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Napa Pipe Plan Divides County Planners

After months of public hearings, the Napa County Conservation, Development and Planning Commission could not agree on the controversial Napa Pipe proposal. Next stop for the developer: the county board of supervisors, likely next month.

Traffic, water concerns and sprawl were among the reasons cited in statements read by two members of the Napa County Conservation, Development and Planning Commission as they opposed the controversial Napa Pipe proposal Wednesday afternoon.

Commission members Heather Phillips and Mark Pope had reserved comment at last month's commission hearing on Napa Pipe, at which the other three commissioners all expressed support for housing on the site.

Pope, who spent years on American Canyon's planning commission before moving up to the county commission, called it "the hardest decision i have ever made in this capacity."

Pope added that "a smaller version of this project should be built somewhere that is consistent with the county plan."

But he and other planning commissioners said the county's existing cities are the best places for housing development.

Once Phillips and Pope made clear their opposition, the other members of the commission took up the debate.

Commissioner Terry Scott said he still views Napa Pipe as an opportunity to replace a blighted industrial site with a mixed-use development that might not otherwise be built anywhere in the county.

Scott called Napa Pipe an opportunity he was not willing to let pass.

He also said he does not see any future for the 150-acre property as a site for light industry.

Commissioner Bob Fiddaman said his position had not changed since , when he came out in favor of the developer's proposal for more than 2,000 homes on the site.

"It could be risky, hard to say," he acknowledged, "but visionary, pioneering and innovative are words that appeal to me."

Fiddaman said he wishes Napa Pipe were inside the city of Napa and hopes the development will be a part of the city someday. But, he said the proposal does not represent sprawl.

Commission chair Michael Basayne said "it is the right thing to do" to reclaim the blighted Napa Pipe property.

The final vote approved housing of up to 945 units at the site, according to the 's Peter Jensen in "Planners approve housing at Napa Pipe." The next stop for the Napa Pipe proposal is the Napa County Board of Supervisors, which may hear the matter next month.

For a round-up of reporting and opinion on Napa Pipe, please see our topic page: napa.patch.com/topics/napa-pipe

tom merle May 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Excellent article which captures the dynamic of the debate. Napa Patch is very fortunate of have a journalist of Louisa's talent. I personally side with the planning commission majority largely because the plan is visionary in its scope and very well conceived, with the developer taking the time to do it right. But there is always more sentiment against a project because the opponents have no skin in the game. No one speaks for the next generation or those who would be attracted to buying in such master planned communties. Our country was built by those like Mr. Rogel who held on to a dream despite all the naysayers. If the opponents of innovation had their way we'd still be living in the 19th century.
Marlow Setervang May 02, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Napa Pipe should remain industrial. When a old well was over pumped at Kenedy Park, the city got salt water. There is still one well on the south side of Kaiser road near Soscol Ave. from the old farmstead. And it's not being used, maybe for that reason. We need industry for a place for the people to work first. Then housing. There is many islands of empty land in Napa now that is still vacant Tom.
Catherine George May 03, 2012 at 02:57 AM
This project is a really bad idea. I hope the supervisors do the right thing and vote this down. It's been stated already; precedent, water, traffic, lack of infrastructure, and so on. Most of the homes in this proposed project are not affordable. The land is blighted and flood prone. We have so many homes for sale on the market right now. This project makes no sense.
Gerri Gorney May 03, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I am disheartened that three members of the Planning Commission agreed to support a project that permits the use of groundwater. They completely ignored the fact that historically the water table at nearby wells dropped when water was pumped from wells on the Napa Pipe property. Napa County has a groundwater ordinance that declares fair-share use so even if this project is approved by the Board of Supervisors (God help us), groundwater usage must be monitored by the County to assure that the Napa Pipe project is using no more than "their fair share." Groundwater should never be considered as a long-term potable water source. It won't be there forever.
sandi May 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Napa Pipe development is a terrrible idea. We have enough homes for sale and enough people here. If you are in favor of this, just move to a BIG town and enjoy yourself. I like living here BECAUSE it is a smaller town...
Matt Jackson May 03, 2012 at 04:04 PM
We need more housing in Napa. coughcoughcough. Let's just start calling this Copia2.
napan123 May 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I'm excited to see this plan move forward. This is something that is badly needed for the workers of this community who commute to work everyday. I'm so glad the planning commission was able to look at the facts from the EIR which addresses all of the concerns people stated above and not at the misinformation that is being spread.
David Ryan May 03, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I'm sorry, but as a former Napa worker who was at first forced to live in Solano County because of price and then chose to buy a house in Solano County because of price, you're not going to lure too many workers to live in Napa County for the same price when they could buy a single family home in Solano County for less. All you need is Jameson Canyon at four lanes, and that is coming to fruition.
Giselle Lampe May 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM
More housing in Napa creates more supply...more supply less demand...less demand lower prices...are we sure about this? (pro - to lower prices more people can afford to live here...con- those who own homes will see and another hit to the value of their homes).
Lynnsey Kitchens May 07, 2012 at 02:53 AM
I too was trying to purchase a home in Napa but decided on Solano County because of size for the price. The attraction I see in Napa Pipe is the ability to buy a house IN Napa - where my family lives. I hope this becomes a reality.
Jeff Kitchens May 07, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I agree with Tom, well stated. As a third generation Napan, I am eager to see what developers can do for the locals. The homes mixed in with shopping sounds ideal for my entire family.

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