|Mar 12, 2014|
and the definition of agriculture
"Tourism is becoming the big driver in the local economy...The Ag Preserve exists by three supervisors voting "yes" on any change and 30 days for the ordinance making that change to become effective. You don't have to take elimination of the Ag Preserve head-on. You can just undermine it by changing the definition of what a winery is."
- Jim Hickey 2008 (Napa County Planning Director 1970-89)
In 2010 the definition was changed.
As you can discover by reading all that has gone on below and on the APAC page, the optimism experienced at the 3/10/15 Joint Meeting and at the beginning of the APAC process was completely naive. The process was, in fact, a platform around which the industry participants on the committee, aided by a pro-development Board of Supervisors, have been able to further solidify their control over the political process with no meaningful impact on their development interests. The concerns over winery and tourism proliferation, and the impacts that tourism is bringing to the county, which initially led to the Mar 10th meeting and the creation of APAC, have remained unaddressed.
In April of 2014, when we had our first community meeting to begin discussing what to do about the proposed Mountain Peak project, Harris Nussbaum of the Mt Veeder Stewardship Council spoke to us about the necessity of a revision of the "Winery Definition Ordinance". I knew little about it except that it was a founding document of the powerful economic players in the county and it seemed quite unlikely that it might be changed by a group of fearful NIMBY's. I might have been wrong.
The county has now proposed a community forum to take place in March of 2015 to begin discussions through the remainder of the year that will address not only possible changes to the Winery Definition Ordinance but a discussion of the development impacts that the current General Plan allows and what they might mean for the future of Napa County. Those discussions will involve the municipalities as well. What seemed in Aug of 2014 like an effort to address the impacts of the 2010 changes to the ordinance have in the intervening months morphed into a look at the "big picture" of Napa's future and what we can do now to shape it.
The "WDO", as it is universally called, is responsible for the tourism winery being proposed next door to us. The ordinance was created in 1990 as the maturing Napa wine industry began to appreciate the potential impacts that a lack of regulation might bring. They included the threat that unregulated winery and tourism construction and the threat that less expensive grapes imported from beyond valley might begin to affect the viability of agriculture in the county. The 1990 WDO codified how much vineyard land could be taken over for winery use, defined tourism uses as accessory and subordinate uses that were limited in area, and most importantly required that all new wineries use at least 75% napa-grown grapes in their wines.
It was a balance of interests of the "stakeholder" organizations in the valley: growers received assurance of a market for their grapes and vintners knew that their plans for wineries and tourists, while restricted could not be denied capriciously. Those provisions only applied to future wineries or winery expansions - existing wineries were exempt.
In 2010 after the high-end wine industry tanked during the great recession, the WDO received it first modification. Referred to as a 'clarification' of the intent of the WDO, it in fact made two significant changes: food service was allowed as part of tours and tastings. And marketing events were expanded to include a new event class, "business events". I have included a detailed comparison of the differences between the 1990 and 2010 versions of the ordinance below. The "clarification" was no such thing - it was a change in the profit center of the winery from wine sales to food service and event hosting. And developers responded appropriately.
It was also a change in land use un-vetted by a CEQA process or by voters as required by Measures J and P.
By late 2013, as the magnitude of the approvals being made were becoming obvious, letters -to-the-editor were being written and by 2014 an open revolt has been occurring in the numerous neighborhoods that will be impacted by the many projects going through the pipeline. The county has now realized that the opposition is not just localized NIMBYism but that these projects are going to have cumulative impacts on the future of the county that had not heretofore been looked at.
For over a year now citizens and the county have begun to realize, either through intolerable traffic or by event centers filling the vineyards, that the WDO and the General Plan is not doing an adequate job of protecting the agriculturally centered life that is at the heart of the 1968 legislation and of the Napa County General Plan. A joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on May 20, 2014 began a process to analyze and shift the trajectory of development. A second joint session on Mar 10, 2015 proposed the creation of structures to begin proposing solutions to the problem. Many of the posts below summarize the Mar 10th meeting, a meeting that we hope will prove to be a milestone in the ongoing effort to preserve the rural character of Napa County for future generations. My summary of the meeting is here.
Following the Mar 10th joint BOS/ Planning Commission meeting the county established the Agricultural Planning Advisory Committee to begin a revision of the WDO and other winery related issues. The committee will hold its meetings over the next several months. I will continue to follow the APAC meetings here.
Draft Environmental Impact Report for the 1990 WDO
DEIR for the 1990 WDO (Impacts and Mitigation measures begin on page 1)
DEIR mitigations as supplied by County for APAC #8 in response to Farm Bureau question 7/24/15
Final Environmental Impact Report for the 1990 WDO
Winery Definition Ordinance Final Environmental Impact Report I (FEIR Page A1-A23)
Winery Definition Ordinance Final Environmental Impact Report II (Winery Map)
Winery Definition Ordinance Final Environmental Impact Report III (FEIR pages A-24 to A-112)
Winery Definition Ordinance Public Comments I (FEIR pages B-1 to B-115)
Winery Definition Ordinance Public Comments II (FEIR pages B-116 to B-220)
Winery Definition Ordinance Response to Public Comments I (FEIR pages B-221 to B-355)
Winery Definition Ordinance Response to Public Comments II (FEIR pages B-356 to B-482, Appx G travel study, Appx H Endangered species)
Winery Definition Ordinance FEIR Append E-F
(Appx E Grand Jury Report, Appx F Legal Council Memo)
Winery Definition Ordinance Errata (FEIR errata sheet, repeat FEIR page A1-A3, 10/18/89 BOS hearing transcript, misc comments)
The approved 1990 Winery Definition Ordinance
Calif State definition of Agriculture
History of "agriculture" in General Plan
History of "agriculture" in County Code
APAC creation resolution
2015 Grand Jury Report: Are Napa County wineries following the rules?
Dir. Morrison's Data analysis of the county 2015
Napa County Travel Behavior Study 2015
Napa County Travel Behavior Study Powerpoint
Tourism in Napa County 2012
Tourism in Napa County 2015 powerpoint
David Morrison's Board Agenda Letter: WDO Review
Napa County Land Use Map
Geoff Ellsworth's map of potential winery/event center sites in the county
County General Plan Ag Preservation & Land Use Element
Napa Valley Vintners WDO page
2010 County WDO revisions
8/18/10 Planning Commission Winery Study Session Item 10A
4/14/10 Planning Commission agenda re: changes to the WDO
Correspondence for 2010 WDO not included on agenda (from St. Helena WIndow)
Stakeholder Statement of Principals re 2010 changes to the WDO
2008 Cumulative Impact Staff Report
Shocking idea from Grapegrowers in 1987
1983 General Plan definition of agriculture
1976 Ordinance 511: Earliest "ag preserve" ordinance? with definition of agriculture
Stephen Donoviel LTE 4/19/17: The definition of agriculture
NVR 4/19/17: Napa County's new definition of agriculture to include marketing and sales
Wines&Vines 3/13/15: How Many Wineries are Enough?
WineSearcher 3/12/15: Napa Rails Against Disneyland Image
2010 WDO changes should have been put to vote Geoff Ellsworth 8/18/15
County looking for ag advisory committee members
Anyone want to be a Supervisor? George Caloyannidis plus citations
Sour grapes in Wine Country: Intense challenges to wineries erupt Shepherd Bliss
Selling tickets, not wine in the Napa Valley Sandra Ericson
Napa Valley at the crossroads George Caloyannidis
Napa county to explore the price of wine success/
Dillon: Land use, a new jail top county agenda
New year will feature new debate on winery development
Enough is enough already on winery development Kelly Wheaton
Don't sell out to greed and profit Anne Carr
Napa County's resources are not limitless 10/2/14
Napa Valley May Cut Back On New Wineries 8/22/14
Napa County supervisors hear calls for new winery rules8/19/14
Winery Definition Ordinance should be reexamined 8/13/14
Our current business model is flawed 7/29/14
Small wineries' expansions can have big impacts 7/14/13
Calistoan 5/20/14: Planners, supervisors take cautious approach to curbing winery visitation
Former planning commissioner clarifies original intent of WDO 2/24/13
Our View: Winery ordinance powder keg needs defusing1/26/13
Supervisors back some changes to winery ordinance 3/8/10
Supervsors to hear arguments on winery event rules 3/1/10
Groups Examine Winery Event Rules 11/23/09
Weddings at Wineries 10/10/09
LA Times 10/17/85:Napa Valley Debate: When Is a Winery Not a Winery?
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Mar 10th BOS-PC statement: Mark Luce
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Mar 10th 2015 BOS-PC statement: George Caloyannidis
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Notes from the Jan 27th BOS meeting
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Open letter to the Planning Commission and the BOS
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The population bomb, part 1
The upcoming development forum
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Wine Industry Economics Study Session
A Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors
Peter Jensen on the Aug 19th WDO hearing
NVR Editorial on Cumulative Impacts
BOS Meeting regarding the WDO, Tues. Aug 19th 9:00am
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Letter to PC on Winery Definition Status Agenda Item 8/6/2014
Planning Commission looks at the WDO Aug 6th
Email exchange with Bill Dodd
2010 changes to the WDO
Commissioner Phillips General Plan Evaluation
Heather Phillips and Diane Dillon revisit the WDO
Meeting with Diane Dillon on Cumulative Impacts
What's Wrong with the WDO
Why do locals hate wineries so much?
Time for a moratorium
Impact of winery developments in outlying areas of Napa County
May 20th joint meeting letter to PC and BOS
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