Jul 30, 2014

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.

Napa Pipe Plan Divides County Planners

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

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