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Split Vote Sends Napa Pipe to Supervisors

The Napa County Planning Commission ended its episodic, months-long Napa Pipe hearing with a 3-2 vote in favor of approving the environmental impact report for the controversial project, which may now include a Costco.

Find all our Napa Pipe reporting, with links to other media, at our Napa Pipe topic page: napavalley.patch.com/topics/Napa-Pipe

The Napa County Board of Supervisors is the next stop for Napa Redevelopment Partners' scaled-down Napa Pipe proposal, with 700 to 945 apartments and townhomes and a Costco for the estimated 27,000 Napa County residents who currently drive elsewhere to shop at the bulk-retail giant.

"I think we can confidently say we have left no stone unturned," said Napa County Planning Commissioner Tony Scott at the end of a four-and-a-half-hour public hearing Wednesday afternoon, the latest in a protracted series of public meetings that began in early 2011 and is likely to continue well into 2013 and perhaps even beyond.

The meeting at Copia, during which more than 30 people rose to speak both for and against Napa Pipe, ended with a 3-2 vote by the planning commission to approve the project's environmental impact report (EIR) and send the proposal on to the county board of supervisors.

Commissioners Heather Phillips and Matt Pope were in the minority, voting for the second time against approving the EIR for Napa Pipe.

The proposed development at a polluted former industrial site just outside Napa city limits has been controversial since it was first outlined more than four years ago as a mix of housing and business with 3,000-plus dwelling units.

Click here to read the origins of Napa Pipe in a detailed 2008 magazine article by this reporter.

The project's environmental impact report has been circulated twice, for extended periods, and aired in a series of hours-long public meetings during which scores of county residents took their turn at the microphone to voice their support or opposition.

The planning commission had been split on the proposal since last May, when it voted 3-2 to send Napa Pipe to the supervisors before agreeing to revisit the decision.

The pause gave Napa Redevelopment Partners time to scale its proposal down to one with fewer homes and the addition of Costco.

But while the newest proposal for Napa Pipe is distinctly different from its original plan, Wednesday's comments by the public and commission members generally followed the pattern laid down more than a year ago.

All the speakers appeared to be over 40 — one man said he was almost 92, drawing a round of applause — and were almost evenly divided between opponents and supporters of the development.

Traffic, water and infrastructure impacts recurred as objections from Napa Pipe opponents, while supporters emphasized the promise of affordable housing for county residents and the renewal of the Napa River waterfront property.

Speaker comments from the meeting will be posted Thursday. Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an automatic update whenever we publish news about Napa Pipe.

For more about the Napa Pipe development, including Michael Haley's traffic analysis and links to other reporting, please see our Napa Pipe topic page at napavalley.patch.com/topics/Napa-Pipe. Articles include:

  • County Holds Hearings on Napa Pipe
  • Comment Period Extended on Napa Pipe Report
  • Luce “Happy" to Keep Napa Pipe Industrial
  • New Napa Pipe Hearings Set
  • Where Do You Stand on Napa Pipe?
  • How Big Should Napa Pipe Be?
  • Was Law Broken at Napa Pipe Meeting?
  • Many Voices Expected at Napa Pipe Hearing
  • Napa Pipe Vote Postponed
  • Napa Pipe Plan Divides County Planners
  • Napa Pipe Hearings Canceled as Developers Revise Proposal
  • Napa Pipe Returns to Planning Commission

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Rachael Clark October 04, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Tony said he left no stone unturned? The supplimental EIR was just out a couple days. The process is supposed to be honored. This is a new project. We are supposed to have to time review. I believe our supervisors wont let us down.
Art Morris October 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM
The Fairfield Costco almost closed because it was struggling, even with Napa's help, so what makes people think Napa can support it's own Costco? Napa Pipe should remain industrial. Why don't we use it to create manufacturing and other jobs instead of more over-priced housing which only executives can afford?
Kevin Eggers October 04, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Art, I remember talking to Napa Sheriff John Robertson about wanting to keep this "industrial." He said industrial wasn't one of the choices. Who decides what the choices are? Who is really deciding?
Art Morris October 04, 2012 at 06:49 AM
Kevin, I believe that the owner of the property can basically do what they want with the property as long as it is in line with zoning, ordinances, and does not adversely affect the environment. I do not think that we as citizens, or the government can dictate what we do with another persons property. Hopefully the EIR will have too negative of an impact on our community and the project will stop. Ultimately it comes down to how the government interprets the laws, proposed use and impact, but we can be sure that "greased palms" will come into play.
Ernie Stoddard October 04, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Your NOT SAYING that some people in our little town, would be on the take, are you? No wonder we can't get a Citizens Review Board in this town... My 2 cents.
Native74 October 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Sometimes I feel like Napa Pipe is the evil Queen offering a poisoned apple to Snow White (Napa). It's the sweetest apple from all around and looks gorgeous on the outside, but all the environmental impacts will leave us reeling after the developer is complete and gone...it's happened before. I just keep thinking Berryessa Highlands as one of the messes we got ourselves in from approving that project years ago.

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