American Canyon granted design approval for another warehouse in the massive Napa Logistics Park and touched on roundabouts, toxic oleander and Daniel Boone along the way.
That might sound like a Planning Commission discussion with plenty of digressions, but it wasn’t. All of those seemingly disparate topics fit in with the matter at hand.
The commission approved the design permit on Thursday for a 363,000-square-foot warehouse. This building, covering more than 8 acres, is to look like the existing IKEA building in Napa Logistics Park, with various patterns and features breaking up long, concrete tilt-up panel facades.
“I think it’s a very attractive and unusual, innovative design to help a large building look interesting,” Community Development Director Brent Cooper said.
Napa Logistics Park is to someday have 2.9 million square feet of warehouse space in five buildings on 218 acres. It is located in the industrial area south of Napa County Airport and west of Devlin Road.
Ernie Knodel of the developer, Orchard Partners, recounted how IKEA leased the existing, first 646,000-square-foot building in Napa Logistics Park. This is an e-commerce undertaking with distribution directly to customers.
Orchard Partners is ready to pull a building permit for the previously approved, second, 702,000-square-foot Napa Logistic Park warehouse. Half of the building has been preleased, Knodel said, though he didn’t reveal the party.
“Interestingly, this tenant requires rail services, so we’re also going to bring in rail to the site – get some of the trucks off the road and ship by rail,” Knodel told the Planning Commission.
He didn’t say when Orchard Partners might pull a building permit for the planned third building, which is the 363,000-square-foot warehouse that was the focus of Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting.
Commissioner Tammy Wong noted the landscaping plan called for oleanders. Oleanders are toxic and Recology trash collection doesn’t want the trimmings put in the green waste bin. Also, the oleanders would be near the wetlands and it might be more animal-friendly not to have them, she said.
“The nice thing about oleander is it needs very little care and water, so it has advantages,” Cooper said. “It blooms a lot.”
That said, he asked the developers if they would replace the oleander with another drought-tolerant shrub. They agreed.
Planning Commission talk turned to Napa Logistics Park as a whole, with commissioners wanting to know about the traffic management plan. A city report said Napa Logistics Park when fully built could generate 9,263 vehicle trips daily.
The business park is limited to 780 trips during morning rush hour and 704 trips during evening rush hour. If more trips are generated at these times, the developer could be fined.
Knodel said traffic monitors will be installed on nearby roads to count trips to and from the business park. Tenants will do such things as end shifts during non-peak driving hours.
One task the Napa Logistics Park developers will undertake is building a roundabout on the planned Devlin Road extension. This roundabout must be big enough to handle the stream of truck traffic from industrial area warehouses.
Commissioner Eric Altman expressed doubts that a roundabout is the best approach.
“I keep hearing roundabouts are good for traffic calming, and the reason they’re good for traffic calming is they create more accidents so nobody can move anymore,” he said with a smile.
Knodel said Orchard Partners didn’t choose the roundabout option. Still, he said, drone videos of roundabouts show they work well. A roundabout near a large Wal-Mart distribution center in the Central Valley works and it mainly serves trucks.
The developers will also build a road to provide access to the planned 363,000-square-foot warehouse. Knodel said the name will be “Boone Drive.”
“We’ve tried to stay with historical points in American Canyon,” he said.
A former Missouri governor – Lilburn Boggs – came to Napa County in pioneer days. He married the granddaughter of famed Kentucky frontiersman Daniel Boone, Knodel said.