Fire recovery, housing high on 2018 agenda

The big story of 2017 – the October wildfires – will also be a big story in 2018. The new year should see the completion of a cleanup job that involves hauling the charred remains of more than 600 burned-out houses to the dump.

Then comes the rebuilding efforts that will go on for years. People who lost homes must deal with insurance companies, have plans approved by the county, find contractors – all the while maintaining temporary residences amid a tight housing market.

A fire-scarred landscape must heal too. A few months will tell whether big storms roll in that could cause mudslides along hills devoid of vegetation.

Lake Berryessa this coming year could see a new attempt to launch a resort renaissance. Five of the seven resorts along the massive reservoir in the east county are either operating in stripped-down fashion or closed.

A master plan calls for redeveloped resorts with new marinas, lodgings and other features. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over several years has failed to find the private concessionaires needed to bring about this transformation on federal land.

Napa County will decide whether it should oversee the resort redevelopment effort with the Bureau’s approval. It is testing the waters by seeing if it can find resort companies interested in coming to Lake Berryessa.

The fate of the now-vacant county Health and Human Services Agency campus along Old Sonoma Road in the city of Napa could be decided in 2018.

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