Bill Hocker | Apr 2, 2016
NVR 4/4/16: Decision on Walt Ranch expected June 13
After 3.5 hours of presentation and public testimony and the introduction of 3.5 inches of new documents, Planning Director Morrison has put off until June 13th the decision on the environmental control plan based on the Walt Ranch mitigated Final EIR. There will then be a 30 day period to file an appeal to the BOS on the decision.
And a snippet from the comments to the above article initiated by Rob McMillan:
Rob McMillan Apr 5, 2016 12:03pm
As I see it, property owners have rights to develop land and improve it's value within local zoning requirements. There are three things that can happen with this property now: 1) Donate to the Land Trust. 2) Develop a portion with vineyards leaving a healthy amount of natural terrain, 3) develop with homes or ranches.
I would prefer that the property and all the hills for that matter, be retained as open space because I live in Napa and value the views and nature. I'm an outdoorsman. That said, development of some form will happen unless someone were able to raise money to buy the property and donate it. That hasn't yet happened and there has been time to do that. Asking the owner to do donate isn't realistic as they have voiced their desires plainly and have cooperated and responded to all the requirements.
If I can't have open space, I'll take this plan as it still leaves the hills without hospital sized homes dotting the hills. While dissenters won't like the likely approval, the process has been exhaustive and everyone with a view has made their point. It's time to make the decision and approve the project. Denial isn't a reasonable outcome and stalling the decision isn't reasonable with all material information now in hand.
Bill Hocker Apr 5, 2016 4:01pm
Well in fact you will get homes by approving this vineyard project. The convoluted vineyard plan provides 34 of the 35 parcels with all-year road access and a water supply to each parcel (in addition to a few of acres of vines on each). After this project is done the individual parcels may be sold and each can accommodate 3 dwelling units (one hospital-sized) granted by right and a winery granted by a use permit that virtually cannot be denied. The Halls have already developed a similar housing subdivision in Alexander Valley (http://hall-ranch.com). Craig Hall is a real-estate developer. What does anyone expect? duh!
Savethechildren Apr 5, 2016 9:59pm
Bill Hocker, All legal parcels in California are eligible for a single family home. State Law. If not, then the legal existence of your house just might be in jeopardy. If this project goes through, then each parcel will be sold, and each parcel will have a house on it. There is no environmental impact report needed, no public comment, no need to wait 10 years. Deny this project and you will have 35 new neighbors probably overnight. Each of them will submit for their own vineyard (the expensive work is already done for them). Read the EIR and you will see that there are no houses planned. There is no "sub-division" happening here, as that would require a public vote thanks to measure J/P. Continuing to say so is disingenuous at best. This is about vineyards and that's it.
Bill Hocker Apr 6, 2016 9:17am
STC - I should have included a link to the parcel plan ( http://sodacanyonroad.org/docs/waltranchsiteplan.jpg ) in the previous post. Without this project, it is quite unlikely that homes would be built. Each buyer would have to provide the costly access road and water source for their property, not to mention the cost of creating the vineyard of their dreams. Normally a subdivision developer would create that infrastructure and sell the properties. You are right that this is not a residential subdivision. So the developer must find another mechanism to create the infrastructure necessary to make the parcels sellable. Guess what mechanism. To get this project approved the Halls have already agreed to cut over 20% of the vineyards initially proposed. Why? Perhaps because this project isn't about vineyards. I would suggest that all developers, and their spokesmen, stop their disingenuous praise of agriculture to achieve their urban development ends.
4/2/16 Sign Holding at Hall Wines
A signholding at Hall Wines to protest the development of 2300 acres of natural landscape into vineyard estate properties by Craig and Kathryn Hall. A public hearing on the final EIR for the project is happening Mon, Apr 4th 9:00am at the County Building.
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