Measure U takes property rights away from PUC

2012-09-22T00:00:00Z Measure U takes property rights away from PUC Napa Valley Register
September 22, 2012 12:00 am

In a recent letter to the Napa Valley Register (“No lawsuit if Measure U is passed,” Sept. 15), Duane Cronk picks and chooses what he wants Napa County citizens to believe is “the issue” in the upcoming, ill-conceived, November ballot Measure U.

The letter states that ag preservation is the issue. However, the real issue is property rights — the property rights of Pacific Union College.

Measure U, if passed, would wrest control of its land from the college, a clear violation of property rights as we know them in America.

The American way is: If you want to do something (anything) with someone else’s land,  you buy it — then you have the right to make decisions about what to do with the land.

I wonder how other property owners would feel if their property would be subject to these kinds of ballot measures.

Measure U is simply the attempt by a few Angwin citizens to prevent their ever having new neighbors.

These people have acquired their property and homes in Angwin, but they don’t want others to have that same right.

Ironically, some of those wishing to diminish Pacific Union College’s property rights have homes on former Pacific Union College land.

Napa County’s engaged legal counselors have pointed out to the Board of Supervisors that there is a “significant likelihood” that parts of Measure U may be invalid.

That being so, is it any wonder that if it were passed, the matter might well wind up in the courts, costing taxpayers a significant amount of money?

The bottom line is that Measure U is a flawed, and possibly very costly, property rights land grab that deserves a resounding “no” vote by Napa County voters.

Maria Vance / Angwin

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(23) Comments

  1. napablogger
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    napablogger - September 22, 2012 12:49 am
    Most of Napa has had their property rights taken away from them, if that is how you want to look at it. I have a parcel of farmland too, and I could sell it to a developer to build a neighborhood but I can't because the county zoned/designated it ag.

    I don't want to even though I could make a lot more money than I am from the grapes I am growing on it now, because I support the ag preserve which we Napans as a collective decided was the highest and best use of the land.

    Angwin is the wrong place to build a big subdivision, and when PUC sold or was about to sell land to a developer locals there felt that they had to act and I don't blame them. PUC already has a permit to build 191 units that they have not used, they say there is too much affordable built into it to make as much money as they want.

    I would like to see them try to make that work first, that is a lot of units already for this rural area in the woods on top of a hill. It just doesn't make sense.
  2. glenroy
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    glenroy - September 22, 2012 7:37 am
    It's a tie.....both the letter and response have some valid points.

    It's funny though, public schools like UCD are not bound by local codes and regulations, they cut roads where ever they wish without erosion control, permits and or inspections. They build building where every they wish, put up unsightly towers, take easements from their neighbors…you name it.
    Why can't PUC do it when UCD can?
  3. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - September 22, 2012 8:12 am
    102 years ago PUC moved to Angwin when the original home of PUC, Healdsburg CA, became too urbanized. Ironic how now developers would destroy the very qualities PUC sought out for their college and learning environment! Measure U affirms the Institutional designation of areas of Angwin to foster the college into the future! To protect the needed lands from being developed into a office park, industrail park, hotel etc. and to make sure educational uses are available for college expansion!

    With 191 units of new housing approved already who in the county would think more development prudent? Answer: Big buck developers seeking your tax dollars to fund their infrastructure, road, school costs.

    PUC has a right to continue their educational mission, not to become the next city in Napa County.
  4. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 22, 2012 10:02 am
    As an FYI to County voters: This is not a property rights issue unless you believe property owners should be given the freedom to do WHATEVER they want on their land. If PUC could take their institutionally zoned land (which is what it should have remained) and put oil or fracking rigs on it, they probably would. They no longer have ethics or consideration for the community that surrounds them. As Napa Blogger suggests, we all must live within parameters of land use regulations. Some people and corporations (which is the way I now view PUC) want to do whatever they want, when they want and they have no consideration for those around them. Give them an inch, they take a mile which is exactly what has happened. They have hijacked generous land use and zoning laws which were originally set up for institutional growth, not 'for profit' housing and commercial development.

  5. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - September 22, 2012 11:45 am
    Some of us have enough vision to see that this "Urban Bubble" is not right for Angwin. We've seen enough of it all around the bay area. Angwin is a special place and it deserves something better.
  6. Perceptive
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    Perceptive - September 22, 2012 2:59 pm
    Thanks for the letter. It takes guts to put a letter in the paper.

    We need Measure U to clean up a mess.

    Like all messes, the disconnect between the Urban Bubble and the ground it covered was not important until it was stepped in. The Bubble was given PUC to facilitate its development as a college and lurked unnoticed for several decades. Unfortunately, PUC’s development stalled and developers found the elasticity of the language of the Bubble suited them; thus the last 7 years of mess. We have endured years of charettes, General Plan meetings, Board of Supervisors meetings, community meetings, and the mess lingers. U will mend our community and allow us to move on from wasteful schemes and questions of “what about this, what about that.”

    U will clean up the mess.
  7. Perceptive
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    Perceptive - September 22, 2012 3:02 pm
    Zoning has been a legitimate exercise of a community’s police power recognized in the United States since at least 1916. It is not new, fascist, thuggery or wresting control. It is how communities develop in an intelligent manner, rather than as a result of profit maximization by developers. It is not a property right. Even if it were a property right, PUC would have lost nothing. After U is passed (and it will be) PUC or its developers can still do their visioneering and bring their schemes to a vote of the citizens of the County. The same subdivisions could be built, but they would be built with review and approval of the County, rather than the Supervisors. Only the approval process will have changed.

    U will have cleaned up the mess.
  8. Perceptive
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    Perceptive - September 22, 2012 3:03 pm
    You are right Ms. Vance, U may be flawed, but not nearly as flawed as the dysfunctional Urban Bubble it will undo. If you read the report of the “local counselors” (who were not local and were actually councilors) you will find that the “flaws” have to do with relative minutiae which could be the basis of litigation, if PUC or their successors wanted to waste time and effort on them. Initiatives commonly have rough edges that need to be worked through and U will be no exception.

    But it will clean up a mess.
  9. Perceptive
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    Perceptive - September 22, 2012 3:20 pm
    Finally, let me share a quote. Dal Burns likes Ted Roszak, I like Teddy Roosevelt:

    "I took the isthmus, started the canal, and then left Congress -- not to debate the canal, but to debate me. . . . While the debate goes on, the canal does too; and they are welcome to debate me as long as they wish, provided that we can go on with the canal."

    We will pass U. Development will proceed, but it will be ag development as Cronk suggests.
    The College can debate legal threats, property rights, whatever it wants, But we are passing U. People can continue the debate but we will have cleaned up the mess.
  10. kevin
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    kevin - September 22, 2012 4:41 pm
    The headline says it all; most voters are going to look at this measure as a violation of someones property rights.

    Measure U is going to fail.
  11. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - September 22, 2012 11:04 pm

    U marches on, due to the wishes of Napa County voters to protect this treasured county. Look at Silverado Trial near Old Adobe. How beautiful your developers work there. How respectful to neighbors, history and environmnet, and wildlife?

    Napa Pipe, Calistoga Resorts, the hedious Alexander Crossing!

    Citizens in the end know what is best and Measure U cleans up a really big mess in one small community.

    Vote Yes on Measure U!

  12. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 23, 2012 11:19 am
    Kevin, imagine that you lived next door to a building which was used to store farm equipment for a long time. The property was used exclusively for agricultural purposes for, say 50 years. One day, a planner decides to draw a vague circle around that building and land because the farmer also needed a gas pump for his farm equipment. A planner, just one guy, broadens the land use language so that the farmer can legally use his gas pump. Skip ahead 30 years and a developer sees that the land use language is so broad, it not only allows him to put a gas station next to your home but it also allows industrial use and expansion of the building which will now be two stories high and cover 3X the footprint of the old building.

    You're not happy because you feel the zoning was hijacked by developers who will now take advantage of zoning that was only meant for a farmer's personal equipment. You protest the situation and want the land use/zoning cleaned up. Is this property rights violation?
  13. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - September 23, 2012 7:40 pm
    'Wrest control' from the carpet bagging shopping mall developers! Yes sir that is indeed the effort and intent of Measure U.

    All right team Yes on U! Go, Fight, Win!
  14. Lucy White
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    Lucy White - September 24, 2012 6:11 pm
    This, another arm of the War Against Rural Lands, taking property rights, and suppressing any development. The real agenda is downsizing and eliminating use of our lands. Those who live and love Angwin will be future victims. The Socialization of our Lands is destroying this country and our rights. The use of our lands creates economies and funds our schools. We need to think of how to support logical development and stimulate private investments. Those who don't are driving us off the cliff!!!
  15. Lucy White
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    Lucy White - September 24, 2012 6:11 pm
    Congressional Western Caucus is fighting to protect our Property Rights "Private ownership of property is a fundamental right in America. Along with that ownership comes a certain expectation that landowners will be able to legally use their land as they see fit, so long as others are not harmed by that use..."
  16. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 25, 2012 1:50 pm
    So Ms. White, you do not mind if your neighbor, a Muslim with moderately radical views (compared to you), establishes an "in home" church in a residence located within 20 feet of your home? On weekends, they have prayer meetings and you can hear their chanting at 8 o'clock AM. It last until mid afternoon because there are several services. Cars are parked up and down the street but they are careful not to block driveways. The noise is an inconvenience but they assume you are not bothered by it. They try their best to be conscientious.

    According to your logic, if you complain and action is taken, this is taking away their property rights and perhaps their religious freedom? This fits two scenarios you mention above. The homeowners are using their property as "they see fit" and "it does not harm you". Of course, the "harm" part of it might be in the eyes of the beholder. Perhaps in the eyes of the Angwin community, we view "land use" hijacking as harmful.

  17. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - September 25, 2012 10:49 pm
    Ms. White,

    Building a sub-division and shopping mall in Angwin would hurt all of Napa County! Who would pay for this? The rugged Western rural folks....or the hotel developer?

    Who would house the low wage workers? The dogged, hardworking middle class or the slick guy living in a gated golf course community in Florida!

    Who would fund the sewer and water special district? The soon to be foreclosed on family or the fat cat collecting his commissions?

    No one seek to depopulate the rural West. But thinking citizens will be tuned in to the cost of rural real estate schemes and the hucksters who package the deal in a neat ribbon of green $.
  18. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 26, 2012 11:04 am
    Since we're on the subject of Western Caucus, I think it's important to highlight the fact that their goal is to populate rural areas in the guise of economic growth (supposedly for our benefit). We all know what happens when rural areas are populated. On the surface it might appear like economic growth. In reality, the economic growth is often shortlived (construction, for example, which often employs low wage, migrant workers today). This does not stimulate our economy.

    We, the taxpayers, end out subsidizing rural areas that are developed into dense housing. The higher population will require new roads. Maintaining a rural road with at least five miles of curves is not the same as maintaining a flat road with a shoulder in a city. Who pays? You, the County taxpayer will. It's costly maintaining dense development in rural areas. You, as a County taxpayer need to ask the question of whether you want to pay for it. Answer that question with a YES vote on Measure U.
  19. Lucy White
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    Lucy White - September 26, 2012 11:33 am
    Rural America wakeup – you need to stand up for property rights and the Constitution – not fight other property owner’s rights – otherwise you are aiding and abetting local and federal government to control your lives and take your lands. What you think you are protecting, you are giving away. You need to protect your investments and develop your assets…stand up for the Constitution! Google “obama executive order rural land” … President Obama Executive Order 13575 Rural Councils – Napa County participates in the Agenda – google the cities…
  20. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 26, 2012 7:57 pm
    Interesting FOX news perspective on rural lands. However, what does that have to do with Measure U which gives land use control to THE PEOPLE?
  21. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - September 26, 2012 10:38 pm
    And when every square inch of farm ground is paved over, when every family is 'housed' at 20 units per acre, when every drop of rain is slurped up for industrial munificence, when every road is obstructed with spewing, stand still traffic, and every moment of every persons living and breathing day is pushed to maximal economic productivity, shall your 'assets be developed' and the West at long last won.
  22. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - September 27, 2012 2:58 pm
    Also people in this country need to be aware that as we cover our agricultural lands with housing and asphalt, it's unlikely the land will ever be reversed back to it's food production capacity. Some of you may not like the mono culture of grapes. On the other hand, at least the land is protected. It can always morph into other crops if food economics change to the point of greater dependency on locally grown food (rising energy and transportation costs).

    As we cover our ag lands up, increasingly we become dependent on crops grown in Mexico. It's bad enough being dependent on foreign oil, but to put ourselves in a position of food dependency on another country is dangerous. Keep that in mind when developers swarm over ag lands, dreaming of the day they can pave it over.
  23. Daddy - what happened to all the trees
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    Daddy - what happened to all the trees - September 28, 2012 10:01 pm
    It should be noted that the author of this letter to the editor, Maria Vance, is an employee of PUC
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