How Big Should Napa Pipe Be?

Updated with notes from Tuesday's special Planning Commission meeting at the Opera House: A scaled-back proposal for 2,050 homes is still more than twice as much housing as the county needs at Napa Pipe, according to planning officials.

Updated 11 p.m.: A special meeting of the Napa County Planning Commission brought an estimated 150 people to the Napa Valley Opera House Tuesday night to probe the details of the recently-released environmental impact report for the proposed mixed-use development known as Napa Pipe.

Though dozens of those in attendance filled out comment cards, they were not provided with a microphone. Instead, planning commission chair Michael Basayne read the questions and comments from the cards, requesting responses from either county staff or the Napa Pipe applicants, chiefly represented by Keith Rogal of Napa Redevelopment Partners.

A second public meeting of the planning commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 19 at Napa Valley College. Following that session, the commission may present a recommendation to the county supervisors.

Please see the attached PDF for three Napa Pipe alternatives according to Napa County planning staff.


Is 2,050 still too many homes for Napa Pipe?

County planning staffers have recommended no more than 700-945 housing units at the 154-acre site where Napa Redevelopment Partners had originally proposed as many as 3,200 townhome residences as part of its ambitious, "New Urbanist" mixed-use development plan.

But according to a report in the Napa Valley Register, slow-growth advocates who already oppose the Napa Pipe project say because so few homes couldn't support neighborhood businesses, the scaled-back version would create worse traffic congestion than the developer's most recent proposal of 2,050 homes with local businesses and a school.

What are your thoughts? Take our strictly non-scientific opinion poll and let us know how big, or small, you think development at Napa Pipe should be.

Correction: The first edition of this poll mischaracterized the amount of housing county staff now recommends for Napa Pipe. The county is recommending 700-945 units built in 200-unit phases, although an alternative plan allows for far fewer homes (see attached pdf).

Mike Treleven February 22, 2012 at 03:49 PM
No homes at Napa Pipe. There are plenty of existing properties that have been vacant for years. Let's look at slow growth and not jump into anything. There are also plenty of areas for in-fill within the city limits.
Dean Alm February 22, 2012 at 05:09 PM
The vacancy rate in Napa is so low that people drive into the valley by the hundreds every day. Rents have bumped up steadily and affordable housing is dissapearing quickly. The only real vacancy is the junk the banks hold and that is moving fairly well but at a depressed price. Once the market firms up there will be a scramble to pick up the last of the bargains in the valley by the few who have money or great credit. We are going to need inventory at reasonable prices so density helps with costs. Services would keep people local to their community more but remember that a lot of these people are on our roads every day already, coming from fairfield or Valejo. The resistance to this project is short sighted, racist, built on greed or maybe all three. Planned sattelite communities like this one can work well with the right oversight, my main concern would be the river and how has that been factored into the planning?
Ann Trinca February 22, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Anyone who has tried to rent an apartment or buy an affordable home in Napa in the last ten years knows that there are not "plenty of existing properties". Those that are affordable are old, falling apart, or in dangerous neighborhoods. We need to house a spectrum of residents from older retirees to young people in the expanding service industry. The resistance to this project is a viral case of "NIMBY" blindness from people who are comfortably settled in their Napa estates.
Duane Cronk February 23, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Napa County has a plan for that area, a plan which reflects the desire of what the present residents of the county want to see happen there. That policy is spelled out in the Napa County General Plan. Now a group of investors has bought the site and come forward with their own dream. Why is their even being considered? Why has the County planning department started the supervisors down the road to some kind of compromise? This is crazy.
Keith Rogal February 28, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Dear Mr. Cronk: you are correct that the County's General Plan process did, indeed review and establish a plan for the Napa Pipe area. However, your statement about the General Plan, and about our role as property owners, is troubling, because it fundamentally mischaracterizes the facts. The County's General Plan specifically redesignated Napa Pipe as a "Study Area", noting that it and a nearby property were "urbanized sites adjacent to the City of Napa that shall be considered for revitalization and reuse by a mix of uses via site-specific planning." Further, the public testimony which led to that Policy regularly cited the potential benefits of the reuse of this brownfield site to help meet the County's legal, moral and practical obligations for housing. In short, what you glibly and disparagingly characterize as just some investors’ "own dream" is, in fact, a plan forged over five years and more than 200 public meetings, in careful and precise compliance with the site-specific planning process called for in the General Plan. It is simply not correct to say that our proposal – which calls for recycling a contaminated site into a compact, walkable neighborhood – is contrary to the stated “desire of what the present residents of the county want to see happen there.” Of course, I appreciate that reasonable people may differ about a property’s future, and that have your own thoughts about why it is better to leave Napa Pipe for industrial development.


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