Napa’s scenic roadways and Napa Oaks development – what a perfect juxtaposition of front page Register articles ("Foes of Napa Oaks II housing turn out in force; city planners delay verdict," and "Napa County's highways: scenic, but not officially so," Dec. 9)
Napa County has 280 miles of self-proclaimed scenic roads and highways that are especially beautiful to drive and whose hillsides and ridgelines have regulated development. Old Sonoma Road is but one of the many scenic roads in the county.
While the city of Napa has no specific viewshed protections – the 1998 General Plan designated certain parcels as RA, Resource Area -- acknowledging special standards and low density due to viewshed, resource, habitat, and geotechnical protections. The Napa Oaks development on the hillside above Old Sonoma Road and Casswall is seeking to throw out the low density, hillside protections in favor of 50-70 homes plus accessory dwelling units and a roundabout.
How does the Napa Oaks development effect the property owners on adjacent County land and the scenic roadway of Old Sonoma Road?
Just take a drive and find out for yourself. Start at the juncture with 12/121 and head east. Cross over a narrow bridge, drive past a few wineries, vineyards, farms, ranches, and rural residential properties. This bucolic drive passes through a slice of our agrarian heritage. The night sky is a sight to behold.
And just as you pass Truchard Winery and crest the hill, the road turns toward the right and drops steeply as you enter the city limits. A long, steep section that ices up on many winter mornings.
To provide safe access to the proposed Napa Oaks homes, the plan is to construct a roundabout close to the bottom of the hill. Many traffic calming/slowing options must be implemented to slow traffic from 45 to 15 mph entering the round-about. Bright blinking lights and speed humps are just a few that were mentioned.
Yes, we need more housing. But, are homes in the $1.5-2 million range our priority? Do we really need to put neighboring residents at risk with an inappropriately placed round-about? Do we really need to destroy the enjoyment of our rural roadways and “underdeveloped hillsides?"