Planning Dept Response to Well Info Request
Yeoryios Apallas | Jun 10, 2014
[Email reply from County Planner Sheveta Sharma to my letter below]
In your email you correctly note that the well log information for the proposed well is not available because the well has not been drilled. And for the existing well the well log is not available to the public, thought the well permit application is. At the Use Permit stage, which is an entitlement, all that is necessary is an approximate location and number of any proposed new wells. The information you are requesting is not available because staff does not have that information, and while we have requested it from the applicant the applicant is not at the point of submitting for a well permit nor does staff require that information for the project's review and analysis of required information. When the information regarding the new well is required is by Environmental Health prior to the issuance of building permit and again that information would be submitted as a well log and not available to the neighbors, while the well permit itself would be available for inspection.
What the Planning Division looks at in our review is the current and proposed water use levels and in this instance has requested a Hydrology report to further evaluate the ability of the project site to accommodate the proposal. While the Hydrology report itself is proprietary information, portions of that report will be made available due to its incorporation into the environmental document which will pre prepared for the project and made available to the public a minimum of 20 days prior to any public hearing.
I understand the neighbor's concerns and why they are requesting information which the feel is important. And while the size of the well could impact how much groundwater is pumped at one time, the overall groundwater that can be pumped remains the same and is based on the total project site multiplies by the factor of 0.5 AF/YR as noted in the Water Availability Analysis, in this instance that total amount is 20.88 AF/YR. In addition, there are standard conditions of approval placed on the project with respect to wells specifically.
12. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH-SPECIFIC CONDITIONS
Please contact (707) 253-4471 with any questions regarding the following.
The permittee may be required (at the permittee's expense) to provide well monitoring data if the Director of Planning, Building and Environmental Services determines that water usage at the winery is affecting, or would potentially affect, groundwater supplies or nearby wells. Data requested could include, but would not necessarily be limited to, water extraction volumes and static well levels. If the applicant is unable to secure monitoring access to neighboring wells, onsite monitoring wells may need to be established to gauge potential impacts on the groundwater resource utilized for the project proposed. Water usage shall be minimized by use of best available control technology and best water management conservation practices.
In the event that changed circumstances or significant new information provide substantial evidence that the groundwater system referenced in the use permit would significantly affect the groundwater basin, the Director of Planning, Building and Environmental Services shall be authorized to recommend additional reasonable conditions on the permittee, or revocation of this permit, as necessary to meet the requirements of the Napa County Groundwater Ordinance and protect public health, safety, and welfare. That recommendation shall not become final unless and until the Director has provided notice and the opportunity for hearing in compliance with the Napa County Code §13.15.070 (G-K).
This condition provides staff with discretion to take measures to alleviate any issues that may arise in the future. At this time since the Hydrology report has not been submitted for staff's review nor has any environmental document been prepared I cannot speculate on what the impacts to groundwater will be. Some additional background information for the neighbors on groundwater reports and date can be accessed at the link below:
My apologies that the County's protocols are not satisfactory to the neighbors, however they are the standards approved by the Board of Supervisors and by which all projects are analyzed. Perhaps the neighbors will be happy to know that the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have started a discussion of adding to or revising current standards and if any of them change in the near future perhaps Mountain Peak may be affected by those changes. At this time staff does not have the ability to alter the process of how projects are analyzed and the information that has been provided to the neighbors is all the information staff has available and has the authority to provide to the public.
Planning, Building, & Environmental Services
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