Warehouse site

The site of a planned American Canyon wine warehouse can be seen along the line of trees from the dead end of Commerce Boulevard, which will be extended southward to a new cul-de-sac.

American Canyon’s burgeoning world of wine warehouses is about to grow even bigger, though the location of the latest, planned addition near homes and wetlands raised concerns.

Neil Thompson on behalf of Stravinski Development Group tackled the issues head-on at the Feb. 28 city Planning Commission. Then the Planning Commission approved the project after delaying the matter on Jan. 24.

“Everything I think the public was concerned about last time, you guys addressed,” Planning Commission Chair Andrew Goff told the applicants.

The site for the 330,528-square-foot warehouse is to be at the very southwest edge of the business park district, along a yet-to-be-paved section of Commerce Court north of Eucalyptus Drive. This is a transition area to other uses.

About 1,000 feet away are the nearest homes of the Wetlands Edge Road residential area. One concern among some residents is that Commerce Court could be punched through to Eucalyptus Drive, creating the city’s long-talked-about west side connector road—and bringing unwanted traffic to their neighborhood.

“I’d like to be real clear about this – Commerce Court traffic will not go through to Wetlands Edge … nor do we want it go through,” Thompson said.

City officials said the alignment for a west side connector has yet to be determined and will be chosen only after public involvement during the upcoming city general plan update.

A traffic study shows this type of warehouse could generate 559 trips daily. But Thomson said this particular warehouse will more likely generate 204 vehicle trips on the average weekday, with a round-trip counting as two trips. Activity is to include about 44 truck deliveries between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“All vehicle traffic will enter and leave by way of Green Island Road,” Thompson said, referring to a major road in the business park district.

The only link between Commerce Court and Eucalyptus Drive at Wetlands Edge Road is to be a short bike path. That will allow people in the residential area to more easily bike to work in the business park area.

“To be honest with you, I’m excited about the bike path,” city resident Janelle Sellick told the Planning Commission. “I think as far as connectivity goes in our community, we have some steps to take and this is a big one.”

Also near to the planned warehouse are wetlands and popular American Canyon wetland trails. The planned Clarke Ranch Park site is nearby.

Thompson talked about using a berm and trees to help screen a view of the 37-foot-tall building from these areas.

The developers have experience with environmental issues, having over 20 years worked on seven American Canyon refrigerated wine warehouses, he said. They have done such things as create additional wetlands and uplands along North Slough.

“We don’t construct projects that create a grand wall canyon that’s incapable of supporting and nurturing and sustaining wildlife communities,” Thompson said.

After hearing previous concerns, the developers are reducing parking light post heights from 30 feet to 25 feet and building wall light fixtures heights from 25 feet to 18 feet. Some building wall light fixtures will be eliminated and replaced with shrouded 16-foot-high light poles, a city report stated.

The project will use light fixtures certified by the International Dark Sky Association, Thompson said.

Mandy Le of the American Chamber of Commerce told commissioners that American Canyon’s Green Island business area is thriving. The city has a business community there with over 80 of them that are wine-specific.

“Our warehouses are full,” she said. “We need more warehouses.”

A new one is on the way.

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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.