, that's not rural recreation," said someone at the meeting.

"This is way way too large, this is a development for the lake not for the destination for a lot of people to sing Jimmy Buffett!" said someone in the public who called into the meeting.

"I'm a biologist, naturalist, and I am a Jimmy Buffett fan - nevertheless I have a huge problem with such a trendy concept as Margaritaville which does indeed make me cringe," said another person.

Officials say the revenue generated by a project like this could eventually allow for a new police station, improved fire services, and road improvements.

This approval is for a two-year negotiation so during that time the developer will work on a design, the environmental impact, and much more. The plan would then have to be approved so there is still a ways to go.

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