Residence Definition Ordinance
Bill Hocker | Oct 28, 2018
home sweet home
NVR 11/1/18: Napa County sees McMansions as farmland threat
BOS Agenda 10/30/18 Item 10A
"Director of Planning, Building, and Environmental Services requests discussion and direction regarding commencing potential zoning ordinance changes to the Viewshed Protection Program and limiting total development area for residential development within agricultural zoning districts."
The agenda letter for this item at the Oct 30 2018 BOS meeting is here
It has always seemed a paradox to me that an enormous number of zoning restrictions are placed on wineries, including development area allowed, setbacks from roads, need to "convey their permanence and attractiveness", and above all a highly public approval process to insure that wineries are in harmony with maintaining a beautiful and agrarian landscape. Houses on the other hand, seem exempt from those considerations - except for a viewshed ordinance that doesn't seem to have prevented the county's most prominent ridgelines from being encrusted with buildings. It is as if, because houses are a "by-right" use, that their negative impacts on the environment are also granted by-right.
The photo shows a house currently being constructed in a very obvious location on the Trail near the Soda Canyon junction. The setback is about 200' rather than the 600' required for a winery. The building's design, of very un-"napaesque" boxes, screens off the farmlands and ridges from view and a bit more of the county's rural landscape has been urbanized. A public vetting of the design, and an ordinance intended to moderate the visual impact of a residence in the landscape and its occupation of Napa's precious arable land would definitely be a welcome addition to the County's land use arsenal.
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