|Tue, Mar 28, 2017|
County Community Vision Roundtable (3 of 5)
More Information Here
Mar 28th Location: Calistoga Community Center, 1307 Washington St, Calistoga
|Thu, Mar 30, 2017|
County Community Vision Roundtable (4 of 5)
More Information Here
Mar 30th Location: Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School multipurpose room, 1316 Hillview Pl, St. Helena
|Mon, Apr 3, 2017|
County Community Vision Roundtable (5 of 5)
More Information Here
Location: Yountville Elementary School cafeteria, 6554 Yount St, Yountville
|Tue, Apr 4, 2017|
Board of Supervisors
Mar 21st hearing agenda and documents
9B County ordinance definition of agriculture back again!
More wordsmithing needed - processing, marketing not yet subordinate and incidental enough.
[Mar 21st recap here]
|Wed, Apr 5, 2017|
County Planning Commission
Flynnville Wine Company new winery
2/15/17 agenda and documents
Mitigated Neg Dec document
County's Flynnville page
60000 gal/yr, 9800 vis/yr, 60 trips/day, 15 employees
[continued from Feb 15th]
Behrens Family Winery Major Mod
Mitigated Neg Dec
10,000 more gal/yr, 11920 vis/yr, setback variance
8A Whitehall Lane Winery Use Permit
County Whitehall Lane page
10000 g/yr, no visitation, 3 trip/day
[continued from March 15th]
Proposed Zoning Amendment
|Bill Hocker - Mar 16, 2017 |
Unfortunately, despite the vast amount of development that has occurred in the county over the last decades, all promoted and sold on the basis of the tax revenues that would be raised by the expanded economy, the taxes and fees generated are never enough to pay for the impacts the new development creates. George Caloyannidis makes that point here and is the subject of many of his other articles as well as other articles on the SCR Growth Issues page.
|Amber Manfree - Mar 15, 2017 |
Is it just me, or are county employees concerned about all the same things we are?
Traffic, locals/working professionals being priced out, class conflict, decisions not being based on data, residents concerns not being incorporated in planning decisions, road conditions... the county being sued.
It's a familiar sounding list!
I think it's missing biodiversity/conservation/limits to growth issues, though.
|Glenn J. Schreuder - Mar 15, 2017 |
I think we are witnessing the hollowing out of the Napa community:
- Spiraling housing costs.
- Projected declines in public school enrollments.
- Absentee home ownership - vacation/2nd home ownership all over cities from Napa northward.
- Monocultural agriculture (lack of agricultural diversity)
- A single dominant, primary industry (lack of economic diversity)
- Distant corporate ownership replacing family ownership of the means of production.
- A generation of kids who will find they need to leave the community they grew up in or risk becoming part of a significant economic under-class (with some limited exceptions i.e. kids from wealthy families)
- Conspicuous, ostentatious, tasteless displays of material wealth.
Definitely not the Napa I grew up in and not the one I fell in love with.
The spell is broken.
|Chris Malan - Mar 9, 2017 |
At the Napa County BOS [see list of acronyms at end] yesterday they voted to approve two changes in regards to the approval of erosion control plans for the conversion of lands to vines.
1. ECPA CEQA process for THP/TCP is now going to be done through Napa County. This is good for us for several reasons:
2. The PBES is now taking over the ECPA process from the RCD who was NOT qualified to oversee these engineering plans . This is good news on several fronts because:
Living Rivers Council has worked on this for over 17 years and finally there are changes coming through the SFRWQCB telling the Counties that their erosion control plans must have robust engineering/modelling that shows scientific evidence of deep ripping and deforestation impacts on soil types. This is a much higher CEQA bar now for these projects. The SFRWQCB is collaborating this with the NCRWQCB for the implementation of their WDR in Sonoma County and beyond!
FYI-with this the WDR will be rolled out soon and the BMPs for vineyards will be such that the ECPA must demonstrate no increased rate of runoff-this will limit the amount of deforestation in certain soil types.
Cal Fire told the BOS that Napa County has the most TCP’s in the STATE! We need to really use this in our Initiative language, PR and fundraising. This means that Napa really needs initiative protection.
Hydrologic Soil Groups (HSG)
Timber Harvest Plan (THP)
Timber Conversion (TCP)
Wastewater Discharge Requirement permit (WDR)
San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFRWQCB)
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB)
Resource Conservation District (RCD)
National Resource Conservation District (NRCD)
Living Rivers Council (LRC)
Best Management Practices (BMP)
Erosion Control Plan Application (ECPA)
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Board of Supervisors (BOS)
Planning Building and Environmental Services (PBES): Napa County department where ECPAs are processed
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire)
|Chris Malan - Mar 9, 2017 |
We know now that the County planning staff are hearing us (italicized and copied from the BOS agenda letter here):
There have been two recent items of note regarding the ECPA review process.
On January 20, 2017, staff sent a notice to stakeholders and interested parties indicating that PBES would no longer accept hydrologic analyses and vineyard ECPAs designed in reliance on modified hydrologic soil group (HSG) assumptions. The HSG methodology is no longer recommended by either the Resource Conservation District or the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and is not supported by Department engineering staff. We are working with those applicants who have not yet transitioned to the preferred approach.
(LRC debunked the Walt project soil analysis claims that after grading the soils are more permeable therefore, groundwater has a high recharge value with vineyard development-an utter false assumption. I wonder what this will do for our litigation)
Recently, CalFire held a training exercise on private property in the Soda Canyon area. It generated complaints from nearby residents who were concerned that illegal brush clearing and/or grading was occurring. Section 18.108.050.(H) of the County Code exempts the creation and/or maintenance of firebreaks required by, and completed under the direction of the California Department of Forestry. However, the exemption does not specifically address fire training exercises. Similarly, work to create fuel breaks (not fire breaks) is being proposed by Napa Firewise. Staff is working closely with both Firewise and CalFire to ensure that necessary fire prevention work is allowed to move forward, in a way that does not impact the environment or create violations of County Code.
(so we know now that the grading on Soda Springs road was actually NOT Allowed and NOT specifically exempt!)
|Gary Margadant - Aug 31, 2016 |
The Planning Department is revamping the Conditions of Approval (COA) and the subject will return to the Planning Commission in October. First Blush was 8/3/16, second meeting scheduled for 9/7/16 but this will be pushed into October. A notice to stakeholders will be out very soon.
Funny, but the main comments have come from NVV and NVGG. Stakeholders - Architects, Engineers, planners, etc. have yet to offer feedback.
The COA, if helpful with direction to the owner and Stakeholders and should include references to County Code and other directives that help the reader interpret and act on the Conditions of their USE Permits. Especially for the employees of the Planning Dept (including enforcement): Their efficiency, clarity and time is our money and their reputation.
Ease of communication and enforcement should be the guiding goals of the new COA, something supported by the Industry Groups, see the attached letter.
The COA is in 3 parts, Winery, Non-Winery and Other. I have included the Winery portion. The other parts are available at Item 10A:
Date: Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 5:03 PM
Subject: Napa County Development Process - Standard Conditions of Approval Update for Discretionary Projects (Status Update)
From: "Gallina, Charlene"
Cc: "McDowell, John"
Hello Regular Customers of Napa County Planning, Building and Environmental Services,
On August 3, 2016, the proposed Standard Conditions of Approval Update for Discretionary Projects were presented to the Planning Commission for their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Based upon public testimony received, the proposed new outline for organization of Standard Conditions, and direction by the Planning Commission, staff recommended at this meeting that this item return to the Commission on September 7th. To date, staff is still working on revisions to the standard conditions and has been meeting with stakeholders to address issues associated with this revision and will not have this item ready for the September 7th meeting. To accommodate this work effort, it is likely that staff will be returning to the Planning Commission sometime in October. Once I have a designated meeting date, I will sent out notification.
If you have any question, please contact me or John McDowell.
|Henni Cohen - Feb 27, 2017 |
[Email to County Planner Dana Ayres]
Dear Ms. Ayers,
I am writing to express my opposition to the prospect of the approval of a private heliport in Napa County. There is no justification for its approval.
The issues of noise, even with a "low-noise helicopter," restricted number of flights per week, and 'mitigation measures' as hinted at by the consultants who prepared the EIR, have been addressed by other concerned citizens.
The crucial question is why such a facility is needed? The individual in question does not live in an inaccessible area where there is no other way to get to his property. He is within an easy drive of the Napa airport and, surely, the drive would not take longer than a helicopter ride. And what about the times when there is bad weather that would prohibit the flying of the helicopter? The individual would have to drive to his residence under those circumstances. The heliport is merely an extension of the individual's sense of entitlement, to the detriment of his neighbors and Napa County, not a necessity.
If commercial helicopters are banned, shouldn't private ones be as well? They present the same noise, intrusion, and privacy issues that were the basis for the ban on commercial helicopter use.
I do not live on Hagen Road, nor near the proposed site of the heliport. However, as I live off of Soda Canyon, where the number of wineries seems to be proliferating to the detriment of our rural life and there are a number of large properties, I am very concerned about the slippery slope that will be created if the Palmaz heliport is approved. Once one such place is permitted, how can the County deny the application for other heliports? I would hate to see the skies of Napa become congested by private helicopters. Not a pretty thought. The many balloons one sees, especially during the summer, are bad enough, with their noise and sometimes intrusive positions above our homes.
I respectfully suggest that the Planning Commission take these points into consideration as it decides whether to approve or deny the application for the Palmaz heliport. And I believe that the only decision is to deny the application for a private heliport in Napa.
Thank you for your consideration.
|Stephen P. Rae - Feb 28, 2017 |
[Email sent to Planning Commission]
28 February 2017
Napa County Planning Commission
1195 Third St., Suite 305
Napa CA 94558
RE: Palmaz Personal Use Heliport Use Permit #P14-00261-UP
Dear Chairperson and Commission Members:
I am writing to register my opposition to the granting of this personal use heliport Use Permit (#P014-00261-UP). The permission to establish such an obtrusive use associated with a residential use in rural Napa County displays a willingness to permit additional such uses in the future, and encourages others to consider doing so.
Currently, the citizens of our County endure frequent helicopter and low level plane traffic over residential and recreational lands. Over the years such traffic has increased. This traffic encroaches on the peace and tranquility that characterizes our valley. The land use assessment of this project fails to reflect the value of the quality of life in our county and disclose how this project may induce its subsequent deterioration.
I am surprised that the potential for this project to encourage others to do the same has not been assessed. And, I am surprised that reference to future review by the Airport Land Use Commission is understood by County staff to address the air traffic consequences of the use permit. Similarly, do we know whether County limits on frequency of use and air traffic patterns will be enforceable over time?
I believe that the Use Permit would open the door to increasing use of the site beyond County limitations and the encouragement of others to establish similar uses throughout the county wherever land and funds are available. Therefore, I suggest that the future cumulative effects of this project do not conform to General Plan considerations, violate the spirit and intent of land use limitations reflected in recent votes by residents, and constitute encouragement to proliferate similar uses in the Napa Valley.
Of course the No Project Alternative does not meet the personal wishes of the applicant. But, when does such a personal convenience outweigh the long-term consequences of further degrading the quality of life in the Napa Valley. Please DENY this use permit application.
Stephen P. Rae, PhD
|Daniel Mufson - Feb 1, 2017 |
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!
I’m 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!!
|Shelle Wolfe - Feb 1, 2017 |
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 Damery… this is what we need to be communicating.
Ms. Damery said “I’m not anti-development,” she said. “I 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.”
|Carl Bunch - Feb 1, 2017 |
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 it’s a harbinger of better things to follow.
|Glenn J. Schreuder - Feb 2, 2017 |
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 I’ll 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
|George Caloyannidis - Jan 12, 2017 |
How far have we come when we consider Cottrell's vote "courageous"!