SodaCanyonRoad | Next-door post annotated

Next-door post annotated
Bill Hocker | Feb 19, 2020 on: 2020 Campaign

[This post was sent in response to a Nextdoor discussion on the Napa River Watershed Symposium]

Just to add another viewpoint to the discussion:

Supervisor Pedroza is an experienced politician but he has done no favors for residents who value the rural environment or quality of life that is the legacy of Napa's ag preserve legislation.

While often expressing concern for environmental stewardship, Mr.Pedroza, in fact, continues to pursue a growth agenda championed by his predecessor and mentor, Bill Dodd, elected to the board 20 years ago (I would recommend this refresher). Together they have led the Board in promoting more tourism and industrial growth than the county can handle, clogging county roads with traffic, creating an affordable housing crisis, consuming small town life to serve a growing tourist population.

He worked to eviscerate the Board's response to Agricultural Protection Advisory Commission recommendations, a process begun by public demand to curb winery proliferation [1]. He supported the redefinition of agriculture in county code to lock in tourism as an agricultural process [2]. He supports Visit Napa Valley to bring in ever more tourists [3] and supports streamlining winery use permits for new venues to accommodate them, most, no doubt, in remote areas [4]. He approved the expansion of the Syar excavations adjacent Skyline Wilderness Park in the face of substantial resident opposition [5]. He approved the development or expansion of Woolls Ranch [6], Girard [7], Raymond [8], and other winery projects all vigorously opposed by residents defending their neighborhoods against commercialization. He approved the 2300 acre Walt Ranch vineyard estate project [9] and the remote Mountain Peak Winery [10] (my personal reason to be here) and supported, through his commissioner, the Palmaz heliport [11], each to benefit plutocrats in the face of overwhelming opposition from his own District 4 constituents. Unfortunately, Mr. Pedroza continues to support policies and make decisions that benefit the entrepreneurs that contribute to his substantial campaign war chest leaving residents to suffer the impacts of their developments.

Regarding the aftermath of Measure C mentioned above, Mr. Pedroza opposed Measure C's substantial woodland protections [12], crafting instead the Board's modest proposals (linked in Ms. Tauziet's post above.) Those proposals were shown by Dr. Manfree's "fact-based" analysis to create a 4% saving in deforestation. (see her analysis here). The resulting ordinance is not nearly enough to discourage the status quo rate of deforestation nor does it show a commitment on the part of the Board to take woodland preservation or climate change seriously. [13]

Despite a wealth of environmental regulations, under the current Board hillsides continue to be littered with buildings and vineyard estates, vineyards continue to be filled with tourist attractions, wetlands continue to be covered with warehouses, and housing and major road projects, the nemeses of the creators of the ag preserve [14], continue to be proposed as the solution to our problems. A change in the growth trajectory is needed.

Please, if you wish to see the survival of a rural Napa County for the next 50 years, I urge you to consider a closer look at Amber Manfree. She brings a scientist's analytic understanding to the problems we face and a longtime rural resident's passion to protect the qualities that make Napa a desirable place to be.

[1] NVR 1/6/16: Supervisors set rough outlines for winery rule changes
The APAC process and the subsequent tweaking by the planning commission and BOS was long and convoluted. 4 of the 12 APAC recommendations were massaged by the Supes and their versions, as noted here, were quite different from the APAC versions. The policies that were finally implemented in the name of APAC, a legalization process for out-of-compliance wineries and a fast track winery approval process have only benefitted the industry with residents worse off than before.
[2] NVR 4/9/17: Napa County's new definition of agriculture to include marketing and sales
[3] 11/12/19 BOS agenda item 9B
[4] NVR 1/15/20: Napa County favors streamlining for some winery expansion requests
[5] NVR 10/19/16: Napa supervisors pass final Syar expansion approvals as lawsuit looms
[6] NVR 11/22/14: Supervisors approve Woolls Ranch Winery
[7] NVR 3/10/16: Supervisors back proposed Girard Winery
[8] NVR 8/16/17: Napa County Supervisors side with Raymond Vineyards
[9] NVR 12/6/16: Napa County supervisors endorse controversial Walt Ranch
[10] NVR 5/25/17: Napa County approves remote, controversial Mountain Peak winery
[11] NVR 9/7/17: Palmaz heliport team weighs options after Napa Planning Commission defeat (Sup. Pedroza's commissioner Terry Scott was the only vote to approve.)
[12] No-on-C endorsements
[13] NVR 4/9/19: Napa County passes controversial tree and water ordinance, so what's next?
[14] NVR 4/20/08: How Napa's Ag Preserve beat the odds, and saved the valley