New Jail for Napa County? The Process Begins

Napa County releases the first documents in preparation for an environmental impact report on potential locations for a new jail, including Soscol Avenue between Napa State Hospital and the Syar quarry.

Updated Jan. 29:

It looked at first like encouraging news for those in favor of moving the Napa County jail, but jail opponents may not be pleased with the county's latest plans for its correctional facility.

The county is beginning the process of finding a location for a new jail, according to an announcement released Monday.

However, cautions county spokeswoman Elizabeth Emmett in a comment posted below,

If a new jail is sited out of downtown Napa, the current thinking is that the current jail downtown would not be demolished. One section would be used as temporary (day use) space for inmates who are being transported to court appearances. Another section would be used for County offices and meeting rooms. 

According to the county announcement released Monday:

Napa County is beginning the process of evaluating the environmental impacts of a possible new jail facility.

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Planning, Building and Environmental Services (PBES) Department will release a Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and an Initial Study Environmental Checklist, which outlines what impacts will be evaluated in the report.

According to PBES Director Hillary Gitelman, the EIR will evaluate the impacts of a new jail at a site south of Napa State Hospital along Soscol Avenue, adjacent to the Syar Napa Quarry, as well as a number of alternative locations. 

The EIR will study the possible acquisition of 15 to 20 acres on one or two privately owned parcels at the proposed location, both of which are designated as “study area” in the County’s General Plan.

The Jan. 29 NOP release initiates a 30-day comment period, where agencies and the public are requested to provide input on the topics and alternatives that will be addressed in the Draft EIR. 

Additionally, as part of the EIR process, Napa County will hold a public scoping session on Wednesday, Feb.  20, 2013, at 6 p.m. at the Napa County Library Community Room, 580 Coombs Street in Napa.

The NOP and Initial Study are available at www.countyofnapa.org/pbes/jailEIR or in hard copy at the County Administration Building, 1195 Third Street, Suite 103 (Temporary Permit Center).

Those with comments or questions about the NOP and Initial Study or public comment period can contact Planner Kelli Cahill at (707) 265-2325 or at kelli.cahill@countyofnapa.org. Those seeking information about the project location or Corrections can contact Analyst Liz Habkirk at (707) 253-4826 or at liz.habkirk@countyofnapa.org.

Source: Napa County

Do you think the south Napa location is a good one for the jail? Tell us in the comments.

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Henri Bridges January 28, 2013 at 07:05 PM
It would also be a good idea to move the homeless shelter that's downtown.
DBell January 28, 2013 at 07:08 PM
One of the main arguments against a move that I have heard is the cost to transport to and from those with court appearances. Well, it is 2013 maybe the new jail can get set up with video conference rooms designed to interact with the court house proceedings?
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I recall this being brought up in a county meetings —apparently it's unconstitutional to deprive inmates of their right to be present for their court hearings.
KEN VAN GORDER January 28, 2013 at 08:25 PM
sure a good reason to raise taxes for tearing down a good jail, well located for court acess raise taxes build a new jail miles away and increase danger for the officers transporting to and from court
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 28, 2013 at 08:53 PM
The transport issue can be resolved by housing unsentenced inmates in the current jail that has underground access to the courthouse. The downtown jail could be downsized, with the remaining structure being remodeled for much needed City and County administration offices. There is no need for the expense of demolition and new construction. Once an inmate is sentenced they can be transported to a new facility south of town. One day a week is all that is needed for transport. Rare court appearances for sentenced inmates could be calendared on the same transport day so they could be brought to court in the morning and return to jail in the afternoon with the newly sentenced inmates. This system is used successfully by many other facilities.
Penny January 28, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Could be turned into a new hotel - Hotel Bars!!
Cindy Chambers January 28, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Why move the homeless shelter? maybe because there are usually clouds of tobacco smoke (remember all of the comments about the atrocity of smoke at Baker's?) and a good deal of aggressive catcalling from the folks who loiter in front of the shelter. Doesn't seem very welcoming to the tourists downtown is trying to attract.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Cindy, could your ignorance exceed your arrogance any further? Regardless of the lifestyle choices of the human beings that congregate at the homeless shelter they are citizens of the City of Napa and have every right to live their life as they choose. Just as you do. Cindy, go about your life as you may, and let others lead their own. May you be at peace.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I'm confused by the comments from Henri and Cindy, because the homeless shelter was moved out of downtown Napa several years ago. Its former location is a public parking lot. The current shelter is located on Hartle Court with the transitional housing, near the Napa Sanitation District and animal shelter, behind the new movie theater.
Scott Yeager January 28, 2013 at 11:09 PM
The shelter moved. They are talking about this: http://www.shelterlistings.org/details/19280/ I just walked by it yesterday.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM
This is where the ignorance comes in, Louisa. What they are refering to is the Hope Center on Fourth Street. It is only open limited daytime hours and provides basic services to the homeless population. It also serves as an entrance point to Napa's three homeless shelters; Old Sonoma Rd (familes), Napa Expo (emergency and seasonal) and Hartle Court (individuals, year-round). There is no organized homeless shelter in downtown Napa.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Oh, they're talking about the Hope Center. Did you witness clouds of smoke and aggressive catcalls? I pass by there fairly often and while I do see folks who are down on their luck, they seem to mostly interact with each other.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I can't say I am in favor of moving the Hope Center. Some folks seem to want to put all the homeless in a ghetto where nobody ever sees them. That doesn't seem right to me — where is the path back out of homelessness, then?
Elizabeth Emmett January 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Hello, Elizabeth from the County here. Just two points on which I'd like to comment: 1) Please note that the NOP will be released on Tuesday, Jan. 29, so the docs will be available on our website and at our offices on Tuesday, also. 2) If a new jail is sited out of downtown Napa, the current thinking is that the current jail downtown would not be demolished. One section would be used as temporary (day use) space for inmates who are being transported to court appearances. Another section would be used for County offices and meeting rooms. Hope this helps! Elizabeth Emmett, Napa County Public Information Officer, (707) 253-4111
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 29, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Thank you very much, Elizabeth, for clarifying - We can never get too much clarity.
DBell January 29, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Louisa, I hear what your saying, but remember when Times Square was a dump and Giuliani clean it up? Doesn't that seem prudent (moving the less than desirable's) away from downtown when much of (if not most of) our local economy thrives on tourism? As a tourism based city, we do need to put our best foot forward for our guests. Moving the jail, homeless shelters, etc out of downtown does make sense. Im not saying abandon these people and/or the programs, but relocation away from the tourist is good for tourism.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 29, 2013 at 12:55 AM
That's excellent information, Elizabeth. It helps a lot and makes me feel as though county government is listening to all ideas and selecting useful aspects from many of them.
Leo Olyn January 29, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Correct it is NOT a Homeless Shelter but a day facility operated by the next door Church for the homeless after it closes up in the a.m. and they need someplace else to go and hang out. This is the same Church that had the mysterious fire late at night last winter and cost them upwards of $150k when it was all said and done with the repairs etc. Wonder who burns a jacket in the bushes at night? Why is that little park around the corner called "Needles Park" and why is there a constant flow of littered wine/beer/hard liquor bottles between this day time shelter and Fuller Park??? Why did the Church need to remove their vegetation around their outside benches where homeless people had taken up sleeping at night? Yes, homeless people are citizens of Napa, but I dare say that some of them need an undue amount of law enforcement oversight. I live in this neighborhood and I see these things on a day-to-day basis - how would you like this activity daily in your neighborhood??
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 29, 2013 at 03:53 AM
Leo I agree. Staying homeless in most cases, is a lifestyle choice.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 29, 2013 at 05:48 PM
My first guess for who would burn a jacket in the bushes next to a church would be someone upset with the church for being turned away for help. My second guess would be someone in the neighborhood who is tired of watching the church help the homeless people and watches the homeless activity "on a day-to-day basis". Those would be my guesses.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 29, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I have updated the lead sentence of the article to reflect the fact that the existing jail is not slated for removal - thank you again, Elizabeth. You do a great job and I'll miss working with you.
m. alley January 29, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Steve, I like you. Makes sense to me.
tamie January 29, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I agree with Steve as far as the tourists go. One of my first adventures in SF as a young adult I was exposed to a man urinating in front of me. I was a bit shocked but isn't it typical for every town and city in our USA and around the world to have things/areas of this sort?
Allison January 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Have you every fallen on hard times? Yes downtown does have many different intrests. It also has three very much needed places for the homeless,low-income,elderly and anyone who needs a hot meal.Some can not cook for them selfs, some my be on a tight budget,single parents with children,addictions problems,who need these services so badly,also so people like yourself, maybe you might remember that we all should try to be more compasionate one day you or your family may depend on these very needed services! Thank you to the church and salvation army hope center. Its always well organized helpful and home cooked meals,by different bussinesses,churchs,clubs,groups of people who have different ideas or values everyone needs food,services,and maybe a second chance,maybe just maybe that person will give back when they are doing better and that might be the one and only person to help you when no one will or can't!!! Yes there are some problems that need some attention,but just remember things can change in a second, whether you do it to yourself or it is out of your total control!! thank you to everyone who does work and give back it really makes a difference,It did for me! From someone who came from a very good loving,honest,strong family alwalys put my family first to someone that made somevery poor choices and was in situations that were truly out of my control!!!I I am a strong,loving ,positive mother, daugher and sister,Keep it real napa !The tides can change anytime!! ALY


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