AMERICAN CANYON — A group of property owners has raised concerns about the traffic that Napa Logistics Park will produce in and around American Canyon, saying more needs to be done to stem the expected flow of cars and trucks from the large commercial project.
A representative for the property owners appeared before the American Canyon Planning Commission on Sept. 12 and tried to delay approval of a development agreement between the city of American Canyon and the developer of Napa Logistics Park’s Phase II.
Scott Greenwood-Meinert, a partner with the law firm Dickenson, Peatman and Fogarty in Napa, testified before the planning commission that he represented “a coalition of similarly situated property owners that will be affected by the project.”
“The coalition is concerned with traffic issues now and in the future in this area,” said Greenwood-Meinert, who did not reveal the names of his clients.
Napa Logistics Park is situated on the northwestern edge of American Canyon, west of Highway 29 and south of Napa County Airport. If fully built out, the project would provide 2.9 million square feet of space for warehousing, e-commerce, manufacturing or office use.
Greenwood-Meinert, who said the coalition does not oppose Napa Logistics Park, added that the property owners believe “this project’s traffic generation burdens are not adequately addressed,” and the environmental impact report for Phase II “acknowledges this problem at great length.”
The City Council and Planning Commission certified the environmental report for Phase II in December 2015, but not before adopting a resolution that included “Findings of Overriding Consideration” because of the project’s “significant and unavoidable” impacts on traffic.
A traffic study authorized by the city concluded the new business park would generate 1,310 vehicles during peak morning commute time and 1,243 vehicles during the afternoon peak unless there are efforts to reduce that.
Orchard Partners, developer of Napa Logistics Park, agreed to invest in road infrastructure and use a Travel Demand Management program — which would seek to reduce the number of vehicles coming and going from the business park — to ensure trip generation does not exceed 780 vehicles during the morning peak hour and 704 vehicles during the afternoon peak hour.
If they exceed these limits, the developer would pay a penalty to the city.
Greenwood-Meinert insisted Orchard Partners needs to do more to alleviate traffic problems so other developers aren’t left “holding the bag in the future for what will be very expensive improvements.”
He asked what the city intends to do to solve traffic on nearby streets, such as Green Island Road and Kelly Road, plus Highway 29 — traffic, he said, that Napa Logistics Park “will exacerbate.”
A larger traffic blueprint is “already long overdue,” according to Greenwood-Meinert. “We believe this project does not contribute enough to that solution.”
He requested the Planning Commission postpone voting on the development agreement for Napa Logistics Park Phase II, and instead convene a meeting of stakeholders to “hammer out a real traffic plan for this area.”
Commissioners did not act on Greenwood-Meinert’s request, but did unanimously approve a resolution recommending the City Council approve the development agreement.
Ernie Knodel, a partner with Orchard Partners, said he was unaware of the coalition until that night at the Planning Commission meeting.
“This is the first I’ve heard of them,” he told the commission. But “I will be happy to sit down with them and exchange business cards.”
Knodel also said his company has already agreed to pay “substantial fees” to the city to help with traffic improvements.
“We’ve gone to extraordinary measures to ensure we contribute the best way we can to help alleviate some of the traffic concerns,” said Knodel.
Colette Meunier, the city’s contract planner overseeing Napa Logistics Park, informed the Planning Commission that the developer will pay $4.7 million toward building a new segment of Devlin Road so it connects with Green Island Road.
She also noted that Orchard Partners has agreed to help pay for projects on Highway 29, including the intersection with Airport Boulevard/Highway 12 and Soscol Ferry Road/Highway 221.