Bill Hocker | May 18, 2020Update 5/23/20
5/19/20 BOS/PC Joint meeting video
NVR 5/20/20: Napa County looks at wine country growth
NVR 5/18/20: Napa County to tackle wine country growth issues in COVID-19 world
The 5/19/20 meeting of the Napa County Board of Supervsors will include a joint session with the Napa County Planning Commission to discuss planning issues and priorities coming up in the near future. Item 9H here
The session was added at the last minute in the midst of public-participation Covid constrictions. The input of residents impacted by continuing urbanization will no doubt be muted. The last joint meeting
, in 2015, drew hundreds of citizens to the process, and a lengthly, though ultimately unfruitful, airing of concern over the pace of development in the county.
How tourism and the wine industry will rebound from the Covid crisis is still unknown, but the people packing bars in Wisconsin and the pro-tourism legislation in Napa passed after the 2008 downturn indicate that tourism impacts will probably be a bigger issue after the virus than before. The direction toward more urban development projects -- hotels and winery tourism venues, housing, road and warehouse construction, deforestation for vineyard estates -- has solidified in the last years, and the battle to limit that development seems, unfortunately, to be more and more a lost cause.
The emphasis in the Staff letter to the Supervisors
for this session seems to be on the next ABAG RHNA affordable housing
requirement for 2023 to 2031. The previous requirement for the 2015-2022 cycle was 180 uints which were accomodated after incredibly convoluted negotiations within the Napa Pipe project
. In fact the County's desire to develop Napa Pipe was based on the affordable housing it would provide to meet ABAG requirements. Ultimately it will be a counter productive effort. In addition to 180 affordable units the project will have 750 market-rate units, 200,000sf of industrial/commercial space, a hotel, nursing home and a Costco. The number of added employees in the county created by the project and needing affordable housing will no doubt be greater than the affordable units added. Building the project will exaserbate the housing shortage, not reduce it. Probably another developer is currently in the wings with another massive urban project on county land promising to accomodate the 2023-31 allotment.
The only site currently identified as a potential for affordible housing in the unincorporated county is one owned by Pacific Union College in Angwin. Napa's oldest commmunity pushback organization, Save Rural Angwin, challenged the potential use of Angwin sites
to meet the 2015-22 RHNA allotment in the 2014 General Plan update
. The organization is still quite active in opposing development in Angwin.