A Special Report to Napa Vision 2050 by Yvonne Baginski
Despite objections and concerns from many environmental groups and local residents, the American Canyon City Council approved the staff-recommended 2.4 million square foot Giovanonni Site Project warehouses to be built on 204 acres of undeveloped grasslands and wetlands last March. This will make it the largest warehouse project in Napa County. Currently there are three lawsuits filed in Napa County regarding this project.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has filed a lawsuit in Napa Superior Court that states the environmental impact report is out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Read the informative press release here.
In addition, the Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance (GSEJA), based in Corona, California, has filed a second lawsuit against the Giovanonni Site on April 21, 2023, also in Napa County Superior Court.
And last week, a third suit was filed by the City of Vallejo. It is regarding water use. See the details of the case, number 23CV000517, here. Vallejo does not want to supply their limited water to Amercan Canyon’s limitless development projects.
Worries about environmental impact were barely considered in the city council’s careless unanimous vote to approve the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR).
In fact, during the March 21 public hearing on the FEIR, no members of the public were permitted to comment on the subject, even though there were people in the audience prepared to do so.
However, in previous letters and submitted comments, many pointed out serious deficiencies in the FEIR, including the project’s significant direct and cumulative impacts on air quality, greenhouse gases, biological resources, water supplies, water quality, energy conservation, and traffic.
At a time when the Council is constantly hearing complaints about the traffic congestion and pollution caused by the influx of diesel trucks serving the many warehouses already crowding American Canyon, they seem to ignore that the Giovannoni site would increase by 200,000 the heavy-duty truck trips per year, covering about 6 million miles. This would also add an additional 21,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution to the air every year.
American Canyon residents already suffer the highest pollution burden in Napa County, with more exposure to pollutants than 73% of the state. (Source: Cal EnviroScreen 4.0 created by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, learn more here.)
Residents also sent a clear message last November to elected officials when they defeated Measure J, which was on the November ballot to bring Green Island Vineyard into the city’s sphere of influence with the eventual goal of building yet another industrial park.
But the pro-development staff and council don’t seem to be listening. One resident commented, “This (Giovanonni Site) was a done deal years ago.” Another source speculated that the recently-opened Devlin Road extension, which cuts the Giovannoni Site property into two sections, was built specifically to accommodate more development.
While these 204 acres sit smack in the middle and are surrounded by other warehouses and industry, they are also bordered by a creek that flows into the Fagan Marsh State Marine Park Reserve, a protected area which contains imperiled wetlands which provide important foraging grasslands for several species of threatened birds.
The site is home to the California red-legged frog, the western pond turtle, and other sensitive species while serving as foraging habitat for the state-threatened Swainson’s hawk and the federally protected golden eagle. “It’s alarming that the city is willing to let industrial development of this scale take over a biodiversity hotspot without carefully considering the consequences, “ said CBD attorney Frances Tinney.
And there’s more ahead. Future projects include developing almost every square inch of the remainder of American Canyon, including annexing more land for industrial and residential development. Within ten years, most of the south Napa County is planned to be built to maximum capacity.
A Growing Problem in California
Read this recent CalMatters article about Warehouse Glut
Attend meetings of the planning commissions and city councils, submit testimony, and let friends in American Canyon know more about what is going on. American Canyon does not have an independent source of news. The city often publishes its public notices in the Vallejo Times Herald. The city has an excellent website, and all EIRs and project information are available online.
American City Council meetings are on the first and third Tuesday of the month 6:30 pm
Planning Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm.
City Council and other public meetings are conducted in person at City Hall, 4381 Broadway, Suite 201, American Canyon and also via Zoom.