Bill Hocker | Sep 6, 2017
NVR 9/7/17: Palmaz heliport team weighs options after Napa Planning Commission defeat
The Airport Land Use Commission has turned down the Palmaz Proposal as inconsistent with the ACLU Plan on the basis of noise and safety impacts on surrounding land uses. The vote was 6-1 with Walker, Brod, Gallagher, Cottrell, Basayne and Gill opposed to the proposal and Scott in favor. Four hours later the Planning Commission followed suit voting 4-1 with Gallagher, Cottrell Basayne, and Gill opposed and Scott in favor.
The decision will probably be appealed, but this is a rare win for the residents that are being impacted by the many development projects being proposed throughout the county. This project may just be an exception - its potential impacts are egregious both in its particulars and in the precedent it sets. But let's hope this is a harbinger of a shift in the county's interest toward balancing the interests of most residents against those of developers and plutocrats and their impactful good-life enterprises.
Nothing has changed in the proposal since the May 17th hearings. One hopes that Barry Eberling will ask Comms. Gill and Basayne why they reversed their positions. The answers might be of interest. (Comm. Gill's closing comments need to be transcribed.) It also puts a spotlight on Comm. Scott, who did buck fellow commissioners before in support of residents, but continued to support plutocratic desire here over the overwhelming rejection of the project by community and commission alike. The spotlight thus also falls on what can only be interpreted as Sup Pedroza's unique support of the Palmaz project.
NVR 9/3/17: Calistoga resident plans to launch Napa County heliport ballot initiative
George Caloyannidis has begun the effort to make sure, whether Christian Palmaz is successful or not, that there are no more heliports being proposed in the county. He was instrumental in the original effort to halt helicopter use for winery visitation in 2004. Now is the time to finish the work.
On Tuesday, Sep. 6th 2017, the Airport Land Use Commission and the Napa County Planning Commission will again take up the Cristian Palmaz request for a personal heliport, a precedent-setting decision that will enable the plutocratic entrepreneurs proliferating in the county to escape the traffic that their good-life enterprises are generating. The thump-thump of their disdain for the peace and quiet of Napa's less-well-healed residents just adds to the neighborhood and county-wide impacts of their vanity developments. The two hearings will begin at 9:00am at the County building, 1195 3rd St. Public comments are welcome.
The Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) has not approved, by a 3 to 3 vote, the Palmaz heliport proposal. Commissioner Walcker (a pilot on the ALUC but not the Planning Commission) and Comm. Cottrell both cited the ALU Compatability Plan's Commission Authority (page 1-2):
The Commissionís charge expressly stated being:
...to protect public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring the orderly expansion of airports and the adoption of land use measures that minimize the publicís exposure to excessive noise safety hazards within areas around public airports to the extent that these areas are not already devoted to incompatible uses.
Comm. Cottrell felt that the Palmaz project was not an "orderly expansion" of Napa's airports. Comms. Walcker and Cottrell were joined by Comm. Gallagher in denying the project. Comms. Scott, Basayne and Gill voted in favor.
Just after the vote Dir. Morrison broke the slightly stunned silence by asking "Can staff request a 5 minute break?"
Not approved is not the same as a denial, it turns out. After the break Ms. Anderson, county council, indicated ALUC by-laws require a full 7 members to review the project in the event that a majority of the commission is not in agreement. This hearing will thus be continued to a date uncertain until all 7 members can be present. Comm Gallagher asked, if those are the by-laws, why a hearing was scheduled without all 7 members. And why at the Planning Commission a split vote meant denial, but not in this case. Ms. Anderson indicated that the by-laws are different. The Planning Commission will go ahead with its public comments, but no vote will be taken and the hearing will be continued until the date of the ALUC hearing.
As the subsequent Planning Commission began, Brian Russell, the Palmaz attorney, concluded his presentation with: "There are no noise impacts associated with this project." Christian Palmaz and consultants, for the last couple of years, have presented much "fact-based evidence" to prove that his helicopter noise will have a less than significant impact on sensitive receptors (people). The people, however, remain unconvinced and continued to present, during the rest of the hearing, the "anecdotal evidence" that helicopters do make significant noise. The hearing was then continued.
NVR 5/15/17: Palmaz heliport hearing heads toward conclusion
The second day of the County Planning Commission Hearings on the Palmaz Helipad Project will happen on May 17th, 2017, beginning at 8:00 am at the County Building, 3rd Floor, 1135 3rd St Napa.
8:00am: Airport Land Use Commission (the ALUC includes Planning Commissioners plus other airport and county officials) will review the Project
The agenda and documents are here
After the ALUC hearing (perhaps 10:00-11:00am) the Planning Commission will review the Final Environmental Impact Report FEIR on the project
Agenda and Documents are here
Comments may be submitted to project planner Dana Ayres at
County's Palmaz Heliport page including Final EIR is here
SCR take on the hearing
The conclusion of the FEIR: "Project operation would result in helicopter noise associated with approaches and departures occurring at the heliport...This impact would be significant." Duh!
The SCR Palmaz page is here
The NapaVision 2050 Palmaz petition page is here
NapaVision 2050 hearing notice is here
2/27/17: Day 1 of the FEIR hearing
NVR 3/1/17: Napa County planners open Palmaz heliport hearing
NVR 2/27/17:County prefers Mount George site for Palmaz heliport
The first day of the County Planning Commission Hearing for the Final Environmental Impact Report on the Palmaz Helipad Project happened on Mar 1st, 2017.
Agenda And documents for Mar 1st, 2017 hearing
Staff Agenda Letter
Video of the hearing
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