SodaCanyonRoad | Apocalypse Averted!
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Apocalypse Averted!
Bill Hocker | Sep 24, 2017 on: The Palmaz Heliport


Update 9/24/17
NVR 9/24/17: Palmaz heliport will be appealed to Napa County Board of Supervisors

The appeal has been scheduled for July 10th 2018, after results from the Heliport Ban Initiative [Measure C] are known.

Update 9/6/17
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.

Update 9/3/17:
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.

Update 8/30/17:
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.


Update 5/17/17:
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 Commission


    Comments
    Donald Williams - Apr 24, 2017 4:48PM

    [Email to County Planner Dana Ayres]

    Among bad ideas the proposition of helicopters over Napa County is the worst. One flies directly over my house in Calistoga regularly---circling the neighborhood for about 15 noisy minutes on one occasion. It's a convenience for someone but a horrible quality-of-life degradation for us below.

    You can read this in the quiet of your office; but I could not have spoken it to you at my house, if the copter was overhead, because of the clamor. It's that loud.

    Please do what you can to prohibit this kind of intrusion into the valley.

    Donald Williams
    Calistoga


    Stephen P. Rae - Feb 28, 2017 1:01PM

    [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.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen P. Rae, PhD


    Henni Cohen - Feb 27, 2017 9:36PM

    [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.

    Henrietta Cohen