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Dillon: Land use, a new jail top county agenda

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Supervisor Diane Dillon on Tuesday became county Board of Supervisors chairwoman and expressed hope 2015 will include a countywide summit to discuss land use, traffic and water issues.

Dillon took over the leadership spot from Supervisor Mark Luce. That makes her the public face of the Board of Supervisors and the supervisor who will run board meetings for the coming year. The board rotates supervisors into the spot by district.

She began her stint as chairwoman by describing what she sees as county priorities for the coming year.

Residents are talking about traffic and water, which is land use, Dillon said. The Board of Supervisors and county Planning Commission are to tackle what Dillon called “the big picture” at a joint meeting on March 10.

“I hope we will springboard from the March 10th meeting to another countywide summit on these issues,” Dillon said.

Napa County and its cities held a 2008 growth summit with representatives from across the valley. Critics later said that little came from it. Dillon said it lacked the follow-through to take the next step.

Dillon also talked about the county’s need to build a new jail. But, she said, the county doesn’t have the necessary $100 million.

The county owns 27 acres it has targeted for a new jail along Highway 221 near Napa State Hospital and the Syar quarry. As a first step, it plans to begin building a smaller, minimum-custody re-entry facility in a couple of years for inmates who are nearing their release date.

Yet another priority is the ongoing recovery from the Aug. 24 South Napa earthquake. The need for quake repairs resulted in about 100 unplanned and unbudgeted projects involving roads, bridges and buildings, she said.

Napa County will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with insurance companies and other sources, to seek reimbursement for repair costs. But Dillon noted the county worked nine years with FEMA on reimbursements for 2005 Napa River flood damage.

“We are a long way from being done with the earthquake,” she said.

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