City of Napa

Jan 22, 2015

The revolt of the people who lived in the City of Napa was as important to the preservation of agriculture as the Ag Preserve itself. In the long run, it was really more important, in my view.
- Ginny Simms, 2009 (Napa city planning commissioner & County Supervisor 1968-78)

The Napa County General Plan protects agriculture in the vast majority of the county under AP and AW zoned areas. It establishes that urban development be concentrated in the 5 municipalities and a couple of urban "bubbles". The basic attitude is "don't touch ag land and you can do whatever you want within the urban boundaries". The boundries of the municipalities, establisted under a slow growth attitude championed by Ginny Simms, John Tuteur and others, are compact and well defined by Rural Urban Limit (RUL) lines.

Volker Eisele, Ginny Simms and others made a further effort to protect ag with the passage of Measure J in 1990 and its extension with Measure P in 2007. It required the change of zoning of ag lands to be voted by the citizens of the county. No longer could it be done by agreement of the supervisors and the city councils. Like the ag preserve of 1968, Measure J was a landmark piece of legislation, quickly adopted elsewhere to promote slow growth policies. Until I was exposed to Napa Pipe, however it was hard to see that the protections of the Napa General Plan to contain urban growth have become paper thin.

Measure J's strength in 1990 is becoming its achilles heel in 2014, despite its renewal through 2058. A vote of the people can change ag use to urban use at any time - a simple majority of the vote. And the voters of Napa County are rapidly changing. Sean Scully of the NVR has done editorials on the changing demographics of the county here and here. The outlook is not encouraging for agricultural protection.

The populations of American Canyon and Napa City have expanded to now constitute 70% of the county population. As the passage of Measure P in 2007 showed there were still enough urban residents in those cities committed to the idea of an agricultural economy to support passage. But the numbers continue to shift. Projects like Napa Pipe, Watson Ranch and the 500 units of the Tulocay Village, a part of the huge Gasser Master Plan area on the east bank of the river just north of Imola, will bring a dramatic increase in the voters more concerned with shopping centers than vines.

The county, in an effort to relieve pressure on the up valley rural areas created the city of American Canyon in 1992 and both cities have had a free rein to suck up much of the development lust directed toward such an undeveloped county. But it was a faustian bargain and we are now at the point where the developers can get their due. It is a little more difficult for development interests to throw money at voters than it is to throw it at supervisors, but not much. As Keith Rogal showed in the "Keep Napa Napa" campaign and happened again with the "costco-of-your-own" Measure A campaign, convincing voters to approve urban development is a proven strategy.

Update 7/29/15
In a meeting with Sup. Diane Dillon, she mentioned that the municipalities were always pushing for annexation of county land and the supervisors were always resisting. I replied by saying that a county vote under measure P would be required. No, she said: annexations, as opposed to changes in county zoning designations covered by Prop P, are just agreements between city councils and the BOS. I was stunned at my ignorance, and even more stunned at how little protection Prop P really affords.]

Those concerned about the survival of agriculture in the county need to move into the city planning debates post haste, just as Ginny Simms has continued to do, seemingly forever.

2000-2010 Census Statistics

NVR 3/12/18: Napa: Housing costs, supply are city residentsí top concern
NVR 12/6/17: LAFCO opens door to piping Napa water to Carneros resort
NVR 11/28/17: Downtown Napa's newest luxury hotel opens its doors
NVR 9/29/17: Meritage Resort's massive expansion takes shape in south Napa
NVR 9/06/17: Napa, developer start talks on new City Hall, housing and hotel
NVR 8/22/17: Napa wrestles with affordable housing for service workers
Bertolucci LTE 8/2/17: Keep Napa for Napans
NVR 6/14/17: Napa planners to review Bounty Hunterís new downtown building
NVR 6/5/17: Napa Valley Wine Train owners plan $100 million resort development
NVR 5/17/17: Altamira family reviving plans for a winery/hotel project on Silverado Trail
NVR 2/20/17: Planned Napa apartment development sold for $34 million
NVR 2/20/17: Napa asks, How many hotel rooms are enough?
NVR 2/14/17: Major changes in the works for downtown Napa
NYTimes 2/1/17: A Waking Giant or a Monster? Developers Eye Once-Sleepy Napa
NVR 1/7/17: Napa marks off retail areas to join major apartment complex
NVR 12/29/16: No. 3 story of 2016: Oxbow District becomes ground zero for developers
NVR 12/7/16: San Diego developer making a big play in downtown Napa
NVR 10/7/16: Napa County selects ambitious developer to buy Oxbow property
NVR 9/4/16: Planners endorse 37 east Napa homes despite privacy, tree concerns
NVR 9/6/16: ĎFoxbowí mixed-use development proposed for Oxbow area
NVR: 8/4/16: Napa builder pans parking fee hike planned for downtown
NVR 7/22/16: Napa planners endorse 282 apartments near Napa River, with more to come
NVR 3/6/16: Napa planners put neighborhood tasting room on hold
NVR 2/19/16: Napa proceeding cautiously on hotel-apartment plan
NVR 2/7/16: Developer cleared to build condo project
NVR 1/20/16: Hotel apartments prosed to replace historic rail car barn
NVR 12/23/15: Beth Painter chosen for city Planning Commission
Who pays the costs of growth?
Fordor cost of growth report


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Hotel explosion rocks Napa

Bill Hocker - Aug 25, 2018 5:04AM  Share #1395

Update 8/25/18
SR press Democtat 8/25/18: Healdsburg set to limit future downtown hotels, require affordable housing offsets on new projects

Healdsburg leads the way. Of course, as usual, government has acted to solve problems when the problems are already beyond being solved. The already-approved doubling of hotel rooms will give Healdsburg the feeling of a 24-hour tourist trap, and future affordable housing requirements will not ease the existing or approved shortfalls.

Update 6/1/18
NVR 7/16/18: Future of Napa Marriott hotel lies with City Council
NVR 6/1/18: Napa [City] planners advance hotel-winery plan, despite housing concerns

Comm. Murray said, regarding the number of new workers needing affordable housing: "We canít be continually punting the ball down the field, but we canít put the burden all on one project," to which the logical reply is "Why not?" This particular project is increasing the affordable housing shortage by a specific number of units. Why shouldn't the project create those units as a condition of approval or else pay for the difference between affordable and market rate housing for every employee?

More about the traffic impact of this project and other projects around bottleneck junction is here.

Update 6/16/18
Lucretia Marcus LTE 6/16/18: Build housing for your workers

Update 6/2/18
NVR 6/2/18: Napaís Gasser Foundation proposing 200 apartments and a hotel for Soscol Avenue

The 30 affordable units in the housing project won't quite accommodate the 100-150 new hotel employees, but Gasser is setting a trend by tying actual affordable housing construction, not just token mitigation fees, to tourism development.

That being said, the increase in population and continuing urbanization of the county and shift in the economy from wine to entertainment spells a long term decline for agriculture and the rural character that everyone claims to treasure.

Update 5/24/18
The Trinitas Mixed Use (Marriott Hotel-Winery-Office Bldg) complex is up before the Airport Land Use Commission (County Planning Commission + 2) on June 6, 2018. It is a 253 room hotel, 25,000 sf winery (no capacity or visitation specified but 57 parking spaces allowed), 30,000 sf office bldg, and 441 total parking spaces.
The notice is here
The project documents are here (large file)

Is it compatible next to the airport? No less than the Meritage or the County office buildings, one would assume. Will the current traffic jam at the entrance to the airport, made that much worse by one more huge project up the road, be discussed? Probably not.

NVR 6/2/17: Design of south Napa Marriott hotel leaves city planners cold
NVR 6/1/17: Napa planners to get first a look at a Marriott hotel, winery
NVR 5/18/18: Napa planners grapple with housing demands of 250-room Marriott hotel

Update: 5/15/18
Peter Mott LTE 5/15/18: Peter Mott: Time for a hotel moratorium

It is great to see that even some of those members of our county governments that have been supporters of tourism development have begun to believe that continued expansion of the tourism industry is unsustainable if the goal is to retain the rural small-town character that draws tourists here and makes this a desirable place to live. There needs to be a limit of tourism activity in relation to real life or real life ceases to exist. Many already feel that line has already been crossed, and the vast increase in hotel rooms in the municipalities and wineries in the county already in the pipeline means that the tourism impacts we already feel will only get worse. But If more of our officials, like Mr. Mott, are willing to begin opposing tourism urbanization now, and begin thinking in terms of a sustainable stable economy rather than a unsustainable growth economy, there may still be some hope for the survival of a quality of life treasured by both visitors and residents in the future.

Update: 3/2/18
NVR 3/2/18: Napa planners ask is Foxbow too much hotel for the neighborhood
NVR 2/28/18: Napa city planners to take up Foxbow hotel plan in Oxbow District

Oh No! Another over-scaled, over-wrought hotel crammed onto First Street.
This one is more apartment-looking than the previous version, an advantage if the tourism market crashes at the end of this hotel bubble.

Preliminary review at the Napa City Planning Commission Thursday, Mar 1st, 2018 at 5:30pm. Staff report is here.

Update: 1/6/18
NVR 1/6/18: Napa planners comment on Wine Trainís future hotel, rail depot on McKinstry Street
The Staff report on the project is here. (large file)
NVR 12/23/17: Top 10 of 2017, No. 7: Hotels, tourism continue Napa boom

Update: 12/04/17
Dan Mufson sends this article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat regarding hotel development in Healdsburg:

SR Press Democrat 12/2/17: Healdsburg City Council to discuss limits on future downtown hotels

While it's hard to compare the nebulous disorganization of Napa's downtown with the iconic organization of Healdsburg's town plaza, the impacts here of rampant tourism development will likewise wipe out any sense of "small town" character that Napa does possess as 5 and 6 story hotels, and the throngs of their patrons, begin to dominate the Napa streetscape.

Update: 11/31/17
NVR 11/28/17: Downtown Napa's newest luxury hotel opens its doors

Kudos to Mr. Johnstone for telling it like it is: "You walk in and you think you're in New York." and "How many hotels does downtown need? I hope we're not overdoing it."

Update: 9/29/17
NVR 9/29/17: Meritage Resort's massive expansion takes shape in south Napa

Update 9/6/17
NVR 9/06/17: Napa, developer start talks on new City Hall, housing and hotel

Update: 8/14/17
City report on the hotel explosion this Tuesday

Napa Vision 2050 has just sent out this notice about a staff report to be presented to the Napa City Council on Aug 15th, 3:00pm about the various hotel projects going on in the city. You are encouraged to attend.

Update 7/14/17
NVR 8/18/17: Napa planners approve 5-story Black Elk hotel in Oxbow district
NVR 7/4/17: Proposed four-story Oxbow hotel to receive Napa plannersí scrutiny

The Black Elk Hotel had a preliminary review by the Napa City Planning Commission on July 6th 2017. The Staff Report and Documents are here. It is a very innappropriate building for the location, out of scale, a visual barrier to the Oxbow district, of "barnish" shape and materials out of place in its urban setting, a box of a building trying to squeeze as many hotel rooms as possible on the small site, which brought to mind a 19th century tenement house.

What became very apparent here, and in all of the hotel projects in the news recently, is that the city has no master plan for the development of the city, no commitment to integrate housing and real people and businesses into the tourism economy, and no design guidelines to regulate what the character of the place will become. As with the rural areas of the county, the future of Napa City is being irrevocably altered in this developer boom period, and the Planning Commission decisions about Napa's future are being made on an ad hoc basis, one isolated project at a time, without looking at the long term result. Which, of course, will be a hodgepodge of developers' schemes, some with good taste and some without, trying to maximize the money to be made from the tourist trade on every square inch of the city, while the residents are forced out.

Update: 7/2/17
NVR 7/2/217: As hotels increase, do Napa residents benefit? Readers, officials weigh in

Howard Yune, Napa city reporter for the Register, had to previously ask readers what they thought about Napa's hotel explosion, and he gives some of the responses in the above article. He had to ask because the Register, in a blow to the free exchange of ideas in a democracy, decided to discontinue the ability to comment online to news articles last year. There were, no doubt, legitimate concerns leading to the discontinuance. But for those seriously interested in issues in Napa county, like the explosion of hotel development, citizen reaction to the news is an important part of the story. The problems that the paper experienced with responses, I think, had much to do with the anonymity of the posts and the freedom that gives to be irresponsible in posting. Require real names and let the comments continue.

Update: 6/20/17
It's hard to keep up with this issue:
NVR 6/25/17: Downtown Napa hotel plan calls for merging Zeller's and former post office sites
NVR 6/22/17: Surging hotel taxes become a larger part of the new Napa city budget
NVR 6/20/17: How many hotels are enough -- or too much? Contact the Register

The hotel explosion raises several issues.

First, the loss of a community. Hotels not only bring in more tourists, but they increase the 24-hour tourist population. At some point, as the ratio of tourists to residents increases, and as jobs, commercial activity and housing continue to shift from resident-serving to tourist-serving, the sense of normal, small-town community life will be lost to the collective endevour of catering to, and being the local color for, the tourism experience. And the real town and its community will disappear. (St. Helena is at the forefront of this phenomenon.)

Second, a financing dependency. TOT revenue and other in-lieu fees are welcomed as a quick fix for the deferred infrastructure and service costs needed to mitigate the impacts of previous urban development. But low wage jobs are created by the hundreds and the money isn't there for affordable housing. Traffic and parking problems explode. The increased tourism and employee population require additional infrastructure and services which then encourage more new project approvals and so on. Ultimately the place becomes a dense tourist trap, devoid of residents, and, much like Oxbow is now, packed with people wondering what's so special about Napa.

Third, the loss of Napa's rural soul. The number of hotel projects, like the amount of traffic, is a symptom of a community losing it's resitance to development pressure. That pressure was was contained in Napa for the last 40 years by a combination of politicians and citizenry with a clear vision of an un-urbanized future, and an industry dependent on an agricultural product. But as the landscape and vineyards are slowly filled with buildings to exploit the expanding tourist population, the vision of a rural enclave in the urban Bay Area is harder for politicians and their citizens to imagine, and the industry is finding that more money is to be made by providing wine-related experiences than from making wine. The importance of agriculture fades beyond its use as a stageset for TOT-paying visitors.

Update: 6/17/17
A neighbor just sent over a link to the latest Napa Life, Paul Fransons's weekly "insiders guide to the Napa Valley." The June 19th, 2017 issue is here. Scroll down to the section on "Lodging News". Below the summaries of the latest hotel projects in the Register he has a list of the projects currently in the approval and proposal pipelines. While I struggle to keep up on this site, as an insider he has a much better handle on these things. And it is a bit freightening.

Most freightening of all is the mention of a Ted Hall 80 room hotel in South St Helena (described in this 2015 NVR article). Ted Hall (recent profile here) is perhaps the most revered grower-vintner in the county, one of the few statesman in an industry filled with entrepreneurs. Each trip to the planning commission to present his winery projects turns into a lovefest (just as the hotel project did). He will probabaly make the most sensitive, ecological integration of agriculture and overnight accommodation it is possible to make. And he will set the precident for lesser lights to follow for the next phase of the "wine" industry in its transition to an entertainment industry. Now that the winery restaurant is firmly established as an acceptable "incidental and subordinate" use allowed at wineries, it is only a matter of time before the winery b&b begins to make its way into the definition of "agriculture" as well. A euphanism will have to be invented - "immersive agricultural experience" perhaps - to make sure no one would mistake a winery for a hotel. But with the precedent set by this most solid citizen of the County, every good-life entrepreneur will now want a hotel-of-their-own to go along with their winery.

Update: 6/8/17

Cohn LTE 6/8/17: Slow the stampede of development and his petition
And the concurrences:
Don and Arlene Townsend LTE 6/16/17: When is enough enough?
Lynn Korn LTE 6/12/17: Enough already
Barbara Cioppone LTE 6/8/17: All for the rich people

A lot of proposed Napa hotel projects in the news:
NVR 6/8/17: Cambria Hotel coming to Napa's Soscol Avenue (And subsequent sale)
NVR 6/5/17: Napa Valley Wine Train owners plan $100 million resort development
NVR 6/2/17: Design of south Napa Marriott hotel leaves city planners cold
NVR 5/17/17: Altamira family reviving plans for a winery/hotel project on Silverado Trail
And other projects:
NVR 6/14/17: Napa approves 4-story building for Bounty Hunter wine bar, restaurant

NVR 2/20/17: Napa asks, How many hotel rooms are enough?
NY Times 2/1/17: A Waking Giant or a Monster? Developers Eye Once-Sleepy Napa

In the Times article Napa Vision 2050 is recognized nationally for its efforts to slow the urbanization of Napa County. Kudos to Harris Nussbaum and Patricia Damery.

Jim Wilson on the Napa Vision 2050 Economic Forum
It's exactly the effect we heard is coming at George Caloyannidis' Tourism Economy Forum in April of last year:

Samuel Mendlinger:
  • Tourism accelerates the polarization between the population and the very wealthy.
  • Polarization begins when businesses begin to cater to tourists and affluent locals at the expense of townsfolk.
  • Now a major social revolution: small group of elderly people and few young people.

    Q: Whose town is this anyway? What can community do so the power doesnít get concentrated in the hands of a few?
    A: There are a few only. Locals are usually the last to get a voice in tourism development. Usually money does the talking. Local leaders who are wise enough know that the local people need to be part of the process. Most people donít really know what their long-term needs are. Community groups need to have experience.

    Know what theyíre doing, how to get things done, like NV2050. Itís what attracted me to this event in Napa. Hospitality is about cheap labor. Tourism is about value added.

    Q: Local schools close and students are sent out of town?
    A: Imbalance. Older population crowds out the younger people. Mis-managed tourism.. Petersborough losing its school system,, and its vertical, complete society. Declining school enrollment is a sign that either young adults donít want to have children, or they donít see a future in the town.

    Q: How do you organize the population?
    A: NV2050 is a great example. Youíre anxious over the future, youíre organizing through people who can organize, and have the time and abilty to see things through. Then expand! Itís bottom up. Top down is very rare.

    Q: How do you recommend citizens get involved in decisions on smart tourism?
    A: Mendlinger: What is motivation for County and City political leaders to get involved? Do they want more development or a higher quality of life for citizens? If interested in business they wonít listen. But if you have wise leadership youíll do the part of the job that improves the quality of life. Especially in Napa you have a great pool of experience and wisdom. Itís cosmopolitan not provincial. Political leadership has to listen to well-organized citizens who understand how real life works. Citizens can go far. Like this meeting where you have political leadership plus informed citizens. I traveled fro Boston to see how Napa is doing, and I am encouraged by the possibilities. Rural areas - resource extraction areas Ė when industry pulls out thereís not much reason for community to be there.

    Q: Advice on blasting open ďiron triangleĒ government/agencies/industry?
    A: Mendlinger; How to develop experienced and wise leaders and citizens is the question. I just donít know how.

Eben Fodor:
  • In an economic impact study, costs are just as important as revenues.
  • Too much tourism can overwhelm a community.
  • Impact studies usually tout all the benefits of a development. Fiscal impacts are often overlooked and no multipliers are used.
  • The reports that go out make the development look great but itís not. Thereís no balanced perspective with costs to the community.

Napa Vision 2050 Economic Forum: Understanding the tourism driven economy
George Caloyannidis' articles on growth and tourism
More on Napa City development here
More on Napa Growth Issues here

Harris Nussbaum - Jul 10, 2017 7:27PM

[Statement to Napa City Planning Commission 7-6-17 Black Elk Hotel ]

Thank you for listening. I have a few questions.
1) How will you know when there are to many hotels downtown and what will be the impact when all the commercial development in progress is completed?
2) What will be the impact as more and more tall buildings are built?
3) When do you think we will have to many cars in, out, and around Napa? (pause)

Almost everyone I talk with who lives here feels we have reached that point and worry about the future of Napa and their quality of life.
We often donít think about the impact on our schools. Enrollment is declining because many people with children canít afford to live here. Staff is being significantly reduced, schools are closing, and over 100 teachers are being laid off this year alone and it will continue. How will this affect your children or grand children?

Iím sure it looks good if you can get more occupancy taxes, but it cost more than you are getting. If you havenít read James Conwayís article in which he says Napaís current level of development is not economically supportable due to the requirements of infrastructure and on going maintenance, please read it.
You talk about the need for housing, but keep building hotels and other businesses that employ people who canít afford to live here. Local businesses are closing because they canít afford the rent.

There is so much to say about the problems being created by traffic, parking, police, fire, and all the other services needed to run a city. Here is a copy of the letter to the editor I recently wrote. Please read it.

Iím not anti business, but I know to much of anything is a problem and will destroy this jewel called Napa. You are our friends. Please do what you are meant to do and protect us. Take a step back and see where we are. Consider the cumulative impact and what infrastructure is needed before any more hotels or large businesses are approved. Work with the County to solve these problems, because what each of you do affects the other.

And finally, create venues where the people feel they are really heard and have equal opportunities to speak.

Thank you!

Glenn J. Schreuder - Feb 2, 2017 9:07AM

Add another negative consequence to the list of all this economic progress.

SF already has a very low rate of families with kids. Looks like Napa is headed the same way. Maybe Iíll drive to the

central valley to watch a little league game in my retirement years. All this raises the question if Napa is really a good place to call home anymore. Where did all the little ones go?

Higher housing prices will trigger greater enrollment declines in Napa schools

Carl Bunch - Feb 1, 2017 5:37PM

Well, for a very limited time in our lives (all to change as a result of the Presidential election) a government agency is treating its citizens fairly and appropriately and a major newspaper is highlighting the work of a citizens' group on the environment. This, to the great advantage to the citizens who reside here.

The St. Helena City Council, by a 3-2 vote (according to the Napa Valley Register) has actually rejected an application by a winery for expansion of its business. This City Council recently seated, due to a majority vote of St. Helena citizens, two new Council members, including Geoff Ellsworth, a leader in the fight to control the rampant approvals of virtually anything having to do with winery uses of Napa Valley land for the profits of its owners and stakeholders.

The New York Times, in a most important article, featured the work of Napa Vision 2050 regarding environmental issues raised by for-profit corporations and others and which seriously affect critical matters pertinent to Napa citizens, including, among others, watersheds, tree deforestation, and various matters tending to make the Napa Valley one of the world's most desirable places to live.

CONGRATULATIONS!! This has been a long time in coming and we can only hope itís a harbinger of better things to follow.

Shelle Wolfe - Feb 1, 2017 5:36PM

Vision 2050, among others, made the NY Times today. Interesting assessment of our situation. It would have been great if the article mentioned the traffic along with the other issues like parking.

Great comment by Patricia DameryÖ this is what we need to be communicating.

Ms. Damery said ďIím not anti-development,Ē she said. ďI am for balanced development. Downtown is wonderful and so much better than before, but we have to invest in quality-of-life things like mass transit and housing.Ē

Daniel Mufson - Feb 1, 2017 4:04PM

Napa Vision 2050 was asked for perspective on the
state of development in Napa,
as detailed in a story for the New York Times.

Hello Napa Vision 2050 supporters,

Thank you for interest in the mission of Napa Vision 2050.
This past year, Napa Vision 2050 worked for a more effective and organized public voice with wider distribution. We did this to help get the perspective of those who live in our county, to be heard by those who are making decisions on growth and development in Napa County. Well, we are being heard nationally!
Iím attaching an article about Napa downtown just published in the New York Times. Napa Vision 2050's Harris Nussbaum and Patricia Damery are quoted while several more of our coalition members had been interviewed.

It is so satisfying that the article has a link to the Napa Vision 2050 webpage. Please share this with your contacts, and keep our momentum growing!
If only my Mom could see that: A boy from the Bronx makes the Times for doing something good!!

Napa Vision 2040

Bill Hocker - Aug 21, 2018 11:07PM  Share #1936
A vision of Napa in 2040
Update 8/25/18
SR press Democtat 8/25/18: Healdsburg set to limit future downtown hotels, require affordable housing offsets on new projects

Healdsburg leads the way. Of course, as usual, government has acted to solve problems when the problems are already beyond being solved. Napaís rewrite of its general plan may, or may not, begin to curb hotel development, but the number of projects already approved and being built will change the character of the town from resident-centric to tourist-centric.

NVR 8/13/18: Napa to seek advisers to guide cityís new general plan

The application form to become a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) is here
The City of Napa General Plan 2040 Information page is here

The cityís web page summarizes the two community meetings that have already taken place to discuss the future of Napa in the next twenty years, with meeting notes (and breathless video trailers) of each. The high-tech, dense and exciting future envisioned by the panelists will be a bit disconcerting for those that appreciate the rare value of living in a sleepy small town in the urbanized Bay Area. The emphasis, given that the conversation is driven by a government and panelists that hope to profit from development (as probably will most GPAC members), is how to make urban growth, and the transition from a real town to a tourist trap, palatable rather than how to avoid such a fate.

It is obvious that planning guidelines and vision are needed, now more than ever, as the planning commission struggles with one random development proposal after another at each meeting. The pessimism comes from knowing that the GPAC process will be driven by, or co-opted by, those who will profit from ever more urban development, and that soon the mass of people and enterprise they bring to the county will burst out of the rural-urban lines and take down the great Napa agricultural experiment. As Andy Beckstoffer recognized, "Never in the history of mankind has agriculture withstood urban growth long-term, but here we have the best chance." But only if the municipalities as well as the unincorporated county exercise maximum restraint in their building ambitions. Neither is doing so at present.

Napa City's Oak Woodlands - saved!

Bill Hocker - Jun 14, 2018 11:50AM  Share #1229

Napa woodland slated for urban development
Update 6/19/19
The City Council has voted 3 to 2 to deny the request to rezone the Napa Oaks property, thus rejecting the Napa Oaks II proposal.

NVR 6/20/18: City Council narrowly rejects Napa Oaks II homes, 16 years after first veto

Update 6/16/18
Chris Benz LTE 6/18/18: Let's protect Napa city's oaks
Kevin Teague LTE 6/18/18: Why I believe in Napa Oaks
Pat Clay LTE 6/18/18: Napa Oaks offers many benefits

Update 6/16/18
Lisa Batto LTE 6/16/18: Weak argument for luxury housing by the Napa Chamber of Commerce
Sharon Macklin LTE 6/16/18: Chamber should advocate for affordable housing
Napa CofC LTE 6/16/18: Can we decide without divide?
Davidson Homes LTE 6/16/18: We have worked closely with the community on Napa Oaks

Update 6/14/18
NVR 6/14/18: City Council set to resolve battle over Napa Oaks II housing development
Florence Linstrom LTE 6/14/18: Don't approve Napa Oaks II
Suzanne Truchard LTE 6/14/18: Chamber shouldn't take position on Napa Oaks
Carol Barge LTE 6/14/18: The one thing Napa Oaks II can't mitigate
Keith Lindstrom LTE 6/14/18: No to Napa Oaks - report proves we have plenty of existing land zoned for housing.

Update 5/25/18
Stop Napa Oaks has sent out this reminder that the Napa City Council will be deciding the fate of the Napa Oaks II project on Tuesday, June 19th at 6:30pm.

Napa City Council Set to Vote on Napa Oaks II

Update 5/3/18
Christina Bettencourt LTE 5/3/18: Kill Napa Oaks for good
NVR 1/31/18: Council vote on Napa Oaks II homes delayed after release of new quake maps
Duane Cronk (last) LTE 12/28/17: For the right reasons
NVR 12/21/17: City planners narrowly vote against Napa Oaks II homes
SNO 12/21/17: Planning Commissioners vote in a 3-2 split in our favor!

Update 12/7/17
After public testimony the 12/7/17 hearing was continued to 12/21/17 at 5:30pm
SNO update
NVR 12/8/17: Foes of Napa Oaks II housing turn out in force; city planners delay verdict

Tony Truchard: Napa Oaks project will destroy our scenic gateway
Chuck Dresel: Opposed to Napa Oaks, then and now
Eve Kahn: Do we want to destroy our hillsides?

Update 12/5/17
NVR 12/4/17: Battle over Napa Oaks II homes to go before city planners

Napa City Planning Commission meeting on the project, this thursday Dec 7th, 2017. Stop Napa Oaks requests your support and presence here

Update 11/29/17 Meeting Report
NVR 11/28/17: Napa Oaks II developers revise housing plan; neighbors still push back
SNO counterpoints to developer's presentation

Stop Napa Oaks sends this notice after the 11/28/17 presentation hosted by the developers of the 53 unit Napa Oaks housing subdivision slated to replace the oak-covered hillside on the west side of town (pictured). The project will be heard by the Napa City Planning Commission on Dec 7th 2017, with a decision on the project to be rendered in the new year.

The Final EIR describing the project is here (All less-than-significant impacts of course.)

Update 5/4/17
NVR 5/4/17: Possible Truchard winery, Napa Oaks subdivision developers clash
[The Truchard winery was approved on 9/20/17 at this planning commission meeting.]

A clash between tourism urbanization and housing urbanization: The natural landscape of the county loses both ways. The Napa Oaks site should never have been incorporated into the city limits and the housing project is the infinitely more egregious insult to the rural character of the county. The site plan, which shows the tops of the hills being sheared off for building pads, is truly heartbreaking. Let's pray they lose the coming battle with their city neighbors to the east and the Truchards (who seem to be the county ideal of the family farm vintner) to the west. The housing developer's letter does just look like harassment in retaliation for the Truchard's opposition to their project. (The Truchard's opposition letter (at the bottom here), however, is a dead ringer for all of the letters we have written opposing tourism wineries these last 3 years). The best outcome, of course, would be for both to abandon their development plans in order to preserve "the sheer natural beauty of this place".

Napa Oaks II DEIR
Truchard documents Item 8B here

Update 3/1/17: Napa Oaks Development
The Greenbelt Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving open space in an urbanizing world for 60 years, has just issued a 2017 report At Risk: The Bay Area Green Belt which features the Napa Oaks Project as open space under threat of development. (No mention of Walt Ranch?) More here from the Stop Napa Oaks group.

Stop Napa Oaks petition
Stop Napa Oaks Facebook Page

LTE 6/10/16: Development will have huge impact
LTE 5/4/16; A test of character
LTE 5/3/16: Don't destroy gateway to Napa
LTE 4/18/16: Development would scar the land
NVR 5/3/16: Homebuilder revives plans for rejected Napa development
Napa Oaks II DEIR
NVR 8/1/12: Neighbors demand study of Napa Oaks II hillside subdivision

In true developer fashion this project is named for the environment it destroys. (I grew up in an LA suburb called Sherman Oaks, none of which remained). A part of the oak studded hills that define the rural character of the Napa Valley is to be littered with suburban McMansions. The immediate question when looking at Google maps is why this parcel is within the city limits, surrounded as it is on 3 sides by identical county open space. Not as bad as the absurd Napa gerrymander of Stanly Ranch, but still one of those unfortunate bumps in the urban-rural line that just invites urban expansion into the countryside.

The battles of communities throughout the county these last two years to maintain what is left of Napa's rural character in the face of a resurgence in developer zeal and money has been both heartening, because the desire still exists to retain this place as separate from the rest of the suburban sprawl of the bay area, and discouraging in that governments seem ever more willing to sacrifice that character to developers' interests.

9/4/16: Andersen Ranch Development

Now a second housing project, by the same developer pursuing the Napa Oaks project, is proposed to carve up more of the few remaining Oak Hillsides within the city:
NVR 9/4/16: Planners endorse 37 east Napa homes despite privacy, tree concerns

Fast-tracking Napa's urbanization

Bill Hocker - Sep 26, 2017 10:18PM  Share #1578

2300 Soscol, $2179-$2807 /mo
NVR 9/26/17: Napa seeks looser reins on multifamily housing permits in city

With the onslaught of hotel development beginning to become a concern to all who have valued the quality of life in "sleepy Napa" (the NYT's expression), a second tentacle of urban development is rapidly taking shape in this age of the developer. Already over 2000 units of housing are under review, approved and under construction within the Napa city limits. Now, just as developers have demanded that small wineries not have to go through the public review process, they are also demanding that small housing projects also escape the public scrutiny of the impacts that such developments are having on residents' small-town way of life.

The excuse for the fast-tracked approval process is the need for affordable housing, a very real shortage brought on by years of increasing full-time agricultural workers and the ongoing expansion of the tourism workforce. A handful of the new units will be affordable for hotel or vineyard workers, but most will be market rate units being built for whom? Second homes? Short term rentals? Empty nesters? Perhaps for the construction workers needed for Napa's urbanization. Not for the burgeoning number of modest-wage workers needed for the tourism and agricultural industries that make up the bulk of the economy.

Reading the copy promoting the pictured units here, such projects appear to be speculative development intended to cash in on the same image of the good-life extolled by the wine and tourism industries hoping to fill the vineyards with life-style wineries and the cities with hotels. Such projects are not supplying the needs of existing Napa workers - they are inducing an increase in Napa's affluent and tourist populations, who will then need more low-wage commercial development, adding to rather than reducing the housing need of the county's work force.

Unfortunately we are in a speculative development boom happening everywhere, manifested in Napa County by the expansion of the tourism industry and the promotion an opulent life style. Such speculation is how rural places are urbanized out of existence. To developers, the resistance of impacted residents through government review has become a real bottleneck in their effort to wake up sleepy Napa County - and, as we can see in the proposal to drop public review of some housing projects, they are obviously hoping to do something about it.

Urban development and in-lieu fees (updated)

Bill Hocker - Jul 11, 2016 9:00AM  Share #1230

Update 8/1/16
NVR 8/1/16: Napa to seek more parking funds from downtown builders

Update 7/11/16
NVR 7/11/16 Napa to lift parking requirements on six downtown properties
$20,000/stall is the amount mentioned as an in-lieu fee. Since the cost of parking structures is $30,000/stall (the $12 mil, 400 stall structure mentioned in the article) to $50,000/stall (if undergrounded as would be required on the exempted sites) at the $20,000 rate the city and residents will end up subsidizing the profits of the developer.

Update 7/6/16
On July 7th, 2016, the Napa City Planning Commission is reviewing a proposal for a parking exempt overlay on 6 more properties downtown, similar to the Wiseman building with in-lieu fees to be paid instead. The staff letter for the proposal is here. It is highly unlikely that the city will assess the $50,000/stall needed to actually build new parking garages and the residents of the city will be expected to make up the difference, thereby subsidizing developers' profits. In reality the projects will be built now but the parking garages will only come in the distant future (if at all) and parking problems will become a major issue in the city. An exhortation from Harris Nussbaum to attend the meeting is here.

NVR 4/19/16: Napa planners to weigh downtown buildings, senior home

Re: the Wiseman building, please look at this 2009 cost estimate for a parking structure (now apparently hidden after my link to it). The estimate was $30000 per stall excluding land costs.

The cost of an underground garage was $50000 per stall. If the developer actually were required to provide the parking on the site the costs would probably be higher given the necessity to integrate it into the architecture of the building. And this is 2016. The in lieu fee, rather than $15,500/ stall, should be the actual cost of providing the parking on site.

As in all development projects, whether for industrial or commercial developments or housing projects (or wineries) developers are quite happy to pay in lieu fees because those costs are much lower than actually meeting ordinance requirements or providing mitigations. Guess who pays the cost difference: taxpayers in one form or another. Regardless of the public revenues touted at the planning commission phase, as Volker Eisele said, development never pays for itself, never. Residents are saddled forever with fee increases, tax increases and bond measures to pay for the unfunded costs of urban development. The developers take their profits, including the money saved on parking, and move on to another project - which governments are eager to approve because they need the windfall of new in-lieu fees to pay for the infrastructure needed for previous projects.

This rant is not about this specific project, which appears to be an attractive addition to the downtown. But urban development is ultimately a costly undertaking for the residents that will eventually be asked to pay more to maintain it. And we never ask ourselves, are we interested in living in a more urbanized world and willing to pay for the privilege? For me, and perhaps for others that enjoy their quasi-ruaral life in Napa, the answer is no.

Harris Nussbaum - Jul 10, 2017 7:15PM

[statement to the Napa Planning Commission 7/7/16]

You are our friends, but with some of the decisions you are making, it doesnít seem like it. Many people moved here from Los Angeles to get away from the madness and now it is being created here. Please think about what you want Napa to be in 10 years? Your actions are heating up an already heated Napa economy. It is like cooking food, you burn it and it is ruined. You are here making decisions that will greatly impact what it will be and if you are wrong, you canít go back and change it. I talked with about 100 people in the area. Most are concerned, but said you wonít listen, your minds are made-up, so why even bother to come to your meetings. The process feels flawed. Most people didnít know about it.
To start, the approval of the Wiseman building will create problems. Here are a few if the problems this proposal creates.

1) Parking is already a problem in the area and you donít know what it will be like until after what is already in process is completed, so why the urgent rush to make this change now?
2) You greatly underestimated the parking need for the Wiseman building and are doing the same for the entire block. The assumption is mixed use will solve the problem, but there is already a problem. You will need 4 to 5 times what you think will be needed and developers are paying a relatively small % of the real costs when you include land, upkeep, etc.
3) How many parking garages will you need and some of the lots you are building parking spaces on you donít own. They could give you 30 day notice to vacate- like the Cinedome property.
4) Parking garages are ugly and expensive and you really donít have the money to build enough. If you did that money could used for much more worthwhile needs.
4) Local businesses are being forced out by high rents as these new buildings are built.
5) If you change this block, what is to keep you from doing the same to the next one and the next one?
6) You are losing the historic character of the area.
7) There can be to much traffic into, out of and around Napa now-I recently saw a fire truck stuck in traffic on 1st. This will get worse and people will die. I hate to think about what will happen to 1st street when the giant Archer hotel is completed.
8) The business model is good, but it has limits. Reasonable development with parking fits the area better.
9) How do you think this will affect the Church, the schools and people who live in the area?
10) Over development is expensive, It puts stress on the residents emotionally, but also puts pressure on the schools, police, fire, and other services. These costs can be far more than the income they produce for the city.
There is so much more I could say if I had more than 3 minutes. Now it is up to you. I hope you let your conscience help you decide and let it be for the people who live here. Please wait until what is in process now is completed to make this change.

A win-win for Justin Siena

Ginna Beharry - Jul 15, 2015 8:28PM  Share #902

See the article below for what seems to be a respectful resolution to the Justin Siena debate. Great to see the citizens making progress.

Justin-Siena drops shopping center plan, pursues senior center instead

Napa's new logo

Bill Hocker - Jul 1, 2015 12:00AM  Share #910

NVR 6/10/14: Wanting an improved image, Napa will change logo (lots of comments)

The article above is a very old piece of news, but seeing the new logo for the first time today I had to weigh in.

I am alway a bit mystified when someone feels a need to redesign a well-known logo. The logo's purpose is brand recognition - it's costly to rebuild that recognition; sometimes it never gets rebuilt. Was there a purpose in getting rid of Mobil's flying red horse? I'm not sure what their logo looks like now. (Of course being the most profitable corporation on earth they may not care what their logo looks like. But they may not have become so profitable without the horse.)

Anyway, the city of Napa has a new logo and I again ask myself why. It's on the left next to the old logo. The old one is technically more accurate since most of the vineyards within the city limits are flat. I like the memorable use of the 2 typefaces in the title of the old one as well. And the restraint in the use of color. I don't quite see the point to the change other than to remove the church from the center of town life. Perhaps that was it - a church-state concern. And I don't think the new one carries an appropriate air of governmental authority - not that I'm into governmental authority.

When I heard about the change last year I decided to make my own proposal. I never submitted it - I don't know why. It was certainly a better reflection of the changes going on in the city. Maybe I should have eliminated the church.

Triad tries again

Bill Hocker - Mar 12, 2015 11:16PM  Share #696

How will Napa City deal with development impacts?

Bill Hocker - Feb 11, 2015 9:39AM  Share #623

Council retreat will look at big picture

This is an ominous quote from the article: "Council members will discuss strategies for increasing economic development, especially in downtown, and review the cityís long-term financial picture."

Development projects full steam ahead - a lot of fees to be made ( to help pay for the unfunded costs of previous projects, no doubt). The economy of the city seems to be thriving, the article adds, but thriving is obviously not good enough, more development is needed.

The Napa County General Plan has always been a punt on fending off development interests in the county. Leave our vineyards alone and you can do whatever you want in the municipalities is the attitude. But the kick-the-can-down-the-road policy has run out of road in the form of too much traffic and not enough water and yet all the developer-controlled city of Napa can think of is more development. The urban-rural dichotomy, designed to appease developer lust for those wide open spaces of the county, doesn't seem to acknowledge that urban development not only creates the impacts of traffic congestion in the rural areas, and the need for the endless suburban mitigations of more signals and more left turn lanes, but also continues to increase pressure to expand the urban rural lines and imports the urban voters necessary to allow that expansion to happen. How does Napa City see the county in 2050? It seems to be looking in the mirror.

Copia to get new developer

Bill Hocker - Feb 6, 2015 3:46PM  Share #607

Announcement of a buyer for Copia may occur soon

A major missed opportunity if Mr. Price & Co doesn't get this. Hopefully more steroidal developers will run into a buzz-saw of enlightened opposition just as Keith Rogal did in his Napa-Pipe-on-Oxbow proposal.

As has been suggested here and here Copia could and should be a major part of a revised wine and tourism equation that has spun out of control in the last few years. Tourism development is moving into the vineyards with many tourism event-centers now slated to pave over the vines. The nominal justification: the vintner needs to place his/her product into the hands of the drinker him/herself in order to turn a profit - direct to consumer. For many, DTC its just the economic excuse necessary to justify building a winery-of-ones-own as a symbol of aspiration to the good life - actually making money is something one does elsewhere.

It's time to end ego statements nibbling away at the vines, and confront the DTC excuse. If there are honest small winemakers that need hands-on DTC to survive, let it happen at the Grand Napa Wine Market located at Copia. It doesn't mean ending winery tours and tastings, but it does mean ending winery "marketing events", with their many community impacts, as a principal marketing tool. Using Copia as a major element of the small-label wine industry to reduce the desirability of vineyard-to-event-center conversions would be an eminently suitable use of this temple to wine. And all those 500-person banquets that wineries around the valley want to host - let them do it at Copia. Need a conference center to go with that new tacky downtown hotel? Copia's perfect. And the bewildered tourists milling around Oxbow Market wondering "Is this really Napa?" would have a wine tasting and buying experience to write home about right next door. Using Copia as a wine market and conference-event center is the right thing to do.

The Future of Napa - fast food and auto malls

Bill Hocker - Jan 21, 2015 11:53PM  Share #563

Commercial projects break ground on Gasser Foundation properties
Planners want a more 'Napaesque' car dealership

Another shopping mall with corny franchise buildings floating in a sea of asphalt. Another car lot. I keep wondering why the development along Soscol, the gateway to the city, has to be so strip-mallish. I bite my tongue while saying it, but why can't Napa be more like Walnut Creek. The new 'Micheal's' mall is, frankly, an instant piece of suburban blight. The Home Depot mall across the street is the archetype of franchise environmental destruction. And I have always wondered, in the 20 years I have been here, why the entry to a region of sophisticated, some might say overly taste-conscious, citizens would be a bunch of used car lots.

The answer: Peter A. Gasser.

Working on this website I learn something every day about the history of Napa that long time residents already know. But for those of us first generation residents the stories need to be retold. And one of the most important stories is laid out in great detail in the Gasser Foundation history.

I am critical on this site about the role that development (which I should begin calling 'growth' as a less loaded term) has played in diminishing the rural life that I came here to find. But growth is what America is all about, from its roots, and Peter Gasser was a prime, larger than life, exemplar of that history - perhaps even better than most in that philanthropy, boosterism and profit making seemed to be tied throughout his career, just as they are now in his legacy.

The many good works of the Gasser Foundation being acknowledged, I still look at the for-profit developments being done by the Foundation and ask, if urban development is going to happen in the city of Napa, is the best way to do it one franchise mall or car dealership after another.

I now pontificate on projects like Napa Center, Napa Pipe and Watson Ranch, because the survival of an agricultural economy, and my rural paradise on Soda Canyon Road, is not just threatened by specific projects - but by the impact of urban growth as a whole. Without greater protection than we now have on the books and more elected officials committed to that protection, urban growth will cover the vines.

I know I am being elitist, overly taste-conscious. I know that these major projects already close to fruition will not be stopped. It is sad. As a former architect, I know that the right designer can make a difference in the appropriateness of architecture for a specific place and context. The franchise design departments in Kansas city or wherever that decide what the urban fabric of Napa will look like don't care what the urban fabric of Napa looks like. I suspect that Peter Gasser would be promoting franchise malls if he were here and that these projects may be an accurate reflection of his character. But he's gone and times change. Napa should become a better city than it is becoming.

A 2007 article from the NVR: The goods on Gasser

I have just ordered this book: Napa: The Transformation of an American Town Required reading, I am guessing, for those concerned about the future of the city of Napa.

The future of the city of Napa

Bill Hocker - Jan 15, 2015 12:42PM  Share #543

Update NYTimes 2/1/17: A Waking Giant or a Monster? Developers Eye Once-Sleepy Napa

This site is about the future of the unincorporated areas of Napa County. But now that I have to peruse the Register every day to find out what new threat is being posed to our rural way of life, I can't help stumbling across municipal issues. The two are related, of course. The Napa County General Plan relegates to the municipalities the responsibility to house, and until recently to feed, the millions of tourists it is trying to attract to its wineries. With an ever increasing number of tourist event centers now being planned to occupy the vineyards, the need to accommodate tourists is the number one priority in the municipalities.

Two subjects of interest recently:

Condominium City

Napa plans study session to expand vacation rentals
Napa hosts debate on allowing more vacation rentals
Clarifying remarks on Napa vacation rentals

Has anyone considered the possibility that the entire housing stock of Napa, worth more to the city and to owners as short term rentals, might become just a collection of condos managed by a few large corporations? It gives a new meaning to bedroom community.


The Future of Napa Center

This video was just linked on the NVR. It is a very pleasant ride through the center of town, but while the video is great, the vision for the center of Napa is lousy. There is in fact no center to the town of Napa. The shopping center built in the 80's disastrously broke up the comprehensible grid of streets and the town has struggled to find itself ever since. Where is the grand rectangle of public space, like that in Sonoma or Healdsburg or San Francisco, that tells the weary traveller that they have arrived at the real center of the city?

The height and bulk of the new hotel makes us think that the the center is near. But we arrive to find only what, the maze of a shopping mall. The tallest building in a town generally tell us where the animating spirit of the population is. Tradtionally churches in most places, grain silos in farm country, skyscrapers in the profiteering capitals. In Napa it is obviously to be hotels. (Lets just hope the 10 million people don't arrive on the same day.)

The design of the hotel also does little to connote civic grander appropriate for a town center. Think of the St. Francis on Union Square or the Biltmore on Pershing square. This hotel and the new store next to it are styled in the tacky retro 50's pastiche that is now in fashion but will just as quickly become dated nonsense. It is a style that has nothing to do with the turn-of-the-20th century spirit of the town. Although it kills me to say it, the Disneyland Riverfront project does a better job of integration. Can Napa's future not be better than this?


City of Napa Logo

A while ago I remember reading in the Register that Napa was looking for a new logo. I don't know if they found one, but if not I would like to make a proposal:

Altamura articles

Carl Bunch - Dec 8, 2014 8:41AM  Share #493

Interesting articles in the Napa Register today: The City Council is "attacking" Altamura's proposal to develop a large "wine center" at the corner of Trancas and Silverado Trail (size, traffic noise, aesthetics, etc.) and he was found to be a likely party to the "fraudulent transfer" of $500,000 to the Uptown Theater, (owned by Altamura) from BR Festivals, the organizers of BottleRock in 2013, for the purpose of shielding that money from creditors' claims in BR Festival's bankruptcy proceedings.

City begins tackling Altamura wine center projectl
Uptown must return $500,000 to BR Festivals' creditors

Emphasis on wine tourism necessary for Copia's success

Dan McFadden - Aug 17, 2014 11:13AM  Share #317

[letter-to-the-editor published in the NVR on 08/20/14]

A Register article on July 11 by Janelle Wetzstein reports on the Planning Commission review of development plans by the Copia Liquidation Trust for conversion of the Copia building to mixed use including commercial office space. Napa will lose a major economic and cultural opportunity, and a distinctive landmark building, if this development proceeds. Napa Valley has become a world center for wine, an event that Copia was originally designed to celebrate, but is still struggling to balance wine tourism with the lives of its residents and the operations of its wine producers. Both the residents of Napa County and businesses in Napa city will gain if wine tourism, and its accompanying hospitality services, are concentrated in the city and along the Highway 29 corridor, rather than spread over the rural areas of the county. Could a new Copia become the focus for this?

While Copiaís previous incarnation was obviously not a viable business model, there is ample evidence that tourists will flock to facilities that provide the services they are looking for. Oxbow Market is one example, but a better example is how Beaune, at the heart of Franceís Burgundy region, promotes its wines. At its center is the Marche aux Vins, located in the 15th century Cordelier Church, that offers visitors the opportunity to learn about, taste, and purchase wines ranging from vin du pays to the grand 1st cru Burgundies. Organized like an exhibition of wine, with an opportunity to sample the finest products of the region, rather than as a bazaar of individual tasting rooms, the Marche effectively promotes the large and small vintners and nťgociants that produce these wines. It is a destination for international wine tourism, and efficient marketing tool for the regionís wine producers. Readers can learn more from its website at

What an asset it would be for Napa if Copia became a new world version of Marche aux Vins, encouraging wine tourists to come to the city to taste, eat, and stay. Napa vintners and the City of Napa will be the winners if they have the vision to negotiate development of the Copia property with an exposition of wine at its center, with affiliated restaurants, shops, and wine-related enterprises.

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