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Napa Pipe

The massive structure of a bridge crane is seen in the late afternoon sun at Napa Pipe. The structure will remain as part of the new development, which includes housing, a hotel and a Costco.

Eight years of planning and wrangling over Napa Pipe have reached a climax that should bring a Costco and several hundred homes to the city of Napa.

The Local Agency Formation Commission voted this week to put the 154-acre Napa Pipe property into the city of Napa’s sphere of influence for annexations. It approved annexation of 111 acres, with 43 more acres to follow by 2022. It authorized the city to provide services to the unincorporated 43 acres.

That means in little more than a month, once various procedures are completed, the 111 acres targeted for Costco and other commercial activities should officially be within city boundaries. The 43 acres targeted for homes will follow in phases to allow the county to receive credit for meeting state-imposed housing mandates.

Napa Pipe developer Keith Rogal said nothing during Tuesday’s meeting, though he was smiling. A long road of seeking planning approvals to allow his project to proceed had ended.

“We have the opportunity to focus on creating a great place,” Rogal said after the meeting.

Napa Pipe is located along the Napa River on land where companies once built small World War II ships for the U.S. Navy and the tube for BART’s tunnel under San Francisco Bay. The now-dormant site with weeds, aged asphalt, concrete dry docks and rusty metal towers is to have a Costco, offices, a hotel, senior housing, parks, trails and 945 homes.

Workers should be putting in water lines, sewer lines and other infrastructure next year after the rainy season ends, Rogal said. The property will be built up four feet using soil excavated for the Napa flood bypass and the Highway 12/Jameson Canyon widening projects.

The site should be ready for construction of the Costco in 2017 and for homes in 2018, Rogal said.

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Napa Pipe put LAFCO in the spotlight for the day. The agency has representatives from the county and its communities and must approve any annexations and sphere of influence changes for cities and special districts.

When the big Napa Pipe moment came, city of Napa and county representatives suddenly realized that they had little left to say after all these years. A once-hot issue that caused disputes between the county and city had cooled off.

“I think we’re straining so we’re not moving ahead in utter silence,” commissioner and county Supervisor Diane Dillon said.

Commissioner and Napa City Councilwoman Juliana Inman had no speech to offer or discussion to initiate.

“It’s a testimony to how much work we’ve done prior today,” she said.

Still, commissioners decided they had to somehow mark such a momentous occasion. After passing the various Napa Pipe items before them by a 5-0 vote, they applauded.

The city of Napa after long negotiations with Napa County and the developer had previously agreed to provide police, fire, water and other services to the site. That work starts now.

“For all intents and purposes, we are taking the lead role for municipal services effective tomorrow,” city Community Development Director Rick Tooker said at Tuesday’s meeting.

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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.

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