Appearance mattered to the Napa County Planning Commission for a proposed self-storage facility near a Napa Valley gateway and a proposed 70-foot-tall cell tower at a rural golf course.

The commission on Wednesday decided these two projects won’t hurt local views. Commissioners granted approvals during that rare meeting when they had no winery growth issues to tackle.

Ryan Smith proposed constructing a self-storage facility on 7 acres along Devlin Road near Sheehy Court in the airport industrial area. The site is adjacent to Highway 29 and readily visible to drivers about the enter wine country.

Smith said his company tries to focus on what the public will see. The four buildings totaling 105,099 square feet will have such features as stone veneers, multiple heights and a tower. The property will be landscaped.

“That way when you’re driving down Highway 29, it’s appealing to the eye, it’s not just a self-storage facility,” he said.

Commissioner Terry Scott noted that the county has approved other self-storage facilities.

“In my opinion, this one raises the bar in terms of architectural quality and the sensitivity of the vision from Highway 29, which is the entrance to our city,” Scott said.

And commissioners said they thought the self-storage facility will be built in the right place – the airport industrial area.

“This is precisely what this area is meant to hold and the development we’re interested in seeing in this zone … clearly this is something that is needed,” Commissioner Jeri Hansen said.

Smith said his Auburn-based family business has built 18 self-storage facilities, mostly in Northern California. It recently completed a project in Morgan Hill.

The commission also approved the 70-foot-tall telecommunication tower proposed by Verizon on a hill at the Napa Valley Country Club golf course. This 97-acre property is located at 3385 Hagen Road about 1.5 miles east of the city of Napa.

The tower will be disguised as a pine tree. In photo simulations, it was hard to see from nearby roads.

“Really, the renderings do show that it is almost unnoticeable,” Commissioner Jeri Hansen said.

Golf Course General Manager Jeanne Johnston sent a letter to the county requesting approval. She wrote that the golf course has many Verizon dead zones.

“The safety, productivity and enjoyment of our members and their guests, many of whom spend most of their days here, are predicated on a ubiquitous indoor and outdoor wireless voice and data services,” she wrote.

More than 300 golf club members, guests and neighbors signed a petition asking for the cell tower.

“I believe this is an area that has been devoid of cell coverage for some time,” Commissioner Michael Basayne said. “In case of an emergency, to have cell coverage is very important.”

Hansen used the October wildfires as an example. The Atlas Fire burned just to the east of the Napa Valley Country Club. One way the county communicates with residents during emergencies is by Nixle cellphone alerts.

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