I was very pleased by the turnout on Thursday night, Dec. 7, and after reflecting on it, I would like to review a few of the more salient points (“Foes of Napa Oaks II housing turn out in force; city planners delay verdict,” Dec. 9).
With the late addition of the roundabout, alternate E proposal, the accessary units and the inadequate attention to the aesthetic effect, especially on the western portion of the property, the EIR should be revised and recirculated.
One such mitigation measure is the "shelter in place" in case of fire as this project has only one viable entrance and exit. In light of the recent fires in Napa and especially Santa Rosa, to support such a mitigation measure borders on extremely poor judgement or even possible malpractice. It appears that the planners and the developer feel that having this mitigation measure is the only way they can get this project approved since they do not have a second entrance and exit.
I do not buy the fire captain's justification for adopting this shelter in place mitigation measure. The developers are proud of the fact that they are leaving a vast portion of the oak woodlands in the project and we saw what occurred in the oak woodlands in the recent wildfires.
This is one of the reasons this property was not developed before. In the mid-‘80s, I was offered $75,000 by a developer for an easement across the eastern edge of our property to gain access to the property in question. I declined and the property was never developed.
By opposing the zoning changes and hence the Napa Oaks project, we are trying to preserve the beauty and pastoral nature of the hillsides in this northern part of the famous Carneros winegrowing region. Visitors always comment on the scenic drive into Napa on Old Sonoma Road. It is quite special with the rolling hills, the vineyards and the oak studded hills in the background.
We are so fortunate to have a series of ridges and hills separating the urban area from the rural agricultural area. This project violates this separation. A recent article in the Napa Register listed Old Sonoma Road as one of Napa County's scenic roads (“Napa County's highways: scenic, but not officially so,” Dec. 6).
There are essentially two entrances to Napa from the south—Highway 29 and Old Sonoma Road. Driving into Napa on Highway 29, you see wetlands, industrial yards and some vineyards. I have already described the views on Old Sonoma Road. I will let you decide which entrance is the most uplifting drive into the city of Napa.
I bring these points up because the EIR and planning staff have virtually ignored the west-facing Old Sonoma Road aspect of this project. In fact, some of the pictures that are supposed to show the houses sitting on the western ridge don't show them. Pictures of the project site taken from Old Sonoma Road are behind trees instead of where the project is highly visible from the road.
I would like to invite every city official who votes on this project—whether city planning commissioner or city council member to drive out to the intersection of Highway 12 and Old Sonoma Road. Then slowly drive back to Napa taking in the special features and aspects of this beautiful valley. As you are entering Congress Valley, observe the northeast aspect of the valley. A portion of these ridges and hills is the project site.
Now try to visualize how this area would appear with a true version of the project superimposed on it. (The EIR did not adequately address this). This should make it easier for you to vote no on this project. In doing so, you will help preserve what is so beautiful and special about the surrounding areas and the Napa Valley. You will be doing a great service to your constituents, the surrounding community and the Napa Valley.
Citizens of Napa, if you agree with the above and feel this is not the right project for the area, please let your voices be heard by the appropriate officials.