Plan for a stable not an expanding economy
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Bill Hocker | Feb 10, 2015

Few would argue that Napa is a successful agriculture-based economy. So why is further development necessary - other than to create an income for developers. If our intent is to have an agricultural economy for the next 50 years, in recognition that the crop upon which that economy is based is finite it is time to begin thinking about maintaining a stable economy based on that finite resource rather than the free market attitude of ever expanding profits based on ever expanding development.

As we know from government mandates, the county and its municipalities are required to bear a portion of the development burden created by an expanding population in the state. We should define that burden in the most logical way, by the number of people that Napa county contributes to the world population each year. Can the state argue with that definition? In 2010, 1525 people were born in Napa County. In 2010, 1146 people died in the county. The difference, ±400 people added to the world's population each year, has been fairly constant for at least the previous 10 years, perhaps much longer. Let that increase be the present development standard that we set for the county: 200 housing units per year, 400 jobs created each year. And no more. (Currently about 2800 housing units are in the planning stages in the county)

Then the county can devote itself to two tasks. How to make it's industries more profitable in ways that don't involve agriculture-threatening development. And how to reduce the number of people that Napa county adds to the world's population each year - the only real solution to everyone's long term problems.

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