A test of character will be on display of our city representatives regarding land use and the Napa Oaks proposed hillside development by Davidon Homes. The proposed development site is in full, clear view of the city, located on the western hills near Imola Avenue.
This site has had a history of failed development attempts. The most notable attempt occurred approximately 15 years ago, at which time the City Council became heavily involved. After a long and very informative process, the council acted on behalf of the community.
A final decision was made that not only declined the developer's plans, but went much further by sending a clear, strong message; that this parcel of land had no place for the number of homes desired.
The council took additional steps by rezoning the 70-plus acre parcel from 3-4 homes per acre to one home per 20 acres. That equated to reducing from 210-280 homes to only three homes on that parcel. It was a huge victory for the city and the vision of its General Plan. The community went home that night knowing that the right decision was made; that civil involvement can help in keeping the overall vision of how we want our city to look and feel.
Just consider for a moment how much courage it took for those council members to stand up and make such a difficult decision. On that final night, the City Council was very well aware of the potential backlash by the developer. The council even had the city attorney weigh in on the potential legal risks. One would think that the developer would have taken away a better understanding of the city of Napa's sensitivities to its natural resources. That this parcel was never meant to include so many homes.
Those 15 years ago, the City Council that night was acting by virtue of its community opposition, to finally put to rest, the risk of losing one of its special resource.
Now, fast-forward to present day. A new pitch is on in developing Napa Oaks. It's as if that meeting 15 years ago never happened. Basically, the developer wants the parcel to be re-rezoned from essentially three-home maximum to allowing more than 50 homes. And to hear that some of our current city representatives are in favor, it just boggles the mind. Their predecessors did all the heavy lifting, making it easy for them to follow suit and make the right decision.
It would be a sad day for Napa if this comes down to a "stroke of a pen" from city government that disregards the past. I am hopeful that any of our elected officials who currently side with Davidon Homes will refocus and be more aligned with their forefathers and the community.