I came very late to the Napa Pipe project just as it was being passed from the planning commission to the Supervisors for approval after 8 years of effort. It will be as disastrous for the future of the ag preserve as all of the tourist projects we have been opposing combined. It is a major addition to the developing Napa-Vallejo metropolitan area, and will eliminate one of the last chances to maintain a greenbelt separating Napa from the rest of the Bay Area sprawl. It will require major highway improvements to the roads leading into and up the valley to accomodate its traffic. Those improvements will encourage more traffic and enable more development. The new county voters that reside in Napa Pipe will have less interest in preserving vines than in commercial development and the votes necessary to convert agricultural land to urban use will be ever easier to obtain. Together with the large housing projects planned for Tulucay Village in Napa and Watson Ranch in American Canyon the balance of voter interest will have shifted from agricultural to urban uses and the days of Napa county as anything but a bedroom community will be numbered. Sean Scully or the NVR has done a great analysis of just this issue here and here.
Use the property for something else:
1. How about vines? 140 acres of vines in the valley produces from $1.7 mil to $3.9 mil in revenue each year with much less initial investment and no requirement for county or city services.
2. Turn the Napa Pipe site into the county fairgrounds and keep the proposed hotel. BottleRock will have enough space for a major event with enough parking that will not impact the downtown and a shuttle service along the river during events could provide downtown access to shops and restaurants and from hotels. Some of the current fairgrounds site would then be available for the mandated 180 housing units of housing. Also, since it is apparant that the Meritage Resort just south of Napa Pipe is a success, perhaps it is worth considering Napa Pipe for additional high-revenue hotel uses, turning the stretch of the river between Meritage and the city into the Napa Riviera and parkland. Just a thought.