Bill Hocker | Mar 16, 2021 Update 11/16/21
Napa woodland slated for urban development
The site of the Napa Oaks II proposal is currently zoned "Resource Area". The legal battle the developer has waged and lost a couple of times is to get the resource designation changed to allow residential development. The City of Napa is now going through the General Plan 2040 Update process
, and lo-and-behold, there was a proposal to change the zoning to residential. As the comments indicate, the residents who have been fighting so hard to keep the ridge from being developed were not happy. The plan now seems to reflect that the property will remain resource area.
Wakoh Shannon Hickey LTE 10/27/20: Annexing rural lands can only be a last resort
An eloquent retort to the charge of NIMBY-ism from the son of James Hickey
, County Planning Director from 1970 to 1989 who oversaw much of the rural legacy still tresured (by most) in the county today.
NVR 9/21/20: Debate over Napa's future development turns toward future of Foster Road
A pro-developer councilman raised the spectre of "NIMBY-ism" in the concern over protecting the hills west of Napa City from development. In this case, of course, those hills, like all of the hills surrounding the valley, are in the back yard of everyone who lives here.
As I have pointed out elsewhere
, the term was invented by developers to denigrate residents' self-interest in protecting the character of their communities. There is no similar distillation of developers' self-interest in profiting from the destruction of that character.
It is up to government to decide whose self-interest is the more important, and since most governments revere wealth creation (for the few) over quality of life (for the many), residents are most often pushed into a more urban future than they would prefer. Given the lipservice that government officials often bestow on Napa's rural heritage and natural envirnoment, one would hope that it would be different here. But as is evident in the hundreds of projects that have been approved in the 6 years this site has existed, a rate that shows no sign of lessening despite climate change, pandemic and the vociferous and legal efforts of conservationists, the urbanization of Napa County continues apace.
The General Plan 2040 documents are here
NVR 9/9/20: Timberhill, Napa Oaks, Foster Road residents oppose intensive homebuilding in Napa's future general plan
NVR 2/25/20: Neighbors fear return of Napa Oaks threat to western hills
The City Council has voted 3 to 2 to deny the request to rezone the Napa Oaks property, thus rejecting the Napa Oaks II proposal.
NVR 6/20/18: City Council narrowly rejects Napa Oaks II homes, 16 years after first veto
Chris Benz LTE 6/18/18: Let's protect Napa city's oaks
Kevin Teague LTE 6/18/18: Why I believe in Napa Oaks
Pat Clay LTE 6/18/18: Napa Oaks offers many benefits
Lisa Batto LTE 6/16/18: Weak argument for luxury housing by the Napa Chamber of Commerce
Sharon Macklin LTE 6/16/18: Chamber should advocate for affordable housing
Napa CofC LTE 6/16/18: Can we decide without divide?
Davidson Homes LTE 6/16/18: We have worked closely with the community on Napa Oaks
NVR 6/14/18: City Council set to resolve battle over Napa Oaks II housing development
Florence Linstrom LTE 6/14/18: Don't approve Napa Oaks II
Suzanne Truchard LTE 6/14/18: Chamber shouldn't take position on Napa Oaks
Carol Barge LTE 6/14/18: The one thing Napa Oaks II can't mitigate
Keith Lindstrom LTE 6/14/18: No to Napa Oaks - report proves we have plenty of existing land zoned for housing.
Stop Napa Oaks has sent out this reminder that the Napa City Council
will be deciding the fate of the Napa Oaks II project on Tuesday, June 19th at 6:30pm
Napa City Council Set to Vote on Napa Oaks II
Christina Bettencourt LTE 5/3/18: Kill Napa Oaks for good
NVR 1/31/18: Council vote on Napa Oaks II homes delayed after release of new quake maps
Duane Cronk (last
) LTE 12/28/17: For the right reasons
NVR 12/21/17: City planners narrowly vote against Napa Oaks II homes
SNO 12/21/17: Planning Commissioners vote in a 3-2 split in our favor!
After public testimony the 12/7/17 hearing was continued to 12/21/17 at 5:30pm
NVR 12/8/17: Foes of Napa Oaks II housing turn out in force; city planners delay verdict
Tony Truchard: Napa Oaks project will destroy our scenic gateway
Chuck Dresel: Opposed to Napa Oaks, then and now
Eve Kahn: Do we want to destroy our hillsides?
NVR 12/4/17: Battle over Napa Oaks II homes to go before city planners
Napa City Planning Commission meeting on the project, this thursday Dec 7th, 2017. Stop Napa Oaks requests your support and presence here
Update 11/29/17 Meeting Report
NVR 11/28/17: Napa Oaks II developers revise housing plan; neighbors still push back
SNO counterpoints to developer's presentation
Stop Napa Oaks
sends this notice
after the 11/28/17 presentation hosted by the developers of the 53 unit Napa Oaks housing subdivision slated to replace the oak-covered hillside on the west side of town (pictured). The project will be heard by the Napa City Planning Commission on Dec 7th 2017, with a decision on the project to be rendered in the new year.
The Final EIR describing the project is here
(All less-than-significant impacts of course.)
NVR 5/4/17: Possible Truchard winery, Napa Oaks subdivision developers clash
[The Truchard winery was approved on 9/20/17 at this planning commission meeting
A clash between tourism urbanization and housing urbanization: The natural landscape of the county loses both ways. The Napa Oaks site should never have been incorporated into the city limits and the housing project is the infinitely more egregious insult to the rural character of the county. The site plan, which shows the tops of the hills being sheared off for building pads, is truly heartbreaking. Let's pray they lose the coming battle with their city neighbors to the east and the Truchards (who seem to be the county ideal of the family farm vintner) to the west. The housing developer's letter does just look like harassment in retaliation for the Truchard's opposition to their project. (The Truchard's opposition letter (at the bottom here
), however, is a dead ringer for all of the letters we have written opposing tourism wineries these last 3 years). The best outcome, of course, would be for both to abandon their development plans in order to preserve "the sheer natural beauty of this place".
Napa Oaks II DEIR
Truchard documents Item 8B here
Update 3/1/17: Napa Oaks Development
The Greenbelt Alliance
, an organization dedicated to preserving open space in an urbanizing world for 60 years, has just issued a 2017 report At Risk: The Bay Area Green Belt
which features the Napa Oaks Project as open space under threat of development. (No mention of Walt Ranch?) More here from the Stop Napa Oaks group.
Stop Napa Oaks petition
Stop Napa Oaks Facebook Page
LTE 6/10/16: Development will have huge impact
LTE 5/4/16; A test of character
LTE 5/3/16: Don't destroy gateway to Napa
LTE 4/18/16: Development would scar the land
NVR 5/3/16: Homebuilder revives plans for rejected Napa development
Napa Oaks II DEIR
NVR 8/1/12: Neighbors demand study of Napa Oaks II hillside subdivision
In true developer fashion this project is named for the environment it destroys. (I grew up in an LA suburb called Sherman Oaks, none of which remained). A part of the oak studded hills that define the rural character of the Napa Valley is to be littered with suburban McMansions. The immediate question when looking at Google maps
is why this parcel is within the city limits, surrounded as it is on 3 sides by identical county open space. Not as bad as the absurd Napa gerrymander of Stanly Ranch
, but still one of those unfortunate bumps in the urban-rural line that just invites urban expansion into the countryside.
The battles of communities throughout the county these last two years to maintain what is left of Napa's rural character in the face of a resurgence in developer zeal and money has been both heartening, because the desire still exists to retain this place as separate from the rest of the suburban sprawl of the bay area, and discouraging in that governments seem ever more willing to sacrifice that character to developers' interests.
9/4/16: Andersen Ranch Development
Now a second housing project, by the same developer pursuing the Napa Oaks project, is proposed to carve up more of the few remaining Oak Hillsides within the city:
NVR 9/4/16: Planners endorse 37 east Napa homes despite privacy, tree concerns