Eyes on Napa – February 1, 2024


Eyes on Napa – February 1, 2024

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Eyes on Napa – February 1, 2024
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It’s Time to Pick a Battle (or two)
Two Big Issues Come Before the Public on Tuesday, February 6, 2024
One at Am Can City Council, other County BOS

American Canyon’s Measure K – It’s NOT Special K

American Canyon City Council may vote to adopt “Measure K” outright, a ballot initiative that has potentially dire consequences if passed.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the ballot initiative would eliminate local oversight of warehouse projects by creating “a process of mandatory ministerial approvals for damaging industrial developments.” The City Council could adopt this measure outright at their February meeting.

Click here to read CBD’s full letter outlining the consequences of removing the review process, including EIRs, in permitting warehouses which are well-documented sources of toxic emissions. Consider making public comment to the City Council. CBD’s talking points include:

1. Measure K allows developers to avoid oversight of their warehouse projects by eliminating the public’s right to have input into land use decisions, or even to be notified of them.

2. The initiative will would force through warehouse projects with significant impacts to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and biological resources, and allow developers not to mitigate those impacts.

3. The initiative attempts to mislead the public by claiming it will promote sustainable development.

4. By letting developers know they can build warehouses in American Canyon without mitigating environmental impacts, the initiative will make the area a magnet for toxic land uses. 

When/Where: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 6:30pm, American Canyon City Hall, 4381 Broadway, Suite 201, American Canyon.
Follow this link to all the details of how to attend, watch, participate and write to the Mayor and Council. 

More “Ooops, we did it again”?
Rutherford Ranch Winery Appealed to the County BOS by Water Audit also on February 6, 2024

In yet another episode of forgiveness for code non-compliance, Napa County Planning Commission okayed expansion of Rutherford Ranch Winery’s use permit by legalizing violations. The winery was permitted for 250 visitors a week; in 2014, the last year they counted, they averaged 540 weekly visitors. They were permitted for 28 full time workers and have 43. Furthermore, Illegal structures were built within the stream setback dictated by the conservation regulations.

Fortunately, most of these structures will have to be removed. Nevertheless, as the Press Democrat stated, “Commissioners without debate agreed to legalize those and other winery use permit violations.” Click here for the full article.

But perhaps the most serious of all is that of the violation of the public trust. This is the central part of the appeal by Save Napa Valley Foundation (SNVF) and Water Audit. Mike Hackett, president of SNVF, states, “This group [Rutherford Ranch Winery] hired SF high rise attorneys to push a 600K winery on the banks of Conn Creek, right below the reservoir, into an over a million gallon winery, without a water availability analysis (required with wells within 1,500 feet of a waterway) and stating that they will use no more water to do this expansion.  They are stating they will use but one gallon of water per gallon of wine. The usual industry number is upwards of seven. They state they will have no affect on groundwater, which is absurd because they have no data to prove this allegation for this requested expansion.”

Hackett continued, “Without exception, after reviewing Duckhorn, Del Dotto, Rutherford Ranch, Vineyard 29, Inglenook, and Nova Business Park, all the reviews of Staff’s work shows very troubling omissions, unsubstantiated claims, inadequate research, and in three out of five cases, the required checklists were NOT complete. Our County Staff is sending inadequate and poorly researched data to the PC and BOS. ”SNVF and Water Audit are appealing this decision to the BOS on February 6, 2024. The appeal is to require an EIR to substantiate the impacts of these expansions of use on the environment, including on groundwater. Ask our Supervisors to require an EIR.

It is time we hold the County Planning Department’s feet to the fire. Their job is no longer to make it work, no matter what. Climate disruption has changed everything. These kinds of decisions impact us all in water availability, fire safety, and ultimately, in whether our county will remain viable for agriculture. Click here for the Water Audit June 20, 2023 Letter to the Planning Commission.

When/Where: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 9:00 am, 1195 Third Street
3rd Floor, Napa.
Follow this link to all the details of how to attend, watch, participate and write to the county board of supervisors. 
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Eyes on Napa: Co-editors, Patricia Damery and Debby Fortune, Editorial Board: Eve Kahn, Gary Margadant, Rusty Cohn, Iris Barrie. Contact the editors at eyesonnapa@gmail.com