To Promote the Health, Welfare and Safety of our Communities by Advocating for Responsible Planning
to Insure Sustainability of the Finite Resources of Napa County.

Welcome to Napa Vision 2050


Our Napa Valley by Hardy Wilson Looking west across the Capell Valley towards Walt Ranch whose ridgetops are to be stripped of trees to make room for grapes.
Napa Vision 2050 is a coalition of 14 affiliates in Napa County that have joined together to lobby local governments on current development policies and practices.

As an IRC 501(C)(4) public benefit corporation, it is our mission to Promote the Health, Welfare and Safety of our Communities by Advocating for Responsible Planning to Insure Sustainability of the Finite Resources of Napa County.

You are always invited to visit us on facebook for the latest updates as well.

Recent Posts


15 posts 

Napa at Last Light


NV2050 Admin - May 29, 2017   Share

    "In the West, as in Napa, natural beauty is being "harvested," in the argot of the developer."
    -- James Conaway

James Conway’s Opinion Editorial in the Napa Valley Register on Friday says it all in one short article: Napa County is being exploited by outside money. Developers ignore or belittle the concerns of neighbors as they push vineyards into our fragile hillsides, as witnessed once again this last week with the Board of Supervisor’s denial of the appeal of remote Mountain Peak Winery. Conaway states this is but a microcosm of what is happening in the country “and not even global warming can scotch this bonanza.”

His is a rallying cry for citizens. We still have the vote, and it is critically important that we use it in electing officials who do listen to the electorate and are not bought off by developers, the wine and hospitality industries. We must pass initiatives which legislate to protect our precious environment and community when our elected officials fail us.

For a quarter of a century Conaway’s books have chronicled the history of the Napa Valley. His most recent book, Napa at Last Light, is to be published in February 2018.


We ask three things of you:
Send a link to this article to 5 friends (OK how about two friends?) and suggest that they sign up to get our newsletters, join us with your contribution and e-mail us to find out how you too can help.

Oh, and while you are at it, like us on Facebook!

From a concerned citizen in response to the Conaway article:
"The massive development that is taking place in Napa County is not sustainable for the natural ecology of the region, from deforestation to groundwater depletion. These levels of development are also not economically supportable due to the requirements of new infrastructure and ongoing needed maintenance. Witness the burdens on roadways caused by thousands of workers and tourists, and service vehicles driving in and out of Napa County. With these problems, we are naive to think that that money is not changing hands behind the scenes which gives development a boost and results in nearly every proposed project getting government approval."

Link to the article on James Conway's blog, Nose

The Caymus Letter


Bill Hocker - May 24, 2017   View on SCR  |    Share


3 days prior to the Mountain Peak appeal hearing before the Board of Supervisors, Chuck Wagner, of Caymus Vineyards, sent this letter to the Board offering his encouragement to deny the appeals. Considering the very slim chance that the appeals would be upheld it was probably an unnecessary gesture, but it represented a chance to perpetuate yet again a canard that has become widespread among development interests: that a small vocal group of residents was out to kill the wine industry.

As was stated in this response to Rex Stults' similar statement, nothing could be further from the truth. And the truth needs to be reiterated here: residents that oppose these projects are not against the "wine" industry; they are against the non-agricultural urban development that the wine industry is adopting to increase profits from the much more lucrative tourism and real estate industries. The development of wineries as tourism venues and of vineyards as part of housing estates have major impacts on residents and on the county infrastructure way beyond the practice of crop raising and processing.

If tourism and estate development is claimed necessary to the survival of the wine industry we need to see the facts to back up that claim. Many vintners, some of the best in fact, seem to survive in the high end wine business with little or no visitation at all. What percentage of total Napa winery revenues are attributable to at-winery sales, and is that percentage worth the impacts of urbanization, diminished quality of life and high costs resulting from tourism and real estate speculation that the Ag Preserve, Measure J and the WDO were originally intended to counter.

There are many people in the county who are concerned about the changing nature of the wine industry, and the impact of that change on the rural character of the county and the quality of their lives, and that have no interest in "taking down the wine industry". Quite the opposite; the wine industry, built by resident vintners and growers that valued not only the success of their industry but the preservation of their rural communities, has always had the respect of the other rural residents that benefit from the maintenance of a rural environment and small town life that was its product.

But the industry, as the industry itself constantly mentions, is changing. And the nature of that change is toxic to residents that treasure the bucholic pleasure of an agricultural economy. It is difficult to know whether the wine industry is becoming, or is just acting as a cover for, the tourism, entertainment, real estate and consturction interests that are beginning to engulf us all with development. Traffic is only a symptom of a development boom that is filling the vineyards with buildings and parking lots, and clearcutting hillsides for estates, resorts and more vineyards to replace those paved over on the valley floor, and for the tourism conversion of the municipalities that eliminates affordable housing and decimates the sense of small-town community life. And for the mining of parklands to build it all.

In a previous generation the wine industry fought the urbanizing trajectory that those industries represent. Urbanization is the death of agriculture. One is left to wonder why now, after 40 some years of the wine industry being the defender of a rural environment, it is now up to the residents, against all odds including the bullying of the wine industry, to try to save the rural environment which an agricultural economy needs to exist.

A couple of years ago, the Napa Valley Vintners launched a PR campaign dubbed Our Napa Valley, casting the urban impacts as solvable with more transport infrastructure and more housing, i.e. more development. Until the wine industry returns to the notion that curbing development is in its own best long-term interest, as well as the interest of all citizens concerned about preserving the rural character of this place, resident anger against the industry and the government that continues to do its bidding will only increase.

SF Chronicle: Napa Valley Inflamed


NV2050 Admin - May 21, 2017   Share


HELI-NO!


Proposed helicopter pad inflames Napa Valley’s winery wars.

The latest assault on Napa County resident's homesteads hits the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle.




“When is enough, enough? People with lots of money are coming in here and doing whatever they want. They’re not the ones on the tractor, though. They don’t have any sense of the land.”
—Dan Mufson, President, Napa Vision 2050

Napa Vision 2050 supporters...

The San Francisco Chronicle today detailed the recent developments in the Palmaz Heliport proceedings, as well as the challenges facing Napa County residents at the hands of over development.

We need to keep the pressure on the Planning Commission and the Supervisors so that they wake up and start to represent all our voices. Please ask your friends to get on our mailing list! There's strength in numbers. Make democracy work for you!

The Battle for the Hills


NV2050 Admin - May 17, 2017   Share


“Napa is getting really carved up. We see it all over the western and eastern ridges - it’s been relentless.”
--Adina Merenlender, conservation biologist, University of California, Berkeley

We have a lot to lose if our Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission do not stop the movement of vineyards into our hillsides and watersheds.

This recent article from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies addresses the dangers of continued removal of shrub, oak woodlands, and forests for new vineyards on the County’s environmental health, interviewing several biologists, vintners, and activists. “Extensive water diversions, groundwater pumping, and increased agriculture (vineyards) water use during the dry season have reduced the extent of suitable summer rearing habitat ... throughout much of the Napa River watershed,” National Marine Fisheries Service scientists wrote in the Napa River chapter of a 2016 report. This threatens remnant populations of steelhead and salmon. Read the article here:

The article features interviews with our hard working local activists Kelly Anderson, Preserve Rural Angwin; Jim Wilson and Mike Hackett, the Water, Forest, and Oak Woodland initiative; and Geoff Ellsworth, St. Helena City Councilman.



Proponents are working to prepare an updated Water, Forest, and Oak Woodland Initiative and would like volunteers to help us gather signatures. Contact us at napavision2050@gmail.com. Your donation will support our continued work to create and maintain a “preserving harmony” in Napa County between agriculture and the natural world.

Heli-No! Your presence is needed!


NV2050 Admin - May 12, 2017   Share


Heli-No!



Your Presence is Urgent!



Attend the next Planning Commission hearing of the Palmaz application for a private use helicopter Landing Use Permit (UP# P14-000261) on Wednesday, May 17, at 9 am, the County Administration Building. County staff has yet again recommended that “the proposed Project would not have any significant environmental impacts after implementation of mitigation measures related to potential impacts to: (a) Land Use and Agricultural Resources; (b) Biological Resources; (c) Cultural Resources; and (d) Noise.”

Not only does this fly in the face of past testimony of biologists and neighbors, but it defies logic! Furthermore, the approval of this permit will open the door for many others!

Consider making public comment (three minutes!) and/or sending your comments to the Planning Commissioners (see addresses below).

Even if you do not wish to make public comment, your presence makes a difference. Presence means votes at the ballot box and our supervisors are watching!
Please consider the following comments from Calistoga resident, Christine Tittel, someone who has lived the nightmare of a Napa valley helicopter flying neighbor.

Talking Points:

Private use helicopters are solely for private recreational or convenience purposes with only negative impacts on the public.

Helicopters are prone to accidents.

Helicopters are noisy!

The County may not grant a Use-Permit when fully aware that in practice non-compliance to its conditions is impossible to monitor, impossible to document and that in its entirety is impossible to enforce. Currently there are helipads on Diamond Mountain, Pritchard Hill, Hennessey Ridge and reported landings at the above locations and on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga and Atlas Peak Road. All are illegal. Many other landings are also reported taking place around the county due to lack of enforcement .

A Palmaz approval will open the doors for many others who are watching and to the proliferation of helicopter flights over the Napa Valley skies. This will drive the final nail to our peace and quiet.

Absolutely nothing justifies the use of private helicopters! Stop private heliports in Napa County! Show up at the May 17, 2017, hearing, 9 am, and voice your objection. County Administration Building, 3rd and Coombs Street, Napa, CA.

Supporting Documents: HERE

Michael Basayne (707) 815-7042 napacommissioner@yahoo.com
Terry Scott (707) 251-5533 tkscottco@aol.com
Jeri Gill (707) 337-4975 jerigillpc@outlook.com
Anne Cottrell (707) 408-1166 anne.cottrell@ucene.com
Joelle Gallagher (707) 738-7108 joellegPC@gmail.com

Your Supervisor needs your input on the Definition of Ag!


NV2050 Admin - May 6, 2017   Share


Call to Action: Call your supervisor today!

Your supervisor is about to make a final vote on revising the zoning code definition of agriculture to include marketing and sales.

Such a change in definition opens the door for more marketing events and restaurant-style tastings in our protected agricultural lands.

This decision should be made by Napa citizenry, and not by elected officials. Measure J, which protects and preserves the unique character and quality of life here in our county, was passed by Napa County voters and affirmed by the California State Supreme Court in 1995. Measure P, also passed by Napa citizenry, states that agricultural, watershed and open space lands cannot be re-designated and subjected to more intensive development without a vote of the people. For more information on these measures and the history of the definition of agriculture, click here.

We, the citizenry in Napa County, in accordance with Measure P, have the right to decide this issue. Please take five minutes to call or e-mail your supervisor to tell her/him that you believe that Napa citizenry have the right to decide [via an initiative] if the definition of Agriculture should be modified.

When you call, please take an additional two minutes to email us at editor@napavision2050.org to let us know when you called, who your supervisor is, what you said and how your supervisor responded.

Listed below are the contact numbers for each of our supervisors. Please call or write immediately as the final vote is upcoming.

Thank you!
Napa Vision 2050

Brad Wagenknecht, District 1
(707) 253-4828
brad.wagenknecht@countyofnapa.org

Ryan Gregory, District 2
(707) 259-8276
ryan.gregory@countyofnapa.org

Diane Dillon, District 3
(707) 944-8280
diane.dillon@countyofnapa.org

Alfredo Pedroza, District 4
(707) 225-2019
alfredo.pedroza@countyofnapa.org

Belia Ramos, District 5
(707) 259-8277
belia.ramos@countyofnapa.org

Healing Walk on April 29th


NV2050 Admin - Apr 24, 2017   Share




Yes! There is something you can do! Napa Vision 2050 and Napa Climate NOW! are partnering with Healing Walk Napa Valley this Saturday, Saturday, April 29, 2017:

Walk in solidarity with the People’s Climate Marches in Washington DC and around the world!

The walk is a “peaceful pilgrimage rooted in the indigenous philosophy of invoking sacred space to heal the land and its people.”

You have several options: Walk the whole distance (about 9 miles), beginning at 8:30 am, at Yountville Memorial Park, 6453 Washington Street. Sign in and Indigenous Water Blessing Ceremony. 9:00 am depart on 5 mile walk to Las Flores Park. Bring your lunch and drinking water.

Or: Join Healing Walk at Las Flores Park, 11:30 am, 2235 Las Flores Park. 12 noon depart for 4 mile final leg of Healing Walk.

Or: Join walkers at 2:00 pm at Napa Veterans Memorial Park, Main and Third downtown Napa and walk across river to Oxbow Commons.

Or simply join us for Oxbow Commons Healing Walk Rally at McKinstry Street, Napa, for indigenous drumming ceremony, prayer dances and short talks on local watershed and climate justice issues.

For more information: www.healingwalknapavalley.wordpress.com
Or visit on Facebook

Thinking Globally: United Nations Harmony with Nature Project
While our federal government has decided to officially back out of addressing Climate Change, making decisions that will increase global warming, the United Nations and We, the People, have not!

On Friday, April 21, 2017, the results of reports from experts around the world on mitigating the physical, social, and ethical challenges of changing climate were broadcast and are available on demand here.
Learn the universal recommendations to protect the rights of the Earth and her living inhabitants. Information regarding the Dialogue can be found here.

Thank all of you who visited our booth at Earth Day, April 22, 2017!



Napa Vision 2050 supports our County efforts to protect our watersheds, our water, our people! Join us in this coming year to work for a healthy environment in Napa County.

1 Comments


Bill Hocker - May 5, 2017

comment

Supervisors OK Definition of Agriculture. Final Vote to Come


Stephen J Donoviel - Apr 21, 2017   Share


Defining agriculture is a seemingly simple task. Webster New World Dictionary has the following definition: The science and art of farming; work of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock. Various trade and citizen groups have addressed the definition in the Napa County General Plan and its land use policy, codes and ordinances, and this has proven vexing over the past decades and is an example of the saying, “the devil is in the details.”

On April 1, 2008, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed April to be Agricultural Preserve Appreciation Month and pledged to support the letter and the intent of the Ag Preserve. That Proclamation honored the visionary leaders who in the late 1960s, “…realized that agriculture is and should continue to be the predominant land use in the fertile valley and foothill areas of Napa County, where uses incompatible to agriculture should be precluded and where the development of urban type uses would be detrimental to continuance of agriculture and the maintenance of open spaces, which are economic and aesthetic attributes and assets of Napa County.”

The Proclamation summarized several milestones:
April 9, 1968--Supervisors adopted Ordinance 274, establishing the Ag Preserve District (APD) protecting 25,950 acres from urban development.

1979--Supervisors adopted Ordinance 610, increasing the minimum parcel size in the APD from 20 acres to 40 acres.

1980--Voters passed Measure A, limiting population growth in the unincorporated county areas to 1% per year.

November 6,1990--Voters passed Measure J, which spoke to certain land use Elements of the General Plan of June 7,1983 and prohibited changes without a vote of the people (emphasis mine).

The Finding and Purpose Section of Measure J reads in part:

“Uncontrolled urban encroachment into agricultural and watershed areas will impair agriculture and threaten the public health, safety and welfare by causing increased traffic congestion, associated air pollution and potentially serious water problems, such as pollution, depletion and sedimentation of available water resources. Such urban encroachment, or ‘leap-frog development,’ would eventually result in both the unnecessary, expensive extension of public services and facilities and inevitable conflicts between urban and agricultural uses. The unique character of Napa County and quality of life of county residents depend on the protection of a substantial amount of open space lands. The protection of such lands not only ensures the continued viability of agriculture, but also protects the available water supply and contributes to flood control and the protection of wildlife, environmentally sensitive areas and irreplaceable natural resources.”

Measure J was tested all the way to the California Supreme Court where it was upheld. Subsequently, Measure P, which readopted portions of the General Plan land use tenets of J, viz., agricultural, watershed and open space lands could not be re-designated and made available for more intensive development without a vote of the people.

Over the years, something has gone terribly awry with the codification and implementation of the vision and wisdom of the leaders in the 1960s, the drafters of Measures J and P and the wishes of the people who voted for those measures. Decades ago, the activities of agriculture, which had little or no regulatory restriction, were pretty much as Webster’s definition encompassed, and the “rural lifestyle” prevailed. Over time, more and different activities have been added and changed to those originally assigned to agriculture. Recently, activities related not to agriculture, per se, but to the business of agriculture, such as housing, marketing, branding, entertaining, and serving food, have taken center stage ahead of the product (wine) and have resulted in the uber-glitzy experiences that have been leapfrogging through our Valley.

The regulatory language related to the implementation of what was meant to protect our Valley, its farming and its citizens has been ratified without attention to CEQA and EIR analyses, resulting in the problems we currently experience and those the visionaries hoped to avoid. These problems include but are not limited to multiple ecological degradations, markedly increased traffic congestion, which results in increased driving hazards and road damage, and pressure on all infrastructure spheres.

Two perspectives seem to have emerged to the latest revisions to the definition of agriculture and modification of the zoning code that the supervisors favored in their vote of the first reading on April 3, 2017. One perspective views the revisions as “no big deal” and a mere alignment of regulatory language, and the other, to which I belong, views the revisions not only as an assault on the English language, but more importantly as an assault on the hopes and expectations of the visionaries and the voice of the people who passed Measures J and P. Land use changes per J and P can be made solely by the supervisors if certain, specific conditions are met, and these specific conditions are not being met. Therefore, I believe the supervisors should place this issue as an Initiative for the voters to decide in 2018. If you agree that we citizens of Napa should have a say in this matter, please let your supervisor know ASAP since their second vote will probably be coming soon.

This LTE appeared In Napa Register 4/19/17: The Definition of Agriculture.

The county's use permit problem


George Caloyannidis - Apr 21, 2017   Share


Use permits regulate development and activities on properties in Napa County (e.g. at wineries the size, production, visitation, etc.), loosely defined in the Zoning Code. The county Supervisors have a great deal of discretion in adjusting the conditions of the use permits as they see fit upon applicants' requests. On the face of it, one would think there is nothing wrong with that. This, however, presupposes a fair and equitable government that enjoys the trust of the people.

The use permit process begins with the applicant spending thousands of dollars in preparing detailed plans, environmental reports and other studies for staff to review for a recommendation to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission conducts public hearings attended by the applicant, county staff and legal counsel and the public. Such hearings may extend over two, even three, sessions before the commission approves or denies them. Its decisions may be appealed to the Supervisors involving additional public hearings. The Supervisors' decisions can then be contested in court at enormous costs, as is recently the case with the Syar quarry expansion and the Walt Ranch development.

While the applicant pays for the cost of staff time, he or she does not pay for the long-term costs of staff benefits and pensions, nor for the costs of the county facilities such as utilities, equipment, maintenance and depreciation. Nor does the applicant pay for the tens of thousands in consultants' fees paid by appellants, overwhelmingly meaning the impacted public. One must also consider that a proliferation in use permit applications necessitates ever-increasing numbers of staff. These enormous long-term costs are all borne by the public.

There are also unaccounted costs in lost productivity. The recent application by the Palmaz family to allow it to fly a personal-use helicopter from its property on Hagen Road, has already had three public hearings, each time attended by over 100 citizens, with a fourth scheduled. By the time appeal hearings are over, this use permit process will have cost the citizens between 3,500 and 4,000 hours of unaccounted for loss in productivity. Whether it is for one winery to increase its visitors or for a single person to use his property for the recreational activity of flying his helicopter, this system, in terms of public expenditure and in human capital investment, is grossly out of balance in favor of the applicant.

Equally, if not more important, are ethics issues arising when commissioners and supervisors have more and more discretionary power, which is what use permits give them.

The amounts of money spent on supervisors' election campaigns has mushroomed to obscene levels, primarily funded by wineries and other special interests certainly not motivated by charity but in the hope of gaining favorable outcomes to their use permit applications. The system is so grossly out of kilter that even wineries, that for years have been violating their use permits, not only receive forgiveness but are rewarded with many times over their production and visitation.

When the Reverie Winery received its forgiveness last year, including for serious environmental violations, it was also rewarded with triple its production levels and tenfold its visitation. Before the ink had dried on its new use permit, it turned around and sold it within days after the supervisors added millions of value in scandalous rewards.

If you are the director of corporate development for a winery tour company that relies on good winery relations for access, as one of our commissioners is, or a supervisor voting for a large donor's use permit, would it not be fair for the public to question the independence of their vote?

This is not a government that can be trusted - even in appearance - to make equitable and unbiased administration of the power it keeps giving to itself in the form of the use permit process?

There are measures that can be employed toward a solution.

First: For the government to regain credibility, any commissioners and supervisors who have a direct or proximate interest or have received substantial financial contributions from an industry or an individual seeking a use permit must recuse themselves from voting on them.

Second: A serious effort must be made to substantially tighten the Zoning Code - perhaps review it every five years - so that what is permitted and what is not, is clear. This will reduce the number of use permit applications, limiting the discretionary power of commissioners and supervisors. It will also reduce the cost in both monetary and human capital expended in the inefficient and unfair current system.

Finally, it will free up staff, commissioners and supervisors to allow them to devote their energy in addressing the fundamental issues the county is facing now and into the future.

Urgent: We all need to help clear the air in Napa County


Mike Hackett - Apr 19, 2017   Share


April 6, 2017: Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga - Clos Pegase/Girard field prep for new Girard Winery. Vines were pulled out just days before burn - too green and muddy. Several anonymous calls made - BAAQMD inspector halted the burn. Vines must be minimum 60-days dry. You can see the low, heavy smoke headed directly into adjacent home of elderly neighbor.
The majority of climate scientists, the 99%, and most of us in California are growing increasing concerned that we are living in a time of climate disruption. In the Napa Valley we experienced five years of mega-drought followed this year with record rain. Most significant is that 2016 was the hottest year on record, the third such year in a row. We must give our attention to our man-made climate crisis. Our elected officials at the state level appear to be taking action.

To address a strategy for tipping-point avoidance, Governor Brown signed SB-1382 in September 2016. The legislation requires, in part, a 40% reduction in methane and a 50% reduction in black carbon below 2013 levels by 2030. Methane and black carbon are two potent short-lived climate pollutants. Burning vineyard waste produces vast amounts of these toxic elements. The grape growing industry in Napa is fully aware of the problems of vineyard waste, but many in the industry are still burning their seasonally produced vine trimmings, and some are not following the requirements of the Bay Area’s guidelines.

When government, industry and citizens alike recognize a pollution issue such as this, we know we’re moving in the right direction. Last week, the Napa Register ran an article chronicling the Napa Valley Grape Growers formation of a Vineyard Burning Task Force aimed at raising awareness and setting best management practices to minimize the negative effect on air quality. The Grape Growers hail as their first success, a program developed to promote proper vine drying techniques. The Register article shows data that in 2016, 24,000 people suffered from diagnosed asthma in Napa County. This is certainly disturbing, but is a small subset of climate induced problems of burning vineyard waste.

Current regulations mandate a 60-day drying commitment. Burning is only allowed on “burn days” as mandated from Bay Area Air Quality District, no burning before 10 a.m., and no fuel added two hours before sunset. Failure to comply with these regulations violates governmental rules, and more seriously violates our rights. We justly deserve clean air, and when wet vines are burned, excessive smoke fills the air, our homes, our lungs and our atmosphere. If the “bad actors” are not stopped, those who properly manage their burns lose credibility and the ability to destroy disease pathogens. More seriously, those short-lived climate pollutants of methane and black carbon, which we should be drawing down, are actually increasing.

Alternately, vines can be chipped, or hauled to a landfill. Both these methods unfortunately hurt the environment. Most likely, an already existing process called fusion gasification will be used to store carbon in the earth (biochar), which greatly reduces the atmospheric carbon pollution.

We as citizens can file a complaint with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District at (800) 334-6367 toll free. This is the number to call if you see excessive smoke. All complaints are confidential.

Chain of Command


NV2050 Admin - Apr 14, 2017   Share


Why is the Napa County Chain of Command plaque in the basement of the County Administration Building, where almost no one sees it? CITIZENS are at the top of the organizational chart of Napa County, so why do supervisors hold public input sessions where none of the supervisors show up? In their place they send expensive, paid consultants to make expensive reports about what we say, paid for by our taxes. You do not hear it from US.

Supervisors and Commissioners: here are some suggestions for more transparency in decisions that affect our county:

  1. Be clear about who you have talked to and what about, before taking any vote on a new winery, vineyard, heliport, etc.Disclose not only these conversations but also fiduciary and business relationships, including cumulative campaign donations from project owners. If a campaign donation surpasses $500, recuse yourself from from discussions about or voting on the issue.

  2. Without a strict Conflict of Interest Ordinance/policy the public’s trust is violated and suffers.

  3. During the decision-making process, treat citizens’ expertise with respect. There is an apparent lack of regard or weight paid to citizens’ knowledge of issues, concerns of risks/negative impacts to their well-being and damage to the environment. Three minutes for public comment is too short. It is insulting to let a project’s consultants go on and on, and then cut off citizens who often have more accurate and critical information than the consultant . There is also no serious deliberation about the points we raise.

  4. Hold town hall or public comment meetings on evenings or Saturdays in larger venues where more can attend, including working families. Involve Youth. Make sure so-called town hall meetings are attended by two supervisors and/or commissioners.

  5. Provide supporting data of any project to the public at least a week before a hearing.

  6. Have district supervisors and their appointed commissioners hold monthly town hall meetings in their districts with the electorate.

  7. And last, but not least, move the chain of command plaque to the main lobby and have a copy of it outside the 3rd story, Board of Supervisors chamber, where we all can be reminded of it every time we meet!

And By The Way! Join us at the all day Board of Supervisors' Strategic Planning Session on Monday, April 24, 2017, 8:30AM-5PM. They need our input! Held at the Napa Valley College Community Room. Details to follow.

Lessons for our Supervisors:
How to Hold a Town Hall Meeting


NV2050 Admin - Apr 13, 2017   Share


Our Board of Supervisors could learn a thing or two about participative democracy from right wing republican Tom McClintock. a congressman from the Central Valley. McClintock knows how to treat people with respect, no matter what their politics.
Napa County Supervisors can take a lesson from him! In their so-called “outreach” for the development of their Strategic Plan, not ONE of the supervisors has attended, only their expensive, hired consultants! They seem to be doing everything they can to keep us at bay. Why don’t they hold an open session for public participation as they last did in 2015 when hundreds of residents filed the Napa High auditorium? And schedule the session on a Saturday so working families can attend.

In contrast, McClintock chose the largest venue in Sonora, and when 250 people showed up beyond the capacity of the hall, he stepped outside before the meeting and addressed the overflow crowd.



He told them that he wanted to hear their views and give them a chance to speak by organizing another meeting and by having those who already made their comment make room for those who hadn’t.



See the attached, highlighted article from the Sonora Union Democrat.

A huge lesson for us all here in Napa Valley! Listen! Hear us! Our views are important! After all, “This is what democracy looks like!"


Hot off the Press!

Last year citizens spoke through almost 6300 signatures to put the Water, Forest and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative on the ballot. Elected officials did not listen!
Citizens, be persistent! We cannot be suppressed!

Today’s Napa Valley Register story:

From James Conaway’s Blog: (https://cjonwine.blogspot.com/2017/04/listen-to-trees.html)

"This issue has profound implications for the entire state of California and comes at a time when forests and fish face unprecedented environmental stress. Napa County is one of the few that can well afford these necessary precautions, and resistance by vintners and developers is both wrong-headed and unconscionable."--Conaway


Call to Action:
Napa County Agricultural Preserve at Risk!


NV2050 Admin - Apr 3, 2017   Share


Update 4/5/17: As expected the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the changes to the definition.

"In Napa, fine dining isn’t limited to restaurants. A number of prestigious Napa Valley wineries now offer food pairings to elevate the traditional tasting room experience. If you believe wine is best appreciated with food, make reservations at these wineries."

- Rachel Ward, "4 of Napa's Best Food and Wine Pairing Experiences." , WhereTravelor.com

Is this agriculture? It's time to decide.
The Board of Supervisor need to hear from you!
All are needed for public comment!


Tuesday, April 4 at 11am, The Board of Supervisors will consider changes in the Definition of Agriculture. (item 9H here) The proposed ordinance expands the current definition, Agriculture is the growing of crops, trees, and livestock, to include many other uses currently allowed or requiring a conditional use permit, These include production/processing, marketing, sales, and farmworker housing.

The proposed ordinance has retained the hierarchy of growing of crops, trees, and livestock "by right” versus production/processing requiring use permits, and the requirement that marketing & sales be related, subordinate, and incidental to the main processing use. Nevertheless, changes to the Definition of Agriculture, zoning code 18.08.040, ripple throughout the General Plan, potentially impacting priority of groundwater, the Right To Farm, and farm/agricultural worker housing. What are the unintended consequences of this ordinance? Will an event center in the winery next door become “a right” that neighbors cannot object to, except by lawsuits? And will farmworker housing include the chef for the wine/food pairings ?

These functions are related to agriculture, but they are not agriculture. They threaten the integrity of the landmark Agricultural Preserve, allowing a commercialization of agricultural lands. Napa Vision 2050 recommends that the Definition of Agriculture remain the same until we understand the unintended consequences of such a change. Our agricultural lands are precious. The real change must be made to the General Plan itself - something this Board is not willing to do. To understand more, read Eve Kahn’s Why You Should Care About the Definition of Agriculture.

Our Board of Supervisors need to hear from us!

Show up on Tuesday, April 4, to voice your comments (three minute limit) on this proposed ordinance, or e-mail or write our district supervisors.

Supervisors:

Why should you care about the State Groundwater Sustainability Act (SGMA)?


NV2050 Admin - Mar 29, 2017   Share


The water wars have only begun!
Every project that comes before the Napa County Planning Commission must show that there is enough water for the project. We have witnessed a great deal of variance in how this is managed.

County hydrologists/consultants say there is plenty of water for a vineyard or winery and then nearby neighbors and communities run out of water, or have the quality of their water severely impacted by these permitted projects.

The most notable example is the Carneros Inn which has had to truck in water and is now asking for extension of a water pipeline from the Congress Valley Water District.

The State Groundwater Sustainability Act (SGMA) mandates that every county have a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) in effect no later than Jan. 1, 2022. It also mandates that a county which does not have a Department of Water Resources (DWR) approved plan in place by Jan. 1, 2017, must either form its own Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) or apply for an Alternative by demonstrating that it has been a good steward of groundwater resources for at least 10 years and that its practices do not have, nor will they, any “undesirable results.”

Examples of such undesirable results in Napa County include: dewatering of streams, saltwater intrusion, land subsidence, decline in groundwater quality, groundwater surface levels declining (wells going dry, especially in the northeastern and southern portions of the Napa Sub-Basin).

Napa County has chosen to take the latter alternative route, which, given the proposal they’ve submitted, amounts to a very expensive subterfuge “end run” around both the letter and spirit of the law.

Many individuals and groups including NapaVision 2050 have submitted detailed comments in opposition the County’s proposal. Other groups involved thus far have been: ICARE (Institute for Conservation Advocacy Research and Education - the fiscal sponsor for LRC), North Coast Stream Flow Coalition (NCSFC - an ICARE project), the Mt. Veeder Stewardship Council, Bell Canyon Watershed Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Watersheds Alliance of Atlas Peak, and, of particular significance, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Three comments have been submitted supporting the Alternative, all from industry/trade groups: the Natural Resources Committee of the Napa County Farm Bureau (and that at the personal behest of Patrick Lowe, Napa County Natural Resources Conservation Manager), Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and Winegrowers of Napa County.

What can you do?

You can read the comments at: http://sgma.water.ca.gov/portal/alternative/comments/11.
You can submit your own comments as the deadline for public comment has been extended to April 1st.

NapaVision 2050's comments are also here.

A Community Vision- Napa County to Host Roundtable Discussions


NV2050 Admin - Mar 22, 2017   Share


Napa County will host a series of local meetings throughout the valley to gather input and ideas for a community vision that can help shape the Board of Supervisors priorities. Meetings will be conducted in English and Spanish.

The Register article on the first meeting is here:
NVR 3/25/17: Citizens pepper Napa County leaders with ideas for the future


The schedule is as follows:
    · March 23: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., McPherson Elementary School multipurpose room, 2670 Yajome St., in Napa;
    · March 25: 10 a.m. to noon, American Canyon High School cafeteria, 3000 Newell Dr., in American Canyon;
    · March 28: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Calistoga Community Center, 1307 Washington St., in Calistoga;
    · March 30: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School multipurpose room, 1316 Hillview Pl., in St. Helena; and
    · April 3: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Yountville Elementary School cafeteria, 6554 Yount St., in Yountville.

The roundtable discussions follow the board’s strategic planning retreat, which highlighted current and future opportunities and challenges the county faces.
The small group roundtable format will be led by county staff and consultants at The HR Matrix whose goal will be to collect information about areas of focus.
Show all articles