Napa Pipe

Napa Pipe developers obtain delay to revise project

2012-06-04T13:44:00Z 2012-06-05T22:27:05Z Napa Pipe developers obtain delay to revise projectPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
June 04, 2012 1:44 pm  • 

Two hearings next week that could have decided the fate of the Napa Pipe project have been canceled so the developers can revise their application and shrink the project’s proposed size.

The Napa County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hold hearings on the project June 11 and 13, but those were canceled Monday at the developers’ request, Napa County Planning Director Hillary Gitelman wrote in an email.

Whit Manley, a lawyer working with Napa Redevelopment Partners, asked Gitelman on Monday morning to delay the hearings while the project team revises the project’s application and aligns it with recommendations from the Napa County Planning Commission.

The developers had wanted to build 2,050 homes on a 154-acre site just south of the city of Napa on the east banks of the Napa River, while planning staff proposed 700 to 945 homes.

Following a series of public meetings this spring, the county Planning Commission voted May 2 to recommend the size of the staff proposal to the Board of Supervisors.

“We hope to present the Planning Commission with a revised proposal that is responsive to the new information and perspective we’ve gathered, as a result of the commission and staff’s thoughtful efforts,” Manley wrote in an email to Gitelman.

“We are also working to ensure that our revised proposal is feasible in all respects — hence the need for additional time in order to submit.”

It was unclear Monday whether the revised application means the Board of Supervisors simply has to delay the hearings, or if the project has to go back to the Planning Commission for a new recommendation.

County staff will have to evaluate the revised proposal once it’s submitted, Gitelman said.

“If the revised proposal includes features that were not discussed by the Planning Commission, then it will have to go back to them for a recommendation,” she said.

Planning staff will also analyze whether the project’s environmental impact report will still sufficiently address the revised proposal.

Manley wrote that the developers expect the revised application to be submitted shortly. “We anticipate this delay will be very brief,” he said.

The project’s initial application in March 2007 called for building 3,200 homes for a mixed-use neighborhood on the site, which was formerly used for steel manufacturing.

That was reduced to 2,580 homes before the process of compiling the project’s environmental impact report started in January 2009. Before the final EIR was released in February, the developers agreed to reduce the number of units to 2,050.

In February, county planning staff released its recommendation of 700 to 945 units focused on the western half of the site, which is split by railroad tracks. Staff proposed that the western portion be devoted to residential uses, while the eastern half remain zoned industrial.

At the time, Keith Rogal, the face of Napa Redevelopment Partners, questioned the financial feasibility of building so few units, saying his team would need to analyze this amount. On Monday, Rogal declined to publicly comment on the revised proposal.

In advocating for the staff recommendation, Gitelman cited the potential reduction in the county’s regional housing allocation for the next decade, and the possibility that the city of Napa could provide water to a smaller project.

The county’s current housing plan calls for 300 to 400 units to be built on a 20-acre portion of the site. The city had provided a letter to the county stating that it would provide water to a development of that size, Gitelman said at the time.

Whether the city would provide water to a 700- to 945-unit development is unclear; city officials have maintained opposition to large-scale residential development for years.

The staff housing recommendation went to the Planning Commission, which conducted four hearings on the project between February and May. Proponents of the project touted the developer’s vision of a dense, walkable neighborhood that’s not seen in much of Napa County, and praised the project as a way to provide affordable housing. Twenty percent of Napa Pipe’s units would be categorized as affordable.

Opponents said the project’s potential use of the groundwater beneath it violated the county’s General Plan and would set a dangerous precedent. They also said it would worsen traffic in the areas surrounding the site, and runs counter to the notion of city-centered growth.

On May 2, Planning Commissioners Bob Fiddaman, Terry Scott and Mike Basayne voted in favor of General Plan and zoning amendment changes that would allow construction of 700 to 945 units. Commissioners Heather Phillips and Matt Pope voted no. The commission’s recommendation went to the Board of Supervisors.

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(41) Comments

  1. VogueLaGalere
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    VogueLaGalere - June 04, 2012 2:13 pm
    The polls must be showing that the only candidate who has steadfastly opposed to the project, Juliana Inman, is getting the support of the people.
  2. VogueLaGalere
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    VogueLaGalere - June 04, 2012 2:25 pm
    Correction: The initial proposal was for 3200 homes, see

    The owners of the property are set to unveil an informational initiative to educate people about the 3,200 home Napa Pipe development proposal

    Read more: http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/getting-to-know-napa-pipe/image_ea87275d-fa95-5337-84e1-b30d2850b0ee.html#ixzz1wrVeXgOn
  3. gaslight
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    gaslight - June 04, 2012 3:08 pm
    For those who believed that the Napa Pipe project would be a done deal before the election for Supervisor Dist. #2 in November, this announcement should serve as a wake-up call that this project will postpone and delay but with millions invested in it already, it won't go away.

    Whoever wins in the Dist. #2 election will most likely be voting on this project eventually. Juliana Inman is the ONLY candidate who has strongly opposed the Napa Pipe project from the beginning. Mark Luce has been the project's most outspoken supporter for years until this election approached. Mark Van Gorder has recently told numerous audiences that he believes there will be agreement on this project.

    A vote for Inman is a vote against Napa Pipe. Vote tomorrow!
  4. spanku2
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    spanku2 - June 04, 2012 3:08 pm
    Will there still be an issue with zoning?
  5. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - June 04, 2012 3:21 pm
    So no scheduled date for the new hearings. How convenient.
  6. gizzi143
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    gizzi143 - June 04, 2012 3:42 pm
    From the initial focus groups through to the planning commission meetings I respect and appreciate the developers for continuing to listen to the public and concerns and incorporate them into the project. HOWEVER, the green walking neighborhood with shops and riverfront requires a certain level of density in order to support those services and provide the active community environment. I hope the proposal does not change too much... This is my dream neighborhood!
  7. SlowhandKev
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    SlowhandKev - June 04, 2012 4:09 pm
    gaslight said: "For those who believed that the Napa Pipe project would be a done deal before the election for Supervisor Dist. #2 in November, this announcement should serve as a wake-up call that this project will postpone and delay but with millions invested in it already, it won't go away. Whoever wins in the Dist. #2 election will most likely be voting on this project eventually. Juliana Inman is the ONLY candidate who has strongly opposed the Napa Pipe project from the beginning. Mark Luce has been the project's most outspoken supporter for years until this election approached. Mark Van Gorder has recently told numerous audiences that he believes there will be agreement on this project.A vote for Inman is a vote against Napa Pipe. Vote tomorrow!"
    The Napa Valley is a unique treasure and does not need more urban sprawl and the strain on resources and rough traffic that comes with it. No to Napa Pipe and apparently Yes to Juliana Inman. Goodbye Incumbents
  8. BennyD
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    BennyD - June 04, 2012 4:10 pm
    Excellent. This location is perfect for mixed use. It can handle housing needs and light business, a much more diverse use of space.
  9. VogueLaGalere
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    VogueLaGalere - June 04, 2012 4:13 pm
    gettingreal said: "So no scheduled date for the new hearings. How convenient. "

    Indeed, for in the past, an announcement of a postponement of a Napa Pipe hearing would also contain word of when the hearing was being moved to. Perhaps the new date will be announced at next week's hearing. Here's an example way back in 2009 when the Planning Commission continued the matter and announced the rescheduled date:

    http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/napa-pipe-meeting-moved/article_58a2048f-87c2-5d73-8181-18bf2e7242fa.html#ixzz1wrY8ljiB
  10. notpc
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    notpc - June 04, 2012 4:14 pm
    I am not attempting to sway anyones vote for Dist. 2 supervisor. Just vote and let your voice be heard. But Rogal and his team are waiting to see the outcome of this election. If the person they want wins there will be very little change to the project. If the candidate they don't want wins they will be scrambling to come up with a project that will get the votes needed for approval. The voices of the people are being heard, don't give up.
  11. boise1
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    boise1 - June 04, 2012 4:26 pm
    Here's our chance Napans to stop sprawl...Do not vote for Mark Luce....
  12. VogueLaGalere
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    VogueLaGalere - June 04, 2012 4:50 pm
    gaslight said: "... Whoever wins in the Dist. #2 election will most likely be voting on this project eventually.

    The City of Napa has incurred over $200,000, not counting the other $100,000s in City personnel time, presenting the City's concerns about the Environmental Impact Report. With this investment, the City is not going away. The Planning Commission ignored several deal-breaking issues as will the current Board of Supervisors ("BOS").

    After the BOS approves the project, the City may seek review of their decision by a court. If a court agrees with the City's objections that the BOS failed to address those concerns, the court will send the matter back to the BOS who must then rehear the matter. At that point, the BOS will contain someone different representing District 2 (over 90% are City residents) if Luce does not retain his seat. It is at that hearing where the fundamental problem with Napa Pipe, rezoning industrial land for housing, could die.
  13. NapaCitizen
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    NapaCitizen - June 04, 2012 5:04 pm
    It does not matter if they move it or not. The majority of Napans OPPOSE this development in its entirety - even the smaller size is problematic.

    Let's hope they don't try to schedule the meeting to vote on it with such short notice that people won't show up to show their opposition in front of their Supervisors.

    Are you listening Mr Dodd? You may be running unopposed in this election. Your support of this development project could change that.
  14. FrankA
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    FrankA - June 04, 2012 5:22 pm
    I have not seen a quote appear in the Register of Inmann stating she opposes a zoning change to allow residential development at Napa Pipe. I have seen her supporters claim in these chat rooms that she opposes such a zoning change, but when I have in the past asked if anyone can cite a quote no one has ever responded.

    The only stance on Napa Pipe that I have seen cited by the NVR is Inmann calling for more studies of the proposed development. In my book that's half a step short of saying she will approve it, if she see's enough studies. My impression could be completely wrong. Maybe someone can cite an actual quote of Inmann stating she will oppose the requested zoning change.
  15. kevin
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    kevin - June 04, 2012 5:41 pm
    boise, you have an interesting definition of 'sprawl'.

    Building a subdivision on the site of a hazardous waste filled abandoned factory in the middle of an industrial park is not my definition of sprawl...
  16. gaslight
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    gaslight - June 04, 2012 5:52 pm
    FrankA: Inman's own words:
    I am the only candidate for District 2 supervisor who has opposed the Napa Pipe project since it was introduced.

    Napa Pipe would create a new town the size of St. Helena on Napa’s border, causing traffic gridlock in an already “F”-rated traffic corridor and lengthening trips out of county by an hour per round trip.

    The new town would rely on groundwater, destroying Napa County’s carefully protected groundwater supply and the General Plan policy that prohibits urban uses of county groundwater, and would open the door for developers and all other cities in Napa County to tap these water supplies.

    Furthermore, the project would create a burden on public safety, schools, roads and taxpayers to provide services to this huge development. At $420,000 for a two-bedroom condo, it would not provide workforce housing. It would swallow up a prime industrial site needed for clean industry and businesses that will bring well-paying jobs back to Napa County.

  17. VogueLaGalere
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    VogueLaGalere - June 04, 2012 5:56 pm
    FrankA said: "I have not seen a quote appear in the Register of Inmann stating she opposes a zoning change to allow residential development at Napa Pipe.... "

    See her statement published June 1st in this paper:

    I am the only candidate for District 2 supervisor who has opposed the Napa Pipe project since it was introduced.

    ...

    It would swallow up a prime industrial site needed for clean industry and businesses that will bring well-paying jobs back to Napa County.

    Read more: http://napavalleyregister.com/news/opinion/mailbag/inman-declares-her-position-on-important-issues/article_43b91834-ab96-11e1-bc21-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1wsKoFpNG

    Better yet, call her or email her and she will tell you she opposes the zone change. And then you'll have the comfort you seek. You can even report back here the result of your contact instead of trying to raise doubt. Her contact information is on the City's site and her web site.
  18. gaslight
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    gaslight - June 04, 2012 6:06 pm
    FrankA: The above quote comes from Inman's letter to the Editor on 6-1-2011 and quite clearly defines her opposition to Napa Pipe. She has further stated at many public forums and meetings that she opposes ANY housing on the Napa Pipe site because that prime industrial land must be preserved for clean industry and businesses.

    Inman's opposition of Napa Pipe has been constant and unwavering and uncompromising. Any zoning change which would allow ANY housing would run contrary to all she has very vocally represented concerning the site. If you still have concerns, you might want to just ask her the question directly at www.julianainman.com.

  19. notpc
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    notpc - June 04, 2012 6:21 pm
    Its time for the voices of the electorate to be heard. This election will determine whether we want a pro Napa Pipe supervisor or an anti Napa Pipe supervisor. The citizens need to decide what their vision is for Napa County and their quality of life. One hint at Rogals integrity is the last minute (allegedly) change in his proposal. He is waiting to see who wins this election to see how many yes votes he has on the BOS.
  20. Mama San
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    Mama San - June 04, 2012 6:27 pm
    The city council published a letter that states they are opposed to this development and why. It would be interesting to see what Rogel and group have given to get their candidate into the Supervisors.

    I hope they just go away!! We need more businesses in Napa not more houses.
  21. napan123
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    napan123 - June 04, 2012 6:27 pm
    The BOSs should approve this project! It would benefit the hospitality workers by providing smaller homes in a walking neighborhood. The mixed use proposal is so exciting... I will be first in line to live here. 
  22. gogiants
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    gogiants - June 04, 2012 6:31 pm
    Approve this project!
  23. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - June 04, 2012 7:25 pm
    How can people just ignore the traffic nightmare this project will create? Water taxis? Give me a break!
  24. BennyD
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    BennyD - June 04, 2012 7:30 pm
    Even Inman being an architect, should understand the relevance of securing a single development on a non- agricultural property that will handle Napa's future growth needs. The creation of tax revenues with light businesses and affordable housing along a transit corridor is an obvious benefit. Being tightly fisted as an opponent of Napa Pipe is only pandering to a vocal few. Let's see who has courage to lead.
  25. kkjp
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    kkjp - June 04, 2012 7:32 pm
    napan123: The residents I know who work in the local hospitality industry think Napa Pipe's "housing for hospitality workers" spin is a joke. They and their families couldn't fit into a tiny 2-bdrm 7th story condo even if they could afford the hefty $420,000 price tag. And if they could afford that price, they'd have their pick of nice single family homes all over Napa. In fact they could choose from dozens of great 3 bdrm 2 bath homes for sale well below that price.
  26. Leo624
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    Leo624 - June 04, 2012 8:21 pm
    Napa does not NEED this type of development (i.e. housing)!!!! Let's keep it as an area for light industry and commerce, i.e. JOBS for those of us who need them and live here, or nearby and commute.
  27. VERUM NOW
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    VERUM NOW - June 04, 2012 9:26 pm
    Kevin says, "Building a subdivision on the site of a hazardous waste filled abandoned factory in the middle of an industrial park is not my definition of sprawl...

    I agree! It's pure insanity; or have we forgotten Love Canal?
  28. napan123
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    napan123 - June 04, 2012 9:28 pm
    Kkjp: admittedly this neighborhood is not perfect for everyone. Those families who want the
    Detached single family house in a typical suburban neighborhood where they must get in their car to reach any services... Napa has plenty ofbthose options. This innovative neighborhood would provide a different option, geared more toward empty nesters, singles, couples, those don't need or want to care for a large sprawling home. ALSO... Then proposal is 4 stories not 7.

    Leo624: there is currently a 68 year supply of empty industrial space. More empty space is not what napa needs. This property sat empty for years with no industry interested in recycling it.
  29. gizzi143
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    gizzi143 - June 04, 2012 9:38 pm
    I'm guessing most of the people who say we don't need more houses where lucky enough to buy houses in napa years ago.... Settled and content. We do need other types of housing. Everyone I talk to loves the idea of this neighborhood. It makes sense, especially when looking at all of the demographic studies. This type of neighborhood is the future of sustainable developments. We can't be afraid of change, that will only lead to more of the same sprawling car dependent neighborhoods.
  30. napablogger
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    napablogger - June 04, 2012 10:28 pm
    I wrote a post that wasn't posted, so let me try it this way. I do not believe the election has anything to do with this decision. I believe that it had to do with the fact that the developer realized that the Supervisors were not going to approve any of the plans save the 20 acre, zoned for 350 unit parcel that doesn't need remediation. This parcel also would be served by city services, and is also unlikely to be built because it doesn't pencil out.

    So the developer wants to pull the application at the last minute which I believe is an affront to the community, to put us through another how many years debating this thing. People do not want it, which is why the Sups were going to vote it down, so I believe.

    The Sups should deal with it,vote on it, and not allow another delay and yet another housing plan that few want and will never pass muster. All this is is a tactic by the developer to fend off losing, in my opinion.
  31. Annoying_Gnat
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    Annoying_Gnat - June 05, 2012 12:37 am
    I wonder what they would find if they dug down about 6 feet and did chemical tests on the soil at Napa Pipe? Ask the folks at Ship Yard Acres what the place was like in the fifties. Oh wait it is now a cemetery.

    In addition I wonder what the water taxi will do during a hard winter rain. Go South?
  32. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - June 05, 2012 7:07 am
    So, what happens? More bad loans like the ones that caused the housing bubble? In the real world, poor people don't buy homes. They rent.
  33. notpc
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    notpc - June 05, 2012 9:34 am
    In this economy $400,000 condominiums are not affordable for low income people. That premise for this project is a joke. On top of the mortgage payment you will have substantial homeowner dues to maintain multi- story buildings with elevators. This project is ill conceived and creates more problems than it will ever solve. The Board of Supervisors and the Napa County Planning Commission have allowed this project to continue with its poor planning, fantasyland mitigation measures, and in the end the burden will fall on the taxpayers to try and fix (if possible) the mess. If approved I think there should be a large bronze plaque with all their names on it so that their legacy will not be forgotten.
  34. garretth37
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    garretth37 - June 05, 2012 10:03 am
    I work out by the airport, you should see the signs saying this property for sale, for lease, will build to suit, all that empty land and empty building. Don't forget to mention Vallejo, American Canyon, Fairfield. Drive around Napa, see many for lease signs, empty buildings and places that swill house industry.
  35. reason-ator
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    reason-ator - June 05, 2012 11:11 am
    Annoying_Gnat said: "...I wonder what the water taxi will do during a hard winter rain. "

    It will be replaced with Rogal Carriages pulled by Flying Unicorns.

    Really. They'll be affordable unicorns.
  36. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - June 05, 2012 3:31 pm
    This project is looking more and more like those stack-em and pack-em, not so Smart Growth, boxes that are going in everywhere else in the bay area. Napa deserves better than that!
  37. Rizzzdog
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    Rizzzdog - June 05, 2012 3:35 pm
    napablogger is right on the mark with his comments. Also something else to consider is the fact of building residential housing in a working industrial area is asking for trouble. How long will it take before Syar Industries or Shamrock Concrete will forced out of business because of to much noise and dust from their operations it may take 20 years but this is just the type of thing that happens when you build housing around industrial areas or airports. Speaking of airports it seems to me the Napa Pipe plan is right in the flight path of our current airport if this project was approved would it stop any future growth of the Napa County Airport?
  38. NapaLuna
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    NapaLuna - June 05, 2012 6:31 pm
    Napa Pipe's a very creative proposal that'll help add some balance to the area's dismal ratio of jobs and housing by recycling vacant industrial land. Rogal's persistence and vision produced the Carneros Inn, which is maybe the nicest resort anywhere in the wine country. The article indicates he's re-configuring the project to make it feasible with the smaller number of units recommended by staff. Give the guy some slack. Keep an open mind and let's see what he comes up with.
  39. garretth37
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    garretth37 - June 06, 2012 10:07 am
    "stack em and pack em" kinda of smart way if you don't have lots of land and need to provide housing or prevent growth on Ag Lands. The housing that people prefer, get rid of the Ag rules and build little cookie cutter homes that people can afford. Yow know starter homes with a good sized yard, extra bedrooms. We can conserve land, build in density or watch the prices rise.
  40. Mama San
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    Mama San - June 06, 2012 11:32 am
    Was Rogal behind Carneros Inn? I've been there and I think it is ugly. They have no water and it is hauled in daily. The facilities are not the most attractive. That's one that should have never been approved!!
  41. LynnseyAK
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    LynnseyAK - June 20, 2012 3:14 pm
    Approve this project, yes!!! This is exactly what the younger generation is hoping for.
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