PUC abandons eco-village project

2010-10-21T00:00:00Z PUC abandons eco-village projectJesse Duarte Napa Valley Register
October 21, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Pacific Union College is abandoning the troubled Angwin “eco-village” development project it proposed in 2006 and selling a portion of its Angwin land.

On Oct. 4 the PUC Board of Trustees voted to end the college’s consulting contract with Triad Communities, the Seattle-based developer that’s been guiding the project, and “instead pursue opportunities for PUC’s property outside of an eco-village project,” the college announced Tuesday.

Allen Spence, spokesperson for Save Rural Angwin, released the following statement on Tuesday: “We are pleased with PUC’s decision to abandon the project, however we will continue to work to preserve the rural character of Angwin and the treasure that is Napa County.  From my discussions with Dr. Knight it was clear that she has the desire and ability to build PUC into a thriving entity. We look forward to a greater partnership to help PUC be successful in any way that we can.”

PUC is still committed to selling land that is not currently in use by the collect and that is considered non-essential to PUC’s core mission. This is in accordance with a 2002 board resolution to liquidate non-essential assets to ensure the college has resources to meet its current financial obligations and to achieve its long-term financial objectives for future growth and development. 

Those objectives include growing its endowment, providing more scholarships, increasing faculty compensation and strengthening campus infrastructure.

“Selected property surrounding and east of the airport will be sold, as is, through a broker, with appropriate restrictions and covenants created to obtain essential uses for the college — such as water and some recreational trails,” the release states.

“This decision comes after more than a year of careful study and consideration,” said PUC President Dr. Heather Knight, who replaced Richard Osborn as president in 2009. 

According to the press release, Knight “spent much of her first year on the job assessing the development project.”

“After speaking with various community leaders and given the current economic landscape, I feel this is not the best plan for PUC right now,” Knight said.

According to the press release, the eco-village’s environmental impact report has been suspended, and PUC “retains the county’s approval to build 191 housing units,” a project that settled a lawsuit by an affordable housing advocacy group. 

Knight will continue to reach out to the community “to explore ways to strengthen Angwin,” the release states. She will also analyze the housing needs of the college and the neighboring St. Helena Hospital, which are both affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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