New Napa City Hall

The Plenary Group has proposed a new Napa City Hall on downtown First Street to replace the current city administration building, which dates to 1951. The civic center also would house the Napa Police Department.

Submitted graphic

The next member of the Napa City Council will be an old hand at the job. Tuesday night, its members will decide who that old hand will be.

Former council members Jim Krider and JoAnn Busenbark have applied for the seat vacated last week by Juliana Inman after 11 years, City Clerk Dorothy Roberts said Monday. Inman’s former peers will choose one of them to fill the year remaining on her term during a special meeting at City Hall.

The selection of Inman’s successor will take up the second half of the special session, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a joint meeting of the council and Planning Commission for an early look at Napa’s future City Hall complex downtown.

Either Busenbark or Krider will hold office through the November 2018 elections, for which four people already have declared their candidacies. At least three of the remaining council members must agree on a candidate for an appointment to take place.

Inman, a longtime Napa architect elected to the City Council in 2006, ended her third term a year early when she retired to move with her husband to Salem, Oregon. Before stepping down, she asked her colleagues to select a “caretaker” replacement with past council experience but no plans to run in 2018, a suggestion the council accepted last month.

Krider was elected to the Napa council in 2004 and served two terms before his defeat in the 2012 race, in which voters chose current Councilman Scott Sedgley as well as Alfredo Pedroza, who later moved on to the county Board of Supervisors.

Busenbark, a former city planning commissioner, served two council terms before her defeat in the March 2003 election. The next year, she was elected to the Napa Valley College board of trustees, where she served until last December.

Appointing an interim council member is expected to save Napa the $75,000 cost of a special election, which would have taken place during the June primaries and given its winner only about a four-month term.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Napa council and Planning Commission are slated to discuss the status of the civic center that will replace the current City Hall on School Street, which dates to 1951.

Approved by the council in May, the four-story, 130,193-square-foot City Hall building would go up at 1600 First St., replacing the current Community Services Building. It would house the council chamber, Napa Police and other city departments, which are currently scattered across various rented spaces.

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Also included in the plan is a 271-space expansion of the Clay Street parking garage, and the reuse of the city’s Housing Authority site at Clay and Seminary streets for Napa Fire’s new downtown station.

Replacing the current City Hall and the neighboring police station will be a mixed-use development combining condominiums, hotel rooms and 40,000 square feet of retail space. The hotel-housing complex is considered the financial key to Napa’s civic center, with its tax revenues expected to help pay for construction bonds on the new city offices.

Tuesday’s joint meeting will deal only with the civic center and not the private development that will replace the existing City Hall.

Napa departments are expected to leave their current quarters toward the end of 2018 and use temporary offices for up to 2 ½ years during construction of the new city hub.

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Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.