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County Supervisors Meet on Napa Pipe

Expect a crowd at the Napa Valley Opera House Monday afternoon when the Napa County Board of Supervisors takes on the controversial Napa Pipe development proposal, which divided the county planning commission last year.

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

Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Napa County Board of Supervisors takes up Napa Redevelopment Partners' scaled-down Napa Pipe proposal, with 700 to 945 apartments and townhomes.

The public hearing at the Napa Valley Opera House is 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 latest development proposal for the former industrial site on the east bank of the Napa River also includes a Costco store for the estimated 27,000 Napa County residents who currently drive elsewhere to shop at the members-only retail giant.

"I think we can confidently say we have left no stone unturned," said Napa County Planning Commissioner Tony Scott, as he prepared to vote in favor of the developers' proposal at the commission's final Napa Pipe meeting last October.

A 3-2 majority of the planning commission, with Michael Basayne and Jim Fiddaman siding with Scott, voted to approve the project's environmental impact report (EIR) and send the proposal on to the 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 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 May, 2012, when it voted 3-2 to send Napa Pipe to the supervisors before agreeing to revisit the decision with the October meeting.

The pause gave Napa Redevelopment Partners time to scale its proposal down to one with fewer homes and the addition of Costco, which has been lobbying its Napa members to support the plan.

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

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:

  • Michael Haley: Napa Pipe Comment for January 14 meeting of the Board of Supervisors
  • What Really Happened at the Napa Pipe Meeting?
  • Letter: "Napa Pipe is Bad for Students"
  • 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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Alex Shantz January 14, 2013 at 12:44 AM
The Napa Pipe developers say they will walk away from the project if the Supervisors approve the 20 acre housing compromise. Great, maybe that's what the Supervisors should approve. Still, I am concerned that if 20 acres was approved for residential use, the would leave the door open for housing development in the future. As a young adult and student I deeply understand the need for more lower income and affordable housing in Napa. But, it should be built within city limits. And, before we even discuss building more homes lets implement a living wage in Napa, similar to San Fransisco and San Jose. That would allow more workers to afford the housing that does exist in Napa and reduce the need to build more. I believe Napa Pipe should remain zoned for industrial use. It could be a perfect site for a renewable energy production and distribution center. That could create green jobs, partnerships with Napa Valley College, and put Napa at the forefront of renewable energy.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 14, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Alex What type of renewable energy? Who would fund the renewable energy projects?
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 14, 2013 at 01:01 AM
This project would not contribute to "global warming" in fact The United States, has little to do with so called global warming. http://news.yahoo.com/air-pollution-beijing-goes-off-index-053809937.html
Alex Shantz January 14, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Those excellent questions. For starters, I am talking about wind and solar. And, there could be various ways of funding by it through the public sector, private sector, or even a combination of the two. Specifically, I'd like to see us establish community choice aggregation in Napa, and Napa Pipe could play a role in this. Richmond is doing some exciting work on this by partnering with the Marin Energy Authority: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=2523. Why couldn't Napa make a similar partnership? Of course, at this point it is a big a idea. it would take A LOT of work to actually make this happen. But, the broader point I am making is, there could be other innovative industrial uses for this site.Renewable energy and community choice aggregation is a great example. And, even if the 20 acres are approved by the supervisors, why not consider community choice aggregation as an industrial use for the rest of Napa Pipe?
Penny January 14, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Alex, you are so right on this project. But they insist on this housing need. I suggested if the Health Dept moves to Dey Labs then that property which must belong to the county could be developed with low income housing.
Horus McGillikuddie January 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Oh geez. This is a big fish to fry. As usual, Michael P Wilson makes no sense and is all over the place. There is a need for housing in Napa. Among the nay sayers are those who overpayed for their home and don't want to see supply meet demand and thus reduce their home "value". This region will not / cannot retain a young and/or talented workforce without more accessible housing. The gap between known as the middle class is being forced out of Napa partly because of the lack of (good) affordable housing.
Alex Shantz January 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I for one absolutely agree there is a need for more lower income and affordable housing. My position is Napa Pipe is not the best place for this lower income and affordable housing. If I was in a position to make major policy decisions I would be looking at the following solutions: First, we should implement a living wage in Napa County so workers can afford the housing that does exist. Second, we should build more lower income and affordable housing within city limits where housing density already exists. And third, keep Napa Pipe zoned for industrial use and find a way to provide green energy jobs through the site. I think these are perfectly rational and forward thinking ideas which people truly invested in the community could get behind.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 14, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Alex, the idea of an energy production project is commendable, but there would be serious issues with distributing that energy. The entire energy grid in Napa County is owned by PG&E. They would let a project supply energy to their grid, but they certainly wouldn't pay anything for the surplus energy. In fact, they would likely demand that a metering system be used to determine how much energy the project was supplying to their grid and then charge Napa County for use of the metering system. That's how it works if a home or business has a solar system that produces more energy than the home or business needs. Even if your house uses no electricity supplied by PG&E you still get a bill for about $10 per month for a "leased meter". So, the project would be fantastic, but it certainly wouldn't produce any revenue to pay for green jobs. And building a private distribution grid? Not a chance. PG&E has nearly unlimited resources to assure that their energy monopoly remains intact.
Scott Yeager January 14, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Please, don't swerve off into fact free land. If you choose to believe, against all scientific and empirical data, that the atmosphere is not warming and that it was "made up" by liberals and scientists to take away your "freedom" that is ok. But why advertise your ignorance?
Napa Citizen January 14, 2013 at 08:51 PM
That's nothing but malarkey! Pay your employees a BAY AREA wage! There are plenty of options here. The same ones that existed when I moved to Napa decades ago. We no longer have the housing bubble prices to contend with. I'm middle class, and I've done just fine. No one built me any affordable housing!

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