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Source Power staging yard

A Source Power staging yard near Watson Lane for pole replacement work for PG&E will relocate after raising questions.

An illegal staging yard in American Canyon used to help strengthen Pacific Gas & Electric lines in the region to better withstand strong winds will be moving on.

Source Power established the temporary, 32,000-square-foot staging yard early this year without a use permit. Some neighbors on Watson Lane on the northern edge of the city complained of the bucket trucks using their narrow, quiet, dead-end road.

The American Canyon Planning Commission on Thursday was to consider making the yard legal after continuing the matter from Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. On the advice of the city attorney, the commission asked Source Power to submit such information as its lease and its agreements with PG&E.

But Source Power said it couldn’t provide the requested information within the city’s deadlines. In a letter, it cited delays obtaining information from PG&E and work it has been doing related to the recent Kincade fire in Sonoma County.

Randy Tomlin of Source Power told the Planning Commission on Oct. 24 that the company under PG&E contracts had replaced 30 miles of pole line in the area with lines less likely to spark fires if they fall.

He also said finding suitable staging yard sites is difficult. That was how Source Power ended up at the 360 Watson Lane site on land leased from the Gonsalves family and ran afoul of city code enforcement for not having a use permit.

“We were desperate,” Tomlin told the commission. “We were looking for a place ... I realized it wasn’t planned and we didn’t research it a lot before we got there, but we ended up there.”

The Watson Lane site is within American Canyon city limits, but on the edge of the city amid a more rural setting.

The Napa Valley Register asked Tomlin by phone on Friday where Source Power will relocate the staging yard.

“Other arrangements are being made,” he said without elaborating. “It’s complicated. We’re working with PG&E on the logistics.”

As for Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, the Source Power item went quickly. City Associate Planner William He told the commission that Source Power had withdrawn its use permit application.

Source Power asked the city for a grace period. It will relocate its employees and large vehicle traffic by Dec. 6. It will remove materials stored on the site by Jan. 31.

Commissioners had little to say and took no vote, given the withdrawal of the use permit application.

The Watson Lane staging yard serves three crews of four people apiece, Tomlin said. Each crew uses a single bucket truck, a double bucket truck and a boom truck for digging and setting poles.

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You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or beberling@napanews.com.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.